Design & Living November 2019

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Seven regional artists share their work and where it is created.





Artists in Residence


Designing with Joy


We don't have to tell you why art is important. But we will introduce you to some incredible local artists who are making waves, nearby and beyond. Whether you are filling an empty wall, setting the mood or hoping for a conversation starter, no home is complete without art. Join us as we meet some of Fargo's finest creators and get ready to be inspired to add to your own home gallery.

In each issue of Design & Living, residential and commercial designer Christen Anderson of Live Christen Joy showcases a joyful project of hers. This month, Anderson shows us how to make even the small spaces count, by filling them with thoughtful touches and, of course, art. Tour through her new mudroom renovation with us and see how she made a utilitarian space beautiful.

Art at the Heart of Architecture

Architect Chris Hawley of CHA Architecture + Construction shares with us the importance of art in architecture and shares some tips on how to incorporate artistic finishes into your spaces.


Locally Trending: Dash & White


Magnificent Craftsman Bungalow in Moorhead


Spaces that Work: InterOffice

Dash & White is the newest shop at The Shoppes at BLU Water Creek and has already been stirring a buzz in the community. Get a peek at what you can find within the shop's doors as we showcase some of our favorite finds.

Join contributor Paul H. Gleye as he provides insight into some of our area's most interesting architectural feats. This month, he walks us through the Craftsman bungalow of 3D/sculpture artist Dwight Mickelson.

Gorgeous offices need love too! This past summer, InterOffice re-opened its doors in Fargo Railyard’s renovated Smith Building. The dark warehouse with cracked floors and no windows was transformed into a beautiful new work environment that gives InterOffice the space they need to keep up with their growth in the commercial, healthcare and residential design industries.

Featuring: Ryan Fritz Amber Fletschock Meghan Duda David Collins, Fargo Furniture Co. Sara Woster Georgia Mrazkova Meg Spielman Peldo

ON THE COVER Abstract painter Ryan Fritz fills his home with his vibrant, largescale pieces. Read more about him on page 30.

NEXT MONTH'S ISSUE We are celebrating our last issue of 2019 with our holiday shopping guide! 'Tis the season to decorate your house for hosting guests and for buying gifts for loved ones. We've gone out and scoped the best finds in local shops, taking all the guess-work out of the often hectic shopping experience, setting you up for success!

For more exclusive, original content,

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @designandlivingmagazine


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DESIGN & LIVING TEAM At Design & Living Magazine, our goal is to create a publication that is just as much fun to read as it is to view. Here are the writers, designers, photographers and contributors who so affably use their time and talents to tell a story and give our pages purpose.


Ehlen is an editorial photographer for Spotlight Media and owner of Hillary Ehlen Photography. She is a native of Fargo and attended North Dakota State University for visual arts with an emphasis in photography.


Geiger is a MSUM graduate with a BFA with an emphasis in Graphic Design. She is the lead publication designer for Bison Illustrated, Fargo Monthly and Fargo INC! magazines at Spotlight Media.


Muller is an Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group and Social Media Coordinator for North Dakota Interior Designers with a passion for designing commercial spaces. In her spare time, the South Dakota State University graduate travels with her husband, visits breweries and record stores and spends time with her family and friends.


Hawley is the principal architect, design lead and primary point of contact at CHA Architecture + Construction. He has made his mark throughout the region, building and transforming some of the most outstanding pieces of architecture around.


Gleye is a professor of architecture at North Dakota State University. His fields of expertise include historic preservation and urban design, and he leads the architecture school’s term abroad program in Europe each spring semester.


Johnson has been with the Home Builder's Association of F-M for 26 years, serving as its executive officer over the past 20 years.


Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. She is the owner of Live Christen Joy and is known for her exceptional remodels, expert staging and accessorizing high-end living spaces. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains friends.


State of

THE ART Dear Readers, I started writing something much more eloquent and intellectual, but nothing felt right. In the spirit of authenticity, I will go ahead and write what I mean: Oh gosh, I really love art! I mean, I-am-gettingmarried-in-an-art-museum levels of loving art. For my upcoming wedding, I've joked with friends that I wish there was a way to have a "local art fund" as part of my wedding gift registry. I have enough pots and pans and towels, I want to fill my home with art! So as you can imagine, I've been looking forward to this issue all year long. In (almost) every issue of Design & Living, we include an artist feature, showcasing a local artist who is making waves with their craft. If we are being honest, this ends up being my favorite piece in each issue. From researching to find the artists, to reaching out to them, to interviewing them, to writing the piece about them, even to receiving their feedback after the feature has been published, these artist features are my favorite. The way artists can approach telling a story in ways that I, a writer, can never imagine, is incredible. Month after month, it blows my mind. On our cover this month is artist Ryan Fritz, who some of you might know better as the CEO of Office Sign Company. Our time we had with Fritz is one of my best examples I have thus far of participating in a conversation, rather than conducting an interview. A conversation with red wine, a charcuterie board, interjections by his lovely wife, Amy, and laughter as his youngest daughter wove in and out of the rooms. In fact, I was in their home for three hours. And then we returned again the following week to

get another portrait of Fritz, because in the first ones we took, we couldn't stop talking or laughing long enough to capture the perfect shot. I hope you can see how much fun our team had putting together this special art-centric issue. I know it certainly has inspired me to attend gallery receptions and even to start pursuing my own creative endeavors. Moving forward, we cannot wait to continue having fun creating content for you valued readers. However, we've got some big changes coming your way! To continue to produce the highest quality content, we are changing our publication schedule to every other month, rather than monthly. This means, starting in 2020, we will be producing six issues a year instead of 12. Imagine bigger, bolder issues! We are going to up our game, with more content in each issue and bigger photos to showcase just how incredible the homes are. If you have any questions or even ideas of what new content we should include in these newer, bigger issues, do not hesitate to reach out to me. We are incredibly excited to transition to this new experience for you readers and we look forward to what is to come! Until Next Month,



Design & Living Magazine

Becky Muller Social Media Coordinator North Dakota Interior Designers

Melissa Rademacher President & CEO Downtown Community Partnership

We at Design & Living Magazine want to make sure that our content is accurate, unbiased and reflects the local home industry. That is why we meet with our Editorial Advisory Board, which is made up of representatives from local, statewide and national organizations. Each month, we listen to their feedback and discuss innovations in local art, architecture, home decor, interior design and landscaping.

Photos by Hillary Ehlen and J. Alan Paul Photography

Editorial Advisory Board

Rich Lahren Hardscape Committee Member, Past Board Member & Past President North Dakota Nursery, Greenhouse & Landscape Association

Chris Hawley Licensed Architect/Member American Institute of Architects

Krista Mund Executive Vice President Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead

Dayna Del Val President & CEO The Arts Partnership 14

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NOVEMBER 2019 Design & Living Magazine is a free publication distributed 12 times a year. Our mission is to showcase all that the Red River Valley has to offer in terms of interior design, architecture and landscaping, profiling the people that make these possible. We also strive to provide a quality and fun reading experience and improve the way of life in our community. The publication is mailed to homes across the US and has stand distribution throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.


Mike Dragosavich



Editorial Director

Jay Borland Andrew Jason


Alexandra Martin

Art Director

Sarah Geiger

Director of Photography

Hillary Ehlen

Contributors Photographer


Business Development Manager

Creative Director

Christen Anderson, Paul H. Gleye, Chris Hawley, Bryce Johnson, Becky Muller Gary Ussery

Nick Schommer

Simon Andrys

Digital Marketing Strategist

Tommy Uhlir

Inbound Marketing Specialist

Kirsten Lund

Videographer Executive Sales Assistant


Patrick Thompson Kellen Feeney

Associate Sales Director

Neil Keltgen

Senior Sales Executive

Paul Hoefer

Sales Executives Inside Sales Leader Client Relations Marketing Designer

ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources

Office Manager


Zach Olson

Randy Vangrud Jenny Johnson, Gigi McColm

Christy German

Colleen Dreyer Wendy Kalbrener Bruce Crummy, John Stuber, Craig Sheets

Design & Living Magazine is published by Spotlight, LLC. Copyright 2019 Design & Living Magazine & All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Design & Living Magazine and Spotlight, LLC is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on such information. Spotlight, LLC accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.

ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768) Send change of address information and other correspondence to: Spotlight, LLC 15 Broadway N. Suite 500, Fargo, ND 58102 or


Spotlight's Other Magazines

What is better than beer and food? In this issue, we pair the two together (literally). We teamed up with local breweries and local restaurants to pair Fargo-Moorheadborn beers with hand-crafted Red River Valley dishes. Sophisticated palates are certainly not required as we span the entire city searching for the perfect beer and food pairings. Here is what we found.

