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Avant Guardians

A ‘go-to’ photographer

Andrew Breck loves to manipulate space

Andrew Breck’s roots at the Waseca Art Center run deep. As a child, he would tag along with his mom at times to the center’s photography club. “I’d see the work the group brought in and listened to them talk about the technical details of their work (it was all film back then) and subject matter,” said Breck, who is now the executive director at the Waseca Art Center, a freelance graphic and interior designer, and a caretaker of Courthouse County Park. “I was allowed to use an older point-and-shoot camera since I can remember; my mom would develop the film for me,” he said. “I experimented with composition, subject, lighting and documented my life.”

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design from Minnesota State University, Breck said he wanted to be both an architect and an artist. With a father in construction and a grandfather in masonry, Breck said he was fortunate to learn both trades and was not only encouraged to think as an individual but to exercise his creativity. “As a designer, I love manipulating a space that changes depending on where you are and what you are doing in that space,” he said. “I love a neutral backdrop with pops of bold color because color trends are always changing. As an artist, I’ve been working more with twilight and after-dark photography. As an avid outdoors person, I love to access nature at all hours of the day. It’s amazing how the same space can have an entirely different feel depending on what light is or is not available.”

Projection art is among Breck’s newest explorations as an Emerging Artist grant recipient from the Prairie Lakes Regional Art Council. “The project I am currently working on for my grant will involve large-scale temporary sculptures using found material that will have an architectural element to them,” Breck said. “I will tell a story by projecting film and photographs onto the sculptures, which will generate an immersive experience with all components.” The installation will be at Courthouse Park at a date that will be announced. Photography continues to be Breck’s “go-to form of expression.” “I made the transition to digital photography and had access to digital SLR cameras but had never owned my own,” he said. “When I didn’t have access to one, I felt a sense of loss. An iPhone was the closest thing I was able to have on hand; I completely adapted my technique and used the restrictions Photo by Jordan Below

to my advantage, worked at overcoming the obstacles, and had fun with being creative. I’ve been exploring projection art over the past couple years and my first outdoor installation will showcase that work.” Breck said his role at the Waseca Art Center has helped him appreciate professional artists and the struggles artists they have to make ends meet. “Our work culture, in general, is absolutely unlike anything we were taught while growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Breck said. “Today you have to be your own publicist, agent, human resource manager, graphic and web designer, writer, accountant and everything in between. The expectation to perform has dramatically risen while compensation, longevity, job security, and benefits have diminished.” Despite the challenges, Breck said his organization continues to encourage organizations to produce art.

“We want to inspire, partner and facilitate art that is unique to our community.”

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