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Jim Carlson and Mayor Don Ness at Center of Upcoming Art Show

Posted at: 03/24/2014 5:25 PM
Updated at: 03/24/2014 6:17 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com


Photo: Joe Klander

Two familiar Duluth faces will soon be seen in a different light.

An upcoming art show in the Zeitgeist lobby will share a small part of Duluth's synthetic drug story. It's called Hero/Villain/Savior/Scoundrel: Portraits of Jim Carlson and Don Ness.

"It was a fun painting to make because of his big beard," artist Adam Swanson said.

Swanson was talking about his painting of the former owner of the Last Place on Earth, Jim Carlson. Swanson's portrait of Duluth Mayor Don Ness showed him hanging out with a craft beer.

"Just kind of causal, in with the people, that's just how I picture him I guess," Swanson said.

Swanson's two portraits will be part of the larger art show put together by the Duluth Art Institute and Zeitgeist Arts.

Annie Dugan said it's a unique show that will combine community issues and artwork.

"It certainly has been a painful chapter in Duluth's history," Dugan, with the Duluth Art Institute, said. "Our point is not to make light of that at all, but I think some of the illustrators have done some wonderful things so we can laugh a little bit."

One of those artists is Joe Klander. He depicted the two Northland characters using 80s-themed heroes and villains.

"There's a lot of seriousness that goes along with Jim Carlson and how he affected our city," Klander said. "I tried to make light of the situation."

You may be wondering what one of the stars of the show thinks about all this. Ness weighed in Monday.

"I'm still very apprehensive about the concept and certainly the end product, but it's certainly going to capture people's attention and start a dialogue about it," Ness said.

The show kicks off April 10.