Whether you are a Bison fan or not, very few recognize the details that go into the North Dakota State athletic competitions we enjoy watching. One of those details is science and the various branches of that vague term. From a sheer scientific perspective, there are a host of physical and mental ingredients that need to occur over the course of a play, game or sequence to achieve athletic success. What are these ingredients? And how do they create a recipe for success at North Dakota State? We take a deep dive inside the world of sports science to answer those questions.

Starting a business can be a lonely experience, however, it's important to know that you're not the only one going through the same challenges. That's why in this month's Startup Issue, Nick Horob, the founder of Harvest Profit, has been keeping a diary of the highs and lows of growing a business. Along with Nick, our mission with this issue is to help you grow and launch your company.




























Art in Construction ...Say What?

by Bryce Johnson Home Builders Association of F-M CEO

Bryce Johnson has been with the HBA of F-M for 26 years, serving as its executive officer over the past 20 years.


ontractors as artists had not entered my mind until I was speaking to a room full of educators with a local remodeler. He began discussing how some construction careers can tap into right-brained creators. The example he gave was a tile installer laying out a beautiful mosaic in a home. Not only do tilers need to be creative, they need to understand color, use spatial recognition and understand object perspective. Here are five more examples of trades and professional careers that you may not have viewed as creative, inventive and imaginative:

1. Concrete

Cement and concrete finishers are responsible for pouring, smoothing and finishing surfaces such as walkways, roads, curbs, walls, etc. They accomplish this by using an assortment of hand tools and power tools. Taking this a step further, concrete is now being used


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inside homes for sinks, countertops and more. These contractors can be creative both indoors and out with texture, stamping and coloring, not to mention being a type of sculptor!

2. Mason

Stonemasons, in particular, are involved in taking something from nature (a stone) which is imperfect and making it as perfect as possible. They use saws, chisels and other tools to shape, sculpt and fix natural stone in order to build the final product. Masons also apply their craft using other mediums like brick, block, stone and concrete to form walls, walkways, patios, surfaces and more.

3. Landscaper

A landscaper works with various tools and equipment to cut grass, shape hedges, mulch garden beds, clean up yard/garden debris, etc. A similar but separate position is that of landscape architects who are responsible for designing yards, parks and other outside spaces. What is more artistic than selecting perennials and several shades of greenery to create stunning landscapes? This can even involve the incorporation of audio sound systems to make the perfect outdoor atmosphere.

4. Painter

Painters and decorators apply paint, wallpaper and other fine finishes to interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and other structures to beautify them and help their owners personalize spaces. An eye for detail and color are important. They also need to be good with their hands, enjoy doing precise work and be active.

5. Interior Designer

These professionals thrive on being innovative and work hand-in-hand with contractors. They put their art and design skills to work making physical spaces functional, comfortable and attractive. There are a lot of moving parts including color, floor coverings, space planning, furniture and room dĂŠcor! The Home Builders Association of F-M and its charity Home Builders Care of F-M Foundation are constantly working to promote careers in the trades and changing perceptions! We provide hands-on experiences for young people to learn through job site tours, Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades and the Health, Tech & Trades Career Expo. Visit for all the details.

Home Builders Assocation of F-M Nurture a thriving, innovative and diverse housing industry in our community.

For more information, contact: HBAFargoMoorhead


with joy

I LIVING artful

BY Christen Anderson | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


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f you’re like me, you’re intentional about planning home renovations. Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly updating each room in my home with investment purchases to stand the test of time.

A room-by-room approach demands a critical eye for style. My newest project is my mudroom. For most homeowners, the mudroom is the last room you see when leaving the house, and the first room to welcome you home. I want to share how I approached incorporating artful selections, and how you can do the same to update your space. THINK WALLPAPER I wanted something special and unique in this space to create energy and excitement. Wallpaper makes a dramatic impression, especially on an accent wall and on the ceiling. Vine-like designs swirl on my ceiling, trailing down the wall. Using colors ranging from deep blue to light blue and pink already throughout my home, I opted to expand my palette with a natural green. Since there’s a lot of blue throughout my open floor plan, green tones provide flow with added visual interest. The wallpaper draws your eye up to highlight the ceiling height. Since the wallpaper can be seen from the kitchen, it was important that it complimented the decor throughout the open floor plan. I was tempted but opted not to wallpaper the garage door wall or flanking walls as I didn’t want guests drawn into the mudroom. Let’s be real, my mudroom is where I stash ‘stuff’ when hosting and it’s not the neatest place in the house! Another reason was functionality — my home acts as a product warehouse for clients. Boxes are moved in and out daily, and I didn’t want to risk damaging the beautiful paper. EXPERT TIP Wallpapering your ceiling? Before you install it, skim coat over any texture to prep and smooth the surface. This keeps the wallpaper from sticking to any textured ‘pimples’ and allows it to lay flat for a lasting professional finish.

EXTEND THE MOOD WITH PAINT I matched the paint to the backdrop of the wallpaper. Though the paint is slightly more cream-colored than the bright white cabinets, the warm tones are echoed in other selections and make it seem there are layers of white instead of a yellow cast.


SHINE A LIGHT I fell in love with this pendant light, The Milton, when using it at our Timeless Tudor remodel. This piece is right at home in the mudroom because it’s large enough to demand attention. Other light fixtures fade in its shadow, and the room design rises up to support this stunning piece. The classic design features delicate curves that complement the shapes in the wallpaper. A pop of polished nickel shines like a platinum setting on a beautiful piece of jewelry. To brighten the room, I added a higher wattage bulb which enlivens the space. EXPERT TIP To show off vaulted ceilings or add interest in a small room, wallpapered ceilings with a pendant light will have heads tilting back to admire your amazing design style.

DISPLAY ART THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY My brother-in-law paused and questioned why I’d hung my Gray Malin artwork in the mudroom. He just shook his head and laughed because by now, he’s used to my crazy ideas. However, I don’t think it’s crazy to hang art you love everywhere in your home. Don’t limit yourself by thinking, "I can’t hang art in a mudroom!” Why not? Simply ensure the pieces fit the space and are framed or protected from humidity and sunlight. I wanted art that would be a fabulous hello or good-bye, and I knew Gray Malin’s photography would be perfect. It’s playful enough for a mudroom, colorful enough to make the cream paint bright and clean, and the natural palette plays well with the grassy green wallpaper. I chose two pieces stacked on the wall across from the washer and dryer and searched for complimenting pieces and landed on ‘Ditch Plains Beach Umbrellas’ and ‘Fishers Island Club.’ The blue echoed in both pieces pulls the room together. I appreciate how the pieces balance each other out — one featuring more people and one featuring less. The artwork isn’t from the same collection but it felt good together. In the pantry, I opted for two pieces from my travels to the Caribbean. They are local pieces that I purchased at their daily market. I love the memories they bring me, and they were the perfect splash of color in this space. All of these pieces in this smaller space make me so happy each time I enter my home and as I embark on my day with sunshine and cheer.


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THE DETAILS The Corky & Artist: Since I’ve become a dog mama recently, I find myself reaching for pet-themed pieces. At market last spring I found a sculpture that doubles as a bowl. I love that it’s artistic, dog-themed and quirky. (Maybe I’ll name him Milton!) The Practical: I’m always adding keys to my keyring from various projects, I found a specific marble tray to hold my growing ring. Notes cards, pens and notepads are easy for me to reach for and a place to store incoming and outgoing mail. Cute & practical – helping me stay organized! The Texture & Concealer: In the pantry & closet I opted for textured, oversized baskets to store puppy treats, Costco sized bags of almonds and smaller vases. The baskets create a cohesive look that allows the space to be organized and pretty – just in case that one guest must see the mudroom! (Ha!) Now my mudroom is bright, fun, fashionable and functional for laundry, groceries or simply starting and ending each day in a happy mood. You can make your home more inviting for yourself and others by using these tips and selecting and displaying art that brings you joy. After all, isn’t joy what life’s about?

Meet Christen Anderson of Christen Joy: Inspired Interiors & Events Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. Christen Joy specializes in new-construction commercial projects, exceptional remodels, furnishing high-end living spaces and creating memorable special events. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains for friends.

