A Picture of Discontent

A series of artist showdowns paints an unflattering portrait of the diStilo Gallery

Mark Wojahn, a local sculptor and photographer, adds that there's a chronic lack of business skills among artists. "It's definitely a sickness," he says. "They're so interested in doing their art that business is totally secondary....It's kind of like the blind leading the blind. Nobody really knows what they're doing."

The core group of artists who originally renovated the diStilo space have moved on to a new studio. They found another dilapidated warehouse space in the Longfellow neighborhood and again began the arduous task of rehabbing the facility. There are now woodworking and metal shops in the building, as well as a darkroom. A cavernous, high-ceilinged space that currently hosts Ping-Pong matches could one day be converted into a gallery.

For Rand and Murray, the recent Minneapolis College of Art and Design graduates, the experience with diStilo was their first foray into attempting to make a living as working artists--and they say it taught them a few hard business lessons. "We learned a lot about viewing a person and knowing what they're about," assesses Murray. "We should each get a doctorate in something for all that we've gone through."

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