Sky's enthusiasm soars high with new exhibit
WORTHINGTON -- As a student at Worthington High School, Sky Alsgaard discovered her passion for photography, although she earned a D for her efforts during the first semester of the class.
"I was out there trying to make art, and (teacher Tricia Mikle) was telling me that I had to learn the basics, know how to technically do it," Sky recalled. "I got a D because my head was in the clouds. I thought what I was doing was so great, but I didn't know the technical stuff."
Under Mikle's tutelage, Sky did learn the technical aspects of photography, and she continued to take photos all through high school, graduating in 1989, and then at the University of South Dakota, where she continued to hone her skills.
"I didn't complete my degree there," Sky admitted. "I got the traveling itch and started to travel around. I was a little bit of a wild child. Then I came out to San Francisco to go to the San Francisco Art Institute. That's where I completed my degree."
In her previous travels, Sky had been intrigued by the City by the Bay, and the school she chose was founded by renowned photographer Ansel Adams.
"There's something about the light here," Sky described about the city she still calls home during a phone interview, "and there's kind of a smell in the air -- eucalyptus, the bay trees combined with the sea. It's got its own micro-climate, and it's very small -- packed, dense. There's something in the air that is quite wonderful."
Currently, Sky is an art consultant at a top art gallery in San Francisco. She also does photography and fuels her own artistic inclinations through Inspired Sky Photography and Web Design (www.inspiredsky.com).
"I've been doing a lot of children's photography, a lot of writers' groups, friends if they need portraits," she explained. "Art has always been a passion of mine, but it's not something that I'm necessarily interested in making my full-time career. I want to keep that passion alive, the mystery of it, and I've discovered as I walk through life that if I do something every day, the mystery goes away, be it a job or relationships or whatever."
Sky grew up surrounded by art and the artistic influences of her mother, Bobbie Alsgaard-Lien, art instructor at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus.
"Every time I think time is riding me down -- what's the use? -- I just look at my mom," credited Sky. "Here's a woman who has been teaching full-time, doing all this stuff for the community, dealing with family illness and still getting out there and making art, and she doesn't ever question it. She just does it. It's part of her being on this planet, and that's what it takes to be an artist -- simply going in and doing it."
In addition to photography, Sky also works in collage, and examples of both mediums are part of an exhibit of her work currently hanging at the Minnesota West campus.
"The whole theme of the show is 'Time Runs Us All Down,' and you'll notice this theme of a fairy tale running through all of it," Sky explained. "It's the idea of the hopes and dreams of fairy tales that we have as a child, but it doesn't always work out the way we plan. We have very idealistic views of how our life is going to be, and while life is very beautiful, it's often not the way we plan, and bad things happen."
The Worthington exhibit is one of the first times Sky is sharing her collages in a public venue, although she's dabbled with them since she was just a youngster.
"I've always been fascinated with collage, but it's always been just for myself," she said. "It's never anything I've ever shown before. This time I really wanted to push myself to make some collages that would be considered actual pieces of art, that would tell a story ... this riff on the fairy tale gone awry."
With both mediums, Sky has paid close attention to her editing skills.
"I've been really fascinated with using Photoshop, really trying to utilize, in a simple way, the elements of Photoshop to make the pictures a little bit more fairy tale like," she said. "I think one of the most fascinating things about being an artist is actually the editing process, because we have so many ideas and so many limitless possibilities. Technology has given us these endless options. If we don't like it, we can erase it and start over again."
As she has matured as an artist, Sky has found more humor creeping into her work.
"I think I was always wanting to be a really serious artist, but my mom has always had a certain comic element in her artwork, and I've wanted to incorporate more of that," she said. "All the artists at the gallery are so serious, very sophisticated, and do very serious artwork. But I definitely appreciate a little bit of humor, which you'll see in the collage. ... You can't take yourself too seriously."
Sky is looking forward to sharing her latest artistic endeavors in her hometown and reconnecting with family and friends.
"I love it, I love it," she said about the exhibit opportunity. "The older I get, the more I come to appreciate the Midwest and all of its qualities. I really miss that light that is there, and the prairie air. I love coming back, and a lot of my friends will be coming to the show. Since the opening will be on Oct. 28, people should feel free to dress up for Halloween. I'll probably be a kitty cat -- my favorite costume."
"Time Runs Us All Down" is already on display in the Fine Arts Building at Minnesota West, Worthington campus, and the show will continue through Nov. 14. The opening reception will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 28.