Join me on Instagram and Facebook to see my latest projects and email me your design questions at



o matter our career, background or age, there's art that intrigues us, makes us pause and makes us feel something. As a society, we've come to accept the importance of art— in our communities, in museums and in our homes. Whether you are filling an empty wall, setting the mood or hoping for a conversation starter, no home is complete without some unique works. This month, we're introducing you to some notable local artists who are beautifying our region. Meet abstract painter Ryan Fritz, colleage artist Amber Fletschock, photographers Meghan Duda and Meg Spielman Peldo, custom furniture maker David Collins and also tour through Ecce Gallery's last show with Sara Woster and Georgia Mrazkova. Peruse through incredible works on these pages and get ready to be inspired to add to your own home gallery.

BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen 28

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Fritz's wife Amy noted that this piece above their bed is her favorite he has done.


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Part Office Sign Company CEO, part abstract painter, Ryan Fritz surrounds himself with art in his own family home.


rom football quarterback to CEO to abstract painter, Ryan Fritz has done it all. Those in the community might recognize Fritz as the friendly and outgoing CEO behind Office Sign Company, a business that does exactly what its name implies. By day, he oversees the creation of contemporary and professional office signage and facilitates a positive company culture. But after hours, he returns to his house full of girls (his wife Amy and him share a blended family of four daughters) and grabs his paint brushes. Fritz creates colorful, large-scale abstract paintings. When asked to describe his work, he paused and thought, before trying to put into words what he depicts on his canvases. He used the words "unexplainable," "unpredictable," "chaotic" and "very free" before concluding with, "I don't think I've ever tried to define my work." Join us as we explore his home and what adorns it and pull your own interpretations of his vibrant, abstract pieces. A Family Effort As you enter into the home from the garage, you see two pieces of art hanging on opposing walls. One is a

marigold abstract piece by Fritz. On the opposite wall hangs a self-portrait collaged out of purple and yellow construction paper, made over a decade ago by his eldest daughter. The juxtaposition between Fritz's abstract canvases and the just as abstract pieces from his children are seen throughout the house. His studio is full of a mix of finished work, in-progress pieces and canvases painted on by his youngest daughter, Rowen. For a period of time, Fritz ran a business called Fargo Kids, where he created custom prints, recreating children's artwork. "Young drawings really inspire me," he said while standing in his youngest daughter's bedroom, admiring the surroundings. Ryan and Amy's family is a clear influence on the work he produces. Rather than having a separate studio away from the family, his workspace is doorless and little Rowen often joins him in creating. He jokes that he often works late at night when it is finally quiet in his household, but you can tell he doesn't really mind the chaos. A Home Full Of Art "You can see, the house is filling up with artwork," Fritz said with a laugh. It's true. Beyond the pieces hanging


on the walls (which we can thank Amy for installing), are pieces propped up along the baseboards, stacks canvases high of partially completed works and, of course, a living room-turned-studio overflowing with pieces. Through the kitchen is a corridor that leads to the formal dining room in one direction and a staircase in the other direction. But straight through is the entrance to what he has made his home studio. This hallway frames the colors and canvases that await once you fully enter the room, and if the canvases weren't covered with stunning art, it would almost look messy. "When I come by and I look in there, it does give me a sense of joy. There's something with the chaos," Fritz said. While Fritz's own work adorns many of the walls in the home, he has quite the collection of other artwork displayed. From pieces by his good friend, Punchgut, to graphic designs from Jeff Knight (Cereal), to prints of John Singer Sargent's work to cartoon-esque prints of beloved fictional characters (Chewbacca, Daredevil and Totoro hang in the basement). He surrounds himself with work from artists he finds inspiring, but who operate in very different artistic styles. He also collects pieces that he just plain enjoys, noting that the Fantastic Mister Fox print in his studio might not be considered "art," but he just enjoys it. From The Field to The Office to The Easel About his school experiences, Fritz shared, "I was pretty athletic. I was pitching on the baseball team and I was the quarterback. I think it was too much pressure to be a leader, so I'm like, I'm just going to focus on my art. This introvert and extrovert relationship. I'm the captain, or I can be in my room downstairs at my parents' house drawing cool stuff. I think I found more joy in that." In the decision between athletics and art, Fritz started down the art path, quitting his teams. While he has found great success in art now, he said, "That athletic lesson taught me to not quit.[...] I’m never going to give up on something again."


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Fritz shared that when he tried to turn his work commercial, it simply wasn’t as enjoyable. The pressure to create something for a client disrupted his process and he found he wasn't as loose. "There's a lesson in there somewhere, of just have fun and be yourself and that's when the work turns out the best. The least amount of pressure I put on myself, the better." By separating his day job from his art, he can relieve the pressure of feeling he has to make monetizable art or art that is guaranteed to be liked by the masses. Instead, he can create what he wants. "Without the art, I think the business side is impossible. It's kind of like if your brain is full of air pressure, it's like a PSI letting it all out," he said. It is the chaos of his work/art balance that makes his work unique and it's the chaos that provides him a muse. From Hyperrealistic to Abstract Fritz wasn't always creating colorful, large-scale canvases. In fact, he used to create much the opposite. For some time, he created hyperrealistic pieces, often with football action shots as the subjects. "For me, art has changed. When I was younger, it was like, what can I make that people will like? And I did love

From the hyper-realistic Marilyn Monroe piece to the grittier Johnny Cash piece, Fritz said, "That kind of shows a transition into rough and gritty and that I didn't care if it looked perfect or if the proportions were exact."


"I was doing a self-portrait years ago and the kids were over painting and I said to my daughter, you do a self-portrait! And I don't think she understood the "self" part at the time so she did this."

Fritz has begun embracing collecting pieces from other local makers, such as this print from Jeff Knight of Cereal.


ARTIST FEATURE + ARTIST AT HOME Before he dove into abstract art, Fritz created hyperrealistic works, especially of football scenes, like this in-progress Joe Montana painting.

sports at the time and I loved the Cowboys and it was like, this would be cool. I think that was the inspiration back then," he said, adding, "Back then, I used to think that artists that could do photorealistic stuff were where it was at." He noted that he fell into a trap of creating work he could guess people would like. "I felt like I was a technician. Like, here was this photo, and sometimes I could change the background so I wasn't using the exact photo, but I just didn't feel like an artist. I felt like a technician," he said. Shifting focus, his abstract work allows him the freedom to not strive to create the perfect replica. With no reference material or no guide telling him where what colors should go, he can just create. When he was in the height of creating his photorealistic work, he was working in the small town of Gwinner, N.D., with nothing to do but to go back to his apartment and paint. "I think that’s how some of the photorealistic stuff came about because I was like, I have all this time," he said. Now with young daughters and a booming business on his hands, his nights don't quite look like returning to a small apartment and preparing dinner-for-one alongside an easel. Potentially out of necessity, his work no longer showcases the carefulness of airbrush stencils and capturing jersey wrinkles, but rather big sweeping charcoal outlines and blotches of color dancing within the bounds.

The Mentor Instrumental in his journey with abstract art is Marjorie Schlossman. Most Wednesdays, you can find Fritz painting alongside Schlossman at her Plains School of Abstract Painting courses. As Fritz continuously brings up Schlossman when discussing his work, it's clear that she is his mentor.

With a history of creating identifiable forms and portraits, the transition to abstract pieces was a lawless territory. "When I make abstract art, it's like, is this done? Should I put a background on it? So then you have 100 paintings in your house that are not complete. I think that is the struggle, especially with abstract work, it's like, when is it done?" Often, a piece is not done until it leaves the home and can physically no longer be worked on. There are even quite a few pieces hanging in his home that Fritz declares are incomplete.

Schlossman has helped Fritz uncover who he is as an artist and develop his craft. Their relationship came about with a bold move by Fritz, reaching out to her via Facebook and, somewhat jokingly, requested she mentor him. Surprisingly to Fritz, she responded with an invitation to her classes. At first, he was nervous to attend her classes, as she is a renowned artist in our area. "There was a little bit of fear, I like that though, to step out and be uncomfortable. So I grabbed my brushes and paints and I went." To this day, he continues to study under her and soak in her knowledge. His admiration for this mentor plays a big part in the work he creates, even if that inspiration comes from a rebellious spirit of doing something he knows she wouldn't do herself. Trading in pigskin for stretched canvas, artist, familyman and businessman Ryan Fritz has showcased how diverse his abilities are. Already having covered a lot of ground professionally, who knows what else he will surprise us with next. All we know is that we can't wait to see it.


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Displayed is "Blue Nude" Henri Matisse print, inspired by a trip to the Walker Art Center Fritz went to with his eldest daughter.

Ryan Fritz

In addition to his own work, the Fritz house is adorned with pieces from the family's four daughters, including this one by Jordyn.



