Art of Aperitif episode 7: Jeffrey Larson

by | Sep 28, 2023

It’s been a minute! I’m really good at making cocktails and food, decent at a handful of other things, but SO BAD at technology. So when my video editing software craps out on me, I find myself kind of like the guys in Zoolander, referencing Space Odyssey, i.e. whacking and poking at it to see if it helps (it doesn’t). Sometimes what helps is a full software update on my computer, but for that to happen I have to close all my tabs, which takes me a few weeks of therapy to work my way up to. Anyway, though I’ve been sitting on this interview for longer than I wanted I am thrilled I can finally post it because it is so interesting!

A little over a month ago I had the immense please of getting to sit down with Jeffery T Larson, co-founder and instructor at The Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art here in Duluth. Y’all, this place is magical. Housed in an old church, the academy teaches classes in fine art technique to students of a variety of ages and levels, and also offers a full-time residence program. Walking the halls you see work from the instructors and students exhibited, and I tell you, it almost glows. Jeffrey Larson’s own work is so intensely beautifully executed and luminous, it gives you the sense of being able to see the world with better eyes than you actually have. Honing in on the enduring beauty of everyday objects and moments.

I was fascinated to get to learn about the atelier process of technique, and hearing Jeffrey’s perspective on how building technical skill in a very prescriptive way eventually gives you more freedom for creative expression. I’m still thinking about his observation that all great representational art starts abstract, with some compelling set of forms, color, contrast, etc. and the image is just icing on the cake. Mind. Blown. But it’s so so true. I hope you enjoy learning about it too.

This conversation pairs well with the fruity yet richly layered Briar cocktail. 😉