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Not to be confused with digital work, collage artist Amber Fletschock hand-makes fluid microcosms with magazines, scissors, glue and a true artistic eye.



like to think of these pieces as little pauses in the chaos of abundance and visual satisfaction."

Amber Fletschock's abstract artwork captures fleeting moments through the medium of collage. Even though her pieces are physically pasted onto a background, they appear as though they could shift and organically change at any moment. Fletschock's analog approach of manipulating recycled paper materials from magazines and books introduces a unique perspective into what abstract art is. At first glance, her work appears to be digital, but upon closer inspection, the pieces are actually masterfully layered physical collages. By using existing materials, she takes from the present and creates new forms. From print materials that would otherwise find their fate in a recycling bin, she organically unearths microcosms within her pieces. With any art medium at her disposal to pursue, she landed on collages as her craft. She shared, "I first came to collage while in college studying painting and drawing. In drawing class, I vividly remember struggling

with a drawing and then feeling the need to tear a hand from one drawing and adhere it to another. I was instantly enamored by the tension and distortion this technique cerated." By beginning to add in fabric and other drawings and paintings, she created unintentional mixed media works. The strain and unconventional feel this technique created intrigued her and lead her to continue exploring the method, which she continues to carry out as her main medium. She also continues to pull from her own paintings, as well as other's paintings she comes across in art magazines. She enjoys integrating identifiable marks from other artists and incorporating fossils for viewers to uncover, while also creating a collaboration with such artists. There is not an A to B method in her creation. As the works themselves are collages, the process it takes to create them is also a collage of steps. One part of the process is material selections. In her apartment, she has a busy workstation, including filing cabinets and recycled macaroon boxes of magazine morsels.



"It’s all a process, I start with chaos and try to create a whole every time. That’s also the everyday process of my life," she said. To an outsider, her workspace's array of paper clippings, scissors, rulers, bookbinding materials and brushes might seem chaotic. But the act of taming is a meditative part of her process. Within these containers, magazine cutouts are organized by color, texture, mood, etc. Fletschock's final works are abstract environments with fluid energy, but the materials she creates them from are found objects. The pieces of her collages are primarily from magazines, and sometimes from old books salvaged from thrift stores. She carefully sifts through pages, seeking elements she can incorporate into her work. She is drawn to organic and natural elements from the likes of National Geographic, but lately has been enjoying collecting from fashion magazines, taking advantage of the patterns and folds of fabric. Food magazines also intrigue the artist, as she noted, "So much of food photography right now is just beautiful and looks like abstract paintings."



Reusing and repurposing materials is economical and environmentally friendly. Fletschock can take in old magazines from friends (or even recycling bins) and give their contents a new life. Rather than print materials living one purpose and being discarded, they are now turned into art. "My work is nature-based in a sense, but it is made using modern materials and everyday materials and it's trying to create something that's very organic," she said. When flipping through magazines looking for materials, she consults her mental filing cabinet, where she has concepts and visions stored. "I'm always looking for texture and color. Things that look like they have light to them or a sheen to them and things that look organic or from nature—that's really important. Also the opposite, where it is super sleek and modern, and I try to combine the two and juxtapose them," she said. While Fletschock works primarily in collage now, she also is a cake decorator at Nichole's Fine Pastry, has created installations and she had success in creating abstract paintings. Such paintings are still prevalent around town, as seen in the permanent collection at the Rourke Art Gallery & Museum and at Dash & White. "I paint every once in a while now, but that's pretty much what I used to do. And actually, collages are abstract paintings, just with a different medium. It's using color and texture in the same way, but much more refined. But still completely abstract," she said. Within Fletschock's home and studio, her decor is a mix of antique store finds and beloved trinkets. She considers herself a seeker and a gatherer, collecting pieces here and there that speak to her. While there's no predominant trend, like mid-century modern, minimalist or farmhouse, her attraction to pattern, texture and vibrancy that you see in her artwork is reflected in the space she dwells in. Looking around, life imitates art for Fletschock. "Collage" is everywhere.

Amber Fletschock



A piece from Duda's Trailer Obscura series hangs in the guest bedroom of her home.


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In her own home hangs a piece from her Sjællands Odde (2014) series, shot in Denmark.


o identify Meghan Duda as two separate things—an artist and an educator—would be a mislabelling. These two paths are interconnected, mingling and aiding each other, rather than traveling in two parallel paths, as Duda first imagined. "The teaching has become a lot more a part of my process than I think I expected it to. I kind of thought they would travel parallel, my two worlds. But they are much more tied together," she said. In fact, her office at North Dakota State University also serves as her studio, where mixes of grading sheets interact with photo negatives. Duda is a photographer, primarily working in film and black and white. She considers her cameras as tools for perception, reinventing how we see nature, cityscapes and horizon lines. Often building her own pinhole cameras, she enjoys exploring how they can capture and perceive light, resulting in atmospheric and abstract depictions. "In my own work, I prefer analog. I do some digital, but I prefer the haptic nature of being in the darkroom," said Duda. When she does shoot digitally, she likes to take an experimental point of view, manipulating her tools and

removing some of the expected results. "I feel like when I work digitally, I know what I’m going to get. And when I work analog, I don’t always know what I’m going to get and I like that aspect. The surprise that comes with working with analog," she said. While Duda's world widely revolves around art now, her educational background is in architecture. She graduated from Virginia Tech with an architecture degree but, by the end of the program, she knew she didn't want to be stuck in an office, as many architect careers require. While she isn't a practicing architect, influences of this background show in her work and her teaching style. "I think that is the direction arts education is taking. Like me, I went for a very specific thing, but then life changed. But what I got out of architecture didn't make me less of an artist, it supplemented it. So how can students have more of a broad idea of what the world can give them? So they're not pigeonholing themselves leaving school," she said. As a professor at NDSU, she teaches the fundamentals of art and design. In this role, she imparts knowledge and inspiration to her students but also uses the platform as an opportunity to try new things herself.


"It's getting [freshmen] comfortable with how to be an artist, beyond just making a really nice drawing. Teaching them how to approach projects and consider an idea," she said. She instills these creative foundations that encourage students—regardless of if it's painting or drawing or graphic design— to learn how to produce work that tells a story. Duda has been practicing this storytelling as of late in her own neighborhood. She has been exploring her neighborhood's shifting ecology as the Audubon Society embarks on turning empty lots into native prairie ecologies. Duda is interested in this project and knows there is a story to tell about the spaces now inhabitable to humans due to flood zones being given back to nature. "I'm just taking a lot of pictures and trying to figure out how I can tell a story. And what's the best tool to do it with. All these things I talk to my students about are things that I'm trying to figure out on my own too," she said. For Duda, she is inspired by asking questions and "what if's" and letting projects give birth to themselves. This interest in our ecologies and environmental landscapes is recurring throughout her works. After


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having grown up on the east coast and attending college in Virginia, she came to North Dakota in 2007. Right after architecture school, she practiced architectural photography, documenting man-made structures. However, her move to the upper midwest introduced her to prairie scenery and her work began shifting away from architecture and toward experimental landscapes. Her pieces took shape into quiet environmental protests, capturing what mankind has done to altered landscapes. One project of hers that captures her transition from architecture to experimental landscapes is her "Custom Built" series, which she created while in graduate school at the University of North Dakota (2012). The series depicts suburban neighborhood scenes with the homes laser-cut out, leaving white spaces in their absence. "I came in [to the graduate program] photographing architecture, and my graduate professor said, well you're not allowed to photograph architecture anymore. And so I was like, ha! I'm still going to do it but then I'm going to cut them out!" said Duda. Soon, the rebellious project transformed into more of a statement, as the housing market crashed and the collection became not only a critique of suburbia but a representation of the growing masses of empty houses. "I learned a lot

from that process—how an idea can spur so many other conversations," she said. This method of asking questions and discovering concepts as she goes along ties into her process and her teachings. "One of the reasons I really like teaching is that experimental aspect. A lot of times, I will have an idea and I'll want to see how it can be shaped and I'll actually tie that into an assignment and I'll see how the students approach it and see how they solve the problems," said Duda. Creating work alongside her students becomes collaborative. It also becomes a great lesson for the students to see how an idea and process can unfold and evolve. If you look at Duda's body of work, no two series are the same. Each project she embarks on is uniquely different from the previous one as she pushes herself to look into new ways to tell a story. From her 5' x 8' pinhole camera in a trailer on the prairie to film double exposures downtown to suburban laser-cut scenes, the subjects and methods behind her projects vary from one to the next. To predict what she will produce next is unproductive. In fact, Duda herself might not even know what she is to create next, but the process of uncovering that is what she does best.


Meghan Duda




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Making statement pieces for homes and businesses, David Collins is the one employee, owner and operator of custom furniture company, Fargo Furniture Co.


avid Collins is the one-man-show behind Fargo Furniture Co., successfully turning his hobby into a well-received company. At Fargo Furniture Co., he creates quality custom furniture for businesses and homes. Pieces he creates vary from kitchen tables to cash wraps to bed sets to bathroom vanities and beyond. He has mastered the utilitarian art of creating pieces of furniture that are as useful as they are stylish, proving that art is more than just a piece that can hang on your wall. When he’s not working his day job at ShareHouse Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Center or hanging out with his two children, Collins is in the garage. When you step into his three-car garage-turned-studio, you would not guess that the impressive set-up was born out of a small home-decor project in 2015. But sure enough, a car has not seen the inside of the garage in some time, as slabs of wood, cans of stains, bottles of epoxy and sawhorse tables fill the space. In 2015, Collins had some ideas for wooden wall art that he wanted to make for his home. Upon executing those pieces, the urge to create pieces with wood continued.

“I really liked doing that, so I started building bigger stuff and different things and then finally got into big tables and all that,” said Collins. What began as an itch to create turned into a business with a clientele and he began operating under the name DC3 Design Concepts. However, he soon renamed to Fargo Furniture Co., for clarity. Pieces Collins creates vary from glossy and resin-topped to rustic and raw. “I enjoy slab wood, sanding it down and seeing all the grain that comes out of it and then putting resin on top of it, which really makes it shine,” he said. He noted that many customers are enjoying his river tables lately, where he uses colored resin to create winding rivers within the wood’s curves. “I think black [resin] has been the biggest seller. People love it, the black river really contrasts,” he added. Quality work is of utmost importance to Collins. He works side by side with his clients each step of the process, creating a personal experience and ensuring they are satisfied. He finds that his clients are seeking out that “wow” piece, saying, “It’s pretty specific stuff that they can’t just find walking in a big furniture store.”



When customers contact Collins, they usually have an idea of what they want the final product to be. Together, they pick out what type of wood they want, which specific slab they will use, what base material and what finish. Every detail gets discussed, making almost a collaborative process between customer and maker. Because of this attention to detail and quality, Collins uses only solid wood and metal or steel in his projects. This means no cheap particle board or plywood, ensuring the useable pieces of art will withstand the tests of time. He also primarily uses locally sourced materials and deploys local welders for the metalwork. Certain types and sizes of wood he imports in, but if he can find a material locally, that is what he will use. When asked about what pieces of his have been his favorite to create, Collins said, “One of the last tables I built...I usually say that for every table I’ve built—now this is my favorite.” He one-ups his previous projects, finding a new “favorite” in each piece he completes. If he had to choose though, he said that he enjoys large-scale pieces, like kitchen tables or conference tables made

from big slabs. These types of pieces allow the work to be the statement of the room, making guests really take notice. Fargo Furniture Co. does more than just create incredible furniture pieces, they give back too. Throughout the year, Collins donates pieces to a variety of silent auctions and agencies like 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, The Boy Scouts and hospitals. Collins produces a lot of commissioned pieces for clients, so when he creates a piece on his own, donating the piece is a great way for him to practice his skills while also giving back. Plus, this ensures his house doesn’t become too overflown with furniture (his home already has as many wood-topped pieces one space can allow room for). In addition to the furniture donations, 10% of his profits go to addiction treatment agencies in the community. Collins' passion for the craft and ability to turn a hobby into a business goes to show that many of us may have an inner artist that we have yet to uncover. With pieces like his, the barriers between art and function are diminished. Because why shouldn’t our utilitarian pieces be beautiful too?


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Fargo Furniture Co 701-866-2308





n display at Ecce Gallery, September 18 to October 28 was a South Dakotan display of hopeful landscapes and anxious brush strokes, featuring works from artists Georgia Mrazkova and Sara Woster. Both painters spent their upbringings in Sioux Falls, S.D. and attended college in the Twin Cities, at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota, respectively. Curated by gallery director Mark Weiler, this show brought together dreamy references from shared Sioux Falls childhoods.

also portraying them with chaotic and even unsetting energy. This show didn't shy from color, as earthy greens and blues fill the canvases with disruptions of vibrant red, pink and yellow throughout.

Woster and Mrazkova bring midwestern imagery into their work to this day, even as they are living in metropolitan areas now. With Woster living in New York City and Mrazkova in Minneapolis, both of their works continue to showcase natural scenes, while

Both artists describe their work as portrayals of abstracted reality, tilting towards discomfort. They both are rebellious in their depictions, veering from the expected. But at the same time, including very identifiable objects, unlike strictly abstract pieces. For over a decade, Ecce Gallery's Mark Weiler has been expertly curating such exhibits such as this and creating a community on Downtown Fargo. Each gallery opening reception is a full house, full of discussion of the arts, networking and an authentic admiration for visual arts. Up next at Ecce will be their eight annual group show, Newvember, featuring new work for the new year from local favorites and new talents alike.



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outh Dakotan-born painter Sara Woster constructs organic themes with a skewed reality. Her canvases incorporate imagery of real life, but with a psychological tilt veering it into a less traditional territory. "It's always too crowded, too many things. It's just not right, not quite there," she said. Thick paint and intentionally rough and untidy brush strokes are her signature style, transforming feminine subjects, such as florals, into rebellious scenes. "I'm not a realist or a perfectionist, I'm more interested in the effect than an accurate depiction," she said. Woster studied fine arts at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, focusing on painting, even though she has toyed with a number of mediums. "For me, it's the most physical. Most immediately, [painting] can translate a feeling into a mark in a way that I've never been able to do [in other mediums]," she said. With other mediums where there are many steps in between the creation and the end result—such as film photography or printmaking—Woster enjoys the instancy of the results of painting. As she feels something, she can translate it to art. "I get the most catharsis out of it. I can dive the deepest," she added. As a female artist, she's faced push-back on creating primarily floral-based pieces, as it's seen as too feminine and expected. However, it's not the subject of flowers, but the interpretation and execution of them that she finds meaningful. In her artist statement, Woster said, "My job as a painter isn't to always represent beautiful things, sometimes my job is to exorcize myself by putting the ugly, strange and scary things out there without worrying about what people think." Most of the year, Woster lives in New York City with her family. However, when the summers come around, she makes her way to the township of Two Inlets in Minnesota lakes country to create and escape the city. Here, she and her husband (who is also a contemporary artist) have a retreat in the woods where they can work and allow their children to grow up with a midwestern experience.

Woster creates pieces both in her New York home and in Minnesota, and she can see the differences in the pieces. "I have more space in Minnesota so the work tends to be bigger. [The pieces] tend to be better, because my head's a bit clearer there," she said. "Here [in New York], my work is definitely a little more frantic. It feels more New York paced, even if I am painting the things that are referring to South Dakota and Minnesota, but they are painted here and they feel very dense and complicated and crowded." No matter her location, she is drawn to depicting natural elements, like trees, animals or flowers from her Two Inlets yard. Although she has been living in New York for over two decades now, she is still drawn to reference her upbringing in South Dakota, noting that she has yet to illustrate a New York cityscape yet. The Ecce Gallery exhibit shows work from 2016 to the current day. While still very floral, her pieces have begun exploring animals and humans. On display is "Mountain Top," (2019) a 20x20 canvas with eight bald eagles perched on a vibrant background of reds, greens, blues and pinks. A favorite of Woster's is "Irrelevant" (2016), the largest of the collection measuring 58 x 58 inches, and depicting an eerie human form enveloped in flowers. Speaking on themes she's been exploring lately, she said, "A lot related to nature, a statement on the environment. A lot of animals in peril and...I keep thinking as I'm doing these that it is as if the animals are taking back over. They've had it with us and they are taking back over again." Such pieces include the struggle for coexistence between nature, man and technology. Serene nature scenes are taken over by predators (much like the eight eagles in "Mountain Top") interacting with humankind or landscapes (as seen with the swarm of dragonflies in "He Draws Creatures"). Masterfully depicting midwestern scenes with a New York energy, we are honored to have been able to see Woster's New York interpretation of our regional scenery at Ecce Gallery in this exhibit.

Sara Woster




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grew up in a flat prairie town in South Dakota where the austerity and angularity of my surroundings imbued me with a longing for the exotic and strange, even as the endless horizon, expansive skies and lakes and sloughs of my native land made an indelible impression on my psyche," reads Georgia Mrazkova's artist statement. Mrazkova describes her work as nostalgic and futile with a sense of humor. Once she is done with a piece and steps back, she sees a sense of poignancy or temper that can be frightening or make you wonder what else is in there. Pieces are open-ended and she wants viewers to spin their own narrative, stepping into each work and wandering around, finding new things. A fox dripping into the foreground or a hand grasping out of waves, her hidden imagery is often foreboding and mystical. Water tends to be a theme in many of her pieces. "I used to be a lake swimmer, I would swim with a friend across the lake and back all the time. I think there was so much sensory input from doing that for so many years that keeps coming out in my paintings," she said. This is further proven by the bleeding fluidity of her colors. Carrying with the liquid subjects of her work, Mrazkova's paintings are oil-based but resemble watercolors. She uses a spray bottle of paint thinner to transform her pieces into dreamy scenes. "I especially do that when I’m stuck and I think, 'Okay, this isn’t where I want to be, this isn’t right.' [If there's an area] I don’t know what I am doing with, I'll spray it and I’ll take a rag and swipe some things out and it looks better. It’s just making a decision to destroy something and move on," she said. The concept of destruction and recreation is a reoccurring, much larger theme throughout her body of work. Mrazkova's work ended up at Ecce Gallery by way of the Nemeth Art Center in Park Rapids, Minn., where she had

an exhibit May 30 through July 27. Having to create a body of work for the Nemeth show pushed Mrazkova to explore her breadth and what she wanted to portray. In creating work for these shows, she worked with the idea of unleashing her inner teenage girl. She wanted this part of her to be free and to depict that part of her personal history. "It was a catalyst for me to really dig in and start digging out some paintings in an intense way," she said. This push to create new work allowed her to paint her own reality, pulling from dream-like experiences. Growing up wanting to either become a farmer or an illustrator for Disney, Mrazkova now combines her childhood passions, depicting fantastic scenes of nature. Having spent time in the midwestern scenery of South Dakota, Mrazkova has gotten to know our earth well and her work showcases its "silent hostility," as she calls it. She spoke that nature is a place for solace, but also a place to be on your toes. "Nature is a beautiful thing. Our temporal world is a beautiful thing, but it is not just a beautiful thing, it is a sharp, spiky place to pay attention to," she said. "That's what I love about art, that it makes you feel. It distills things and makes them come into high relief. If it's good, it should have layers of meaning, not necessarily that you can put into words. You should just keep getting meanings from layers." Her art masterfully merges dreams with reality. Viewers seeing her work can pull out different themes and elements in the oil, which is the beauty of abstract art. Mrazkova said, "After we have been fed and housed and we are going to live physically, we need to dream. And that’s what art helps us do or does for us. We need to think, we need to feel." Through her aquatic and arcane works, Mrazkova successfully tugs at this part of our humanity, making sense and meaning of our lives with each brushstroke.

Georgia Mrazkova




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Multi-medium artist Meg Spielman Peldo fills her home with art of all kinds, creating a home reflective of her own assemblage artistic style.


ne step into Meg Spielman Peldo's 1914 home and you know an artist lives there. There are no spaces left empty and no pieces that are meaningless. The walls of the home shared by Spielman Peldo and her husband Greg are decorated with her own work, mixed in with pieces from other local artists and treasures from their travels. Spielman Peldo is an award-winning fine art photographer and potter. Her work is strong and feminine, incorporating texture and subtlety. She takes the age-old genre of still life and gives it a contemporary—and often cheeky—twist. Her work ranges from her "A Bra Anthologie" series of still-life bras made out of found objects, to western imagery of the Plains with portraits of horses and bison, to broken and reassembled pottery. Her color palette is either black and white or diluted and soft colors, as she enjoys that the lack of color takes away noise and allows the viewer to see details and composition. Patchwork Assemblages In describing some of her work, Spielman Peldo said, "Kind of patchwork assemblage. I like bringing things together to make a more interesting piece." Her ceramic pieces are identifiable by their quality of being broken apart and reassembled. This method is often found in her photographic pieces as well. Her still life works (as seen in the Bra Anthologie) are collages of foundobjects, pieced together to create a new scene. She also enjoys printing out parts of photos and sewing them together on textiles to create a new whole. Her mother was a designer for lingerie company Vassarette, so she grew up around sewing and has incorporated parts of that in her work to this day. "The sewing of my images together wasn't a conscious decision, because that's what I'd been doing in pottery. It just happened and then I recognized...that's what I do," she said. "I like little parts coming into a bigger whole. It's is the same as the still life [photography], you take these individual objects and make them into something else."

As a creator who has mastered multiple mediums and subject matters, from sewing to pottery to horse portraits to infant photography, Spielman Peldo enjoys that her portfolio is so varied, yet it all shares a common thread. "Artists often get criticized for not being cohesive in their body of work, but I love so many different things and I think my work actually reflects who I am and the different facets of my personality and my life," she said. From Hands to Lens While much of Spielman Peldo's work as of late are photography pieces, she cherishes the 25 years she spent as a potter. While photography has been her focus these past few years, she is itching to get back into her pottery work. "I just really want to get back into clay. That's what I spent a good portion of my life doing," she said. Even as a child, Spielman Peldo recalls beeing drawn to both photography and clay. "I always had been interested in photography. I had a little Brownie camera and I would line up my dolls and take pictures of them outside," she shared. She added that her interest in working with clay came from a young age as well, sharing a story about how she used to take clay from construction sites and make doll furniture from it. "Clay and photography is just something I've always done," she said. "I started out shooting film and working in the darkroom and there was something so magical about watching an image come to life in the darkroom. And you don't get that same feeling anymore with digital, but I do print a lot of my own work, at least the smaller pieces," said Spielman Peldo. She has her own professional printer so that she can have that creative control over how the pieces are translated. Whether working with her hands to form clay pieces or perfecting the colors in her photo printing, Spielman Peldo embraces working hands-on, no matter the medium.


Painting by Spielman Peldo's mother, Dorothy Spielman, who was also an artist.

Home Art Collection Spielman Peldo is a cheerleader for collecting art that you love. She pointed towards a piece hanging in her dining room, saying, "This is an example of why you buy really great art that you love, because I would buy this today, 30 years later, and I love it just as much as I did before." She's a believer that good art will outlive any home design and decor trends that come and go. Having many pieces—old and new—in her home, they all remain cohesive. Part of how she does this is through updating frames. "You can do fun things with framing that might be trendy, but you can always change that out later," she said. A piece of her mother's also hangs in the dining room, and while it was created decades ago, became modern again with a fresh frame and matting. Contributing to keeping this art collection going, Spielman Peldo often used the money she received from winning awards for her work to purchase more art. By looking through the pieces in her home, you can see how invested she is in supporting local artists. From a Dean Bowman fish sculpture hanging in her kitchen to a Marilyn Monroe print by Raul Gomez in the living room, the variety of mediums and subjects vary. She just loves collecting art.

Beyond Fargo Many elements in her home and her work are reflective of her world travels. For 25 years, Spielman Peldo traveled the country, from the Florida Keys to California coasts, showcasing her work at fine art fairs. In this, she met fellow artists and got to get out of the North Dakota landscape for additional inspiration. Whether traveling for work or a family vacation, Spielman Peldo noted, "We buy things when we travel all the time. I always buy a piece of art." As an artist herself, it only makes sense that her souvenirs are pieces of local art, rather than shot glasses or graphic tees. Spielman Peldo explained that she and her family love the beach and are "ocean people." Taking note of her beachy decor like a beach-scene photograph of hers above the couch or a palm tree throw pillow by Naples designer, Kriss LeCocq, she said, "People think it is weird to have beach things in a North Dakota house, but to me, it brings me to where I'm happy. We love to take pictures of where we have been or buy art from where we have been and have it remind us." She joked that she can look outside the window if she wants to see North Dakota, so she enjoys displaying reminders of ocean-life to keep her warm once winter hits.


"Boob Tube"


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ARTIST FEATURE + ARTIST AT HOME Photo by Spielman Peldo from a Miami visit, painting by Rando, the tin star is an antique Christmas decoration.


Top left piece by Star Wallowing Bull. Fish sculpture by Dean Bowman. Fargo Film Festival print by Punchgut.

A Bra Anthologie Sparked from the Hotel Donaldson's Bras on Broadway campaign, Spielman Peldo created her first bra-inspired piece, "Nest Enhancement." From the success she saw with this clever photograph, comprising of two bird nests and natural objects posed to look like a bra, she began to create more. Brilliant titles and creative uses of unlikely materials allowed Spielman Peldo to have some fun and to use some "hoarded" materials she'd been stashing. "How the Breast Was Won" features western motifs of spurs, guns and a sheriff badge. "Flasher" showcases two vintage camera flashes alongside unrolled spools of film. "Boob Tube" depicts two television sets with bent antennas as bra straps. With the success of this series, Spielman Peldo published a book, "No Lumps, Thank You.: A Bra Anthologie" with Schiffer Publishing in 2012. She also created a special edition of the book alongside writer and speaker Kim Wagner, highlighting stories form regional breast cancer survivors. The proceeds of this special edition went to Sandford Health's Embrace Cancer Survivorship Program. Each story shared in the book paired with an image from the series, like a story about hot flashes printed alongside "Hot Ta-Tas" (a chili pepper bra) and a piece about mammograms alongside "Freshly Squeezed" (a lemon juicer bra). A gift to herself in celebration of publishing the book sits atop the fireplace. Displayed is a moose antler she got while in Big Sky. She smiled as she remarked that a "nice rack" was an appropriate gift for the celebration of the bra-related book. While the books have already been published, Spielman Peldo is excited to keep creating pieces for the series. "Everywhere I go, I see bras. Everywhere I go, everything I look at. I think it's fun, I'm always coming up with more ideas," she said. She hopes to find new ways to market these fun works and to keep executing her visions.

Uncommon Bison "I've been following wild horses for about 10 years, and I was driving back from Theodore [Roosevelt National Park] and thinking in the car...the horses will pose for you. But bison won't and you can't get close to them. So I was like, who has a bison that will pose for me?" Following this unique thought-process, Spielman Peldo began the path to her iconic "Uncommon Bison" series. This series captures the bison, an icon beloved by North Dakotans, posed in unexpected environments, like behind an appliance store or at the swimming pool. Determined to find a bison that would pose for her, Spielman Peldo came in contact with Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton. Corso, the subject of many of Spielman Peldo's pieces, was born into a puddle and abandoned by his mother. He was found by ranchers and given a second chance at life when the ranchers got in contact with Chahinkapa Zoo and worked to save the young bison. They embarked on months of medical care and training, nursing the calf to health. Having started his life fully raised by humans, Corso was unable to assimilate into a herd and thus was never destined for a standard life for a bison. As he was raised, he became the perfect mascot for the state, as he represented NDSU on ESPN's College Gameday and became the model of Spielman Peldo's series of curious and charming photos. Thanks to Corso being raised around humans and used to crowds, Spielman Peldo was able to (with proper trainers) take Corso to scenes where she would photograph him. Photos from this series are not photoshopped, as many viewers might initially think, but young Corso was literally present as a model for each image. In exchange for lending her Corso, Spielman Peldo photographs some of Chahinkapa Zoo's baby animals and donates her art to the zoo's gift shop and fundraisers to help continue their rescue projects.


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"Buffalo Avenue"

"Water Buffalo"


Dakota Fine Art Beyond producing her own work, Spielman Peldo is part of the eight-member artist collective, Dakota Fine Art. Located on 8th Street in downtown Fargo, Dakota Fine Art is a gallery showcasing the work of the collective members, but also features rotating guest artists. For many artists, it's not about the money, but you do have to make a living. "There is nothing wrong with making a living as an artist and creating work that people want to buy," she said. At the gallery, she can sell and display her work in a platform that allows it to be accessible to the community. The eight members of the collective take turns handing the responsibilities of the storefront, giving additional opportunity to interact with art admirers in the community.

In the entryway is a reproduction of one of Spielman Peldo's mother's works, paired with vases by Jon Offutt and others.

"People want to support local artists and arts," she said. With brilliant work and a public way for the community to interact with it, Spielman Peldo's work is sure to continue to be supported, in Fargo and beyond. Spielman Peldo declared herself that you never retire as an artist, it is something that is just in you. To know that she will continue to produce art to feed her spirit is great news for our community.

Meg Spielman Studio Dakota Fine Art 11 8th St. S, Fargo


BY Chris Hawley, Principle Architect at CHA Architecture + Construction



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rchitecture has been described as a beautiful blend of art and science. I believe that. I have also thought about how the head and the heart help shape our decisions in different ways. However, in my world, if you don’t have art at the heart of what you do, you don’t have inspiration and the world is pretty void of color. Don’t get me wrong, I love science for its clearly defined “black and white” role in the world, but art is what gets me up in the morning. When we start a design project, the process is a freeflowing stream of thoughts and ideas that are rooted in solving a problem. And, we often get there with a number of solutions or versions of a solution that solve the problem. However, the one that is typically selected is the one that “sings.” Why is that? Because the one that “sings” is the one that has the ability to be transformative in the way you see the world and ultimately challenges you the way that art does. When you look at the best architectural work, it is often rigorous in its approach to achieving art. And, in some cases, the work starts with art and works itself backward. How does that show up in architecture? There is probably a long list out there, but I see it through a few principles that have been guiding our work for a long time. Below is a partial list of ways that art can be used to heighten the built environment and/ or become the center of attention:

• Deciding what design should celebrate • Deciding what design should not celebrate • Framing views that are worth seeing (in the landscape and the shaping of the built environment) • Using color to enforce a concept • Allowing space for sculptural elements to “show off,” often creating an “attitude” or posture for a project • Articulating handmade details in a way that engages the human experience • Striving for “simple” as a means to focus your attention • Creating forms that create an emotional response and shape the experience • Using pattern to enforce an idea • Understanding how to use scale and proportion to your advantage • Surrounding yourself with meaningful things that help tell one’s story • Using materials in a responsible and intentional way



I might also add that art is not limited to something framed on a wall. Art can often be found in the way that something is handled and/or with the “artful” way that someone uses restraint to solve a problem. I often visit with clients about wanting more art in their life and the quick solution is to cover every blank wall space with a piece of art. This is almost a “knee jerk” response that can be viewed as an afterthought. I would argue that there are better ways to achieve art in our lives and often the “cover the walls” approach will create a noisy and unsettling experience of art. Art is thoughtful, careful and, more often than not, it is intentional and calculated. Art is not haphazard and rash. I find art in the way that one approaches their every day. This can be the way that decisions are made. This can be how one articulates their thoughts. This can be how one expresses a message. It can even be how one shapes experience and emotions. I have found that the most beautiful examples of art are the most simple and are most impactful when they celebrate one’s world and our place within it. So, I would suggest that we could all use a little more art in our day-to-day lives. As much as I appreciate data, science and the quantitative aspects of life, I often find that we are never short on the quantity of information at our fingertips (we are overloaded). However, I will say that most people are often starving for the qualitative things in life that I believe art can bring. I believe that art can help bring that meaningful focus into our lives and our day-to-day. Science may be at the head of a lot of decisions, but art has always been at the heart of my life and my “quality of life” is always better when I have let my world be shaped in that way. Without art at the center of our work, we are void of inspiration and I believe that we can always use a little more color, texture and meaningful intent...softening the edges of our “black and white” world.


trending locally

with Dash & White


ince their inception, The Shoppes at BLU Water Creek have been the premier shopping location for all lifestyle needs of local women. Dash & White is the newest shop at the center and has already been stirring a buzz in the community. At the helm of this mid-century modern home decor haven is owner Kelsey Rasco. Rasco lived in Portland for some years before moving back to Fargo and such West Coast ideals are reflective of the merchandise you can find at the store. Dash & White carries goods from eco-friendly products like reusable sandwich bags to products made by sustainable small businesses to stylish (and pastel) appliances. If you follow along with the shop on social media, you probably have a good idea of who Rasco is, with her pastel pink hair and welcoming and authentic personality. If her zest for life hasn't led you into the shop yet, come with us as we introduce you to offerings you can find when you step foot into Dash & White.

Dash & White 3265 45th St S Suite 120, Fargo 701-645-3933


BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen Fill your home with mid-century modern statement pieces, whether it be a buffet table, ottoman or even some down-filled throw pillows. MidCentury modern designs have been trending in our area and make for the perfect blend of the sleekness of modernity but with the warmth we crave in the cold months.






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Set the scene for your perfect brew to start the day. Dash & White is the only certified Smeg dealer in North Dakota, supplying goods like this stunning espresso machine, along with their signature toasters, mini-refrigerators, electric kettles, blenders and more. Sip your brews from a golden-detailed "From Fran" mug, handmade in Queens, New York. To complete the scene, purchase some humorous beans from Harry Potter-inspired coffee roaster, 9 3/4 Coffee & Tea Co and sweeten the cup with chic Luxe Cube sweeteners.








Dash & White celebrates the concept of selfpampering and encourages its customers to live a little. Rather than cracking open a can after a long day, concoct yourself a craft cocktail from your home. Dash & White carries the brand Viski, a line coming in various metals and designed for the upscale bartender in all of us. Shake and strain your beverage in their gold shaker and matching Hawthorne strainer, also available in gunmetal and rose gold. For a simpler process, but just as upscale of an outcome, pour a glass of wine in these ombre wine glasses and drop in some rose quartz wine gems to make it the perfect temperature.

JOYJOLT WINE GLASSES Red Wine Set, $66 White Wine Set, $62




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While Dash & White is located at The Shoppes at BLU Water Creek, a primarily womencentric shopping center, the store has a variety of masculine and neutral products. Leather, wood and matte black always make for a sophisticated scene and Dash & White has no shortage of such.



Magnificent Craftsman Bungalow IN MOORHEAD

“Cozy� is a term often associated with the Craftsman bungalow, a home style that emerged about one hundred years ago, beginning in California and gaining rapid acceptance throughout the West and Midwest. BY Paul H. Gleye | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Hillary Ehlen


The bungalow embodied warmth, contentment, comfort and solidity. Unlike the Classical Revival homes of a few years prior that stood tall and stately, the bungalow hugged the ground with exposed beams supporting wide overhanging eaves and boxy frames surrounding horizontal bands of windows. The deep front porch was integrated into the roofline rather than being added on to the front. Cedar shakes and narrow lap siding covered outside walls and sometimes heavy stone foundations expressed an organic connection between house and ground. All was intended to convey the look of hand craftsmanship, far removed from classical columns and arches borrowed from Europe.


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Lifestyles were also changing in the early twentieth century and the Craftsman bungalow expressed new, more informal ways of living without the benefit of domestic servants. Gone was the formal parlor inside the front entrance; one entered the house directly into a living room facing a large fireplace. Housekeeping efficiency was expressed in architecture through built-in cabinetry and shelves for storage. Floor plans emphasized large, easily cared-for spaces that minimized small rooms and hallways and the kitchen emerged from its former isolation to connect directly with dining and living rooms. Principal living areas moved to the ground floor, though sometimes bedrooms were tucked inconspicuously upstairs under the shallow-pitch roof and revealed only by a single large dormer facing the front. Given the compact plan of the typical Craftsman bungalow, corner nooks and window seats allowed for maximum use of interior space. Bold woodwork included large, tapered square columns that expressed a handmade aesthetic of straight lines and geometric patterns.

This large, beautifully restored bungalow in the historic Comstock neighborhood of Moorhead is an outstanding example of the style. Built in 1910 by beer salesman George Wilhelm when Craftsman architecture was still in its infancy, it incorporates nearly every feature that defines the style. The aesthetic quality of wood is expressed in quarter-sawn oak woodwork that displays the “rays� of the wood in addition to its grain. Quarter sawing is an expensive process that celebrates the craft of sawing timber; it was a favored feature Craftsman homes and was stained, seldom painted.


Craftsman bungalows continued to be built through the 1920s until the Great Depression brought an end to the movement. Craftsman architecture was in fact expensive and labor-intensive to build. By the time large-scale home construction resumed after World War II, the dual pressures of economical construction and Modernist aesthetics carried home design in an entirely different direction and many bungalows were demolished. Today, Craftsman bungalows that have survived are much sought-after by new generations of Craftsman aficionados who have restored them, as with this Moorhead home, to their former beauty.



Each month, we are excited to feature spaces that work. Design & Living has always been a community resource to all things home and design. As more and more outstanding commercial spaces throughout town have caught our attention, we cannot overlook them any longer! 76

DESIGN & LIVING | N O V E M B E R 2 01 9

BY Becky Muller, Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen



his past summer, InterOffice re-opened its doors in Fargo Railyard’s renovated Smith Building. Owner, Kevin Bartram, always saw something in the former bus repair shop and decided it was time to make his vision become reality. The dark warehouse with cracked floors and no windows was transformed into a beautiful new work environment that gives InterOffice the space they need to keep up with their growth in the commercial, healthcare and residential design industries. About InterOffice Born in 2001, InterOffice was originally a “simple, quick and affordable” dealership for Herman Miller furniture. They quickly grew into a full commercial dealer, expanding into healthcare in 2015 and were named the exclusive partner of Herman Miller for all of North Dakota in 2018. This new title created the demand to not only expand in Fargo, but also to open an office in Bismarck to better meet the needs of their Western North Dakota clients. Moving to the Railyard, InterOffice doubled the size of their existing showroom. This gave them the opportunity to work directly next to their warehouse, display more product, diversify their work zones and provide their employees with a space that allowed them to work more efficiently, both individually and as a team. Blank Slate Staring into a large, empty warehouse — where does one start? Aubree Leiser, InterOffice manager, is the fearless team leader of a staff full of talented interior designers. Now one probably wonders, “How does a group of interior designers come to a single conclusion on the space where they spend most of their time each week?” or, “How do they choose what to display when they sell from over 100 furniture brands?” From getting their initial ideas turned down by Herman Miller corporate headquarters, the creative minds of the team came together, took the feedback in and created the swoon-worthy office space you see now.

The InterOffice team, (Left to Right) Jordan Hanson, Sarah Huckle, Sheila Hanson, Terri Bertsch, Darla McWilliam, Melissa LaBay, Aubree Leiser, Jolynn Kaldor and Levi Hanson.


Their first step was to add large spans of glass and to paint the roof deck white to really brighten up the space. Next was to decide what furniture to display and how they wanted the space to flow. With their strong knowledge of what sells best in our area, what their clients and the community are looking for and where they see commercial design going in the future, they put together a flexible workspace with diverse types of work zones. From open work stations to large and small meeting rooms, many break-out spaces and private phone rooms, they checked every box twice!.With this new space, they were also able to showcase both their healthcare line and their residential brands by creating real-life mock-ups, proving just how easily they can transition and blend into commercial spaces. Inspiration The front of their showroom is what they call “the plaza” and holds a beautiful piece of Railyard artwork that became the inspiration for their finish selections throughout the building. This welcoming space also holds the most classic Herman Miller pieces, a coffee bar, a handful of different meeting zones and their personality wallboards, which tell everyone a little bit about their dedicated employees. They kept the conference room towards the front of the building so clients would not have to walk all the way to the back for meetings. However, their open concept plan still allows anyone who walks in the door to see a large amount of their workspace. With the presence of natural vegetation throughout the design and allowing in as much natural light as possible, InterOffice’s new space is embracing the concept of biophilia to the fullest. By bringing the outdoors in, they allow their employees, clients and customers to be connected to nature all day long. The warm wood textures in the furniture contrasting with dark metal accents, concrete floors and original trusses create a perfect blend of industrial modernism. Whether it is highlighting the designers from Herman Miller classics, turning an old photograph of the Fargo Railyard into artwork or incorporating iconic signage from their previous location, the InterOffice designers did an inspiring job paying homage to what led them to where they are today!


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Team Focus The most important piece of InterOffice is their team. With only two private offices, the rest of the space holds open workstations and break-out spaces for everyone to collaborate. Whether they are in the library discussing project finishes, the large island in the middle of the workspace discussing schedules or a meeting room on a conference call — there is no limit as to where teamwork can take place. Leiser explained how crucial it was to give their employees a place to relax, clear their mind and regroup. Their “fun zone” does just that. People can get up and away from their desks, play a game of shuffleboard and reset before going back to finish up their work for the day. Each employee is provided with a personal locker, a height-adjustable desk and a laptop that gives them the ability to work wherever they want in the office. Leiser gave the perfect analogy of explaining their “work anywhere” office concept: When a person starts kindergarten, they are assigned to one desk with their name on it. Eventually they get to middle and high school where they switch classrooms throughout the day, but still have their specific spot. In college, you are allowed to sit and study wherever — you figure out how you work best and how to succeed. It is important that a workplace still promotes that, giving employees the option to work where they succeed, are most comfortable or where they are the most inspired that day. One Workspace to Another From the long and narrow space they were in previously, a large empty warehouse was exactly what InterOffice needed to take their working showroom to the next level. Throughout the space they showcase multiple different furniture systems so clients can see all of the different features each one has to offer, based on privacy, technology, storage requirements and square footage. Their large training room with access to the outside was designed to bring the whole architecture and design community together for continuing education classes, networking events and volunteer opportunities. InterOffice had a vision of an old warehouse and successfully turned it into a beautiful, comfortable and functional workspace keeping its employees, clients and featured furniture manufacturers at the top of their priority list!


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