Jeredt Runions: Wilderness Pop Artist
Jeredt Runions performs with paint and artistic insight while on stage with local musicians like Cloud Cult, Trampled By Turtles, and Retribution Gospel Choir.
"Jeredt's work seems like it wants to spring to life and jump right off the canvas,” Dave Carrol of TBT once said of his art. “His style and technique are very unique, fresh and colorful. Some of his art has been created on stage while a band is performing, which is an interesting way to work, and I think that his art shows the passion he has for the community he lives in.”
While Runions is not a native of the area, he has risen quickly in popularity in the local art scene. From the woods and interpretative eye of his mother to his stepdad’s love of concert art, Runions’ has had many influences.
“My family has greatly influenced my art,” Runions said. “I was raised by my crafty mother and later in life my step dad brought a style into the house that I had never seen before. My mother was a wildlife artist and she would paint Northwood’s scenes all the time. My stepdad brought the 1960 and 70s rock poster art into the house. I grew up looking at cd covers and posters while staring outside my window at the beauty of the woods. My influence from those two people helped me a lot growing up.”
I met with Runions at the Tweed Museum recently to walk through the Psychedelic Signatures concert poster exhibit and talk about the art. He told me how Rick Griffin’s cartoonlike style influenced him and how he had already visited the show with his friend Gary Reed.
“The one person that helped me out the most and influenced my whole art style and life was Gary Reed from South Superior,” Runions said. “This man brought me into his life and showed me the world of art. His place was my school for about 6 years, and in that time I learned so many techniques. From silk-screening, to painting, to dealing with the business side of art, he showed me many skills. This was a time in my life that changed me for the good and got me to be really involved with the art scene up here. Gary and his wife Kelly are like my second mother and dad, and I owe them so much for teaching me the things I needed to learn at that time. Another great influence I would have to say are all the artists and people in the area that have shown their support and love to the art scene. These are people that go out of their way to make a difference up here and don’t sit back and let things get them down.”
In 2004 Runions had his first local showing of art in the Twin Ports area. Since then he has participated in many bands’ live shows and exhibited his many works around the area. I asked him how living in the region made its way into his art.
“The environment I live in, take joy in, and call my home has greatly influenced my art and style,” Runions said. “I would have to say I do have the inspiration of the woods and nature. Growing up with a wildlife artist for a mother and always being in the woods shaped my style in that aspect, but living next to a train yard and being intrigued by the graffiti style on the trains that passed my house also played a role in my art. I took in more than a normal kid should consume and this combination is the base of my style. My style of art is a combination of organic, natural elements of the Northwoods, and environments I have seen - along with a graffiti, animation aspect.”
Mayor Don Ness said that it has been fun to see Runions’ work progress through the years in the local art scene. I asked Runions what was the craziest way someone has described his art.
“The craziest thing someone said to me describing my art would have to be from children and the way they talk about the art and what they see,” Runions said. “Half of the time I would have never thought that. The best example was when I was working on the Cascade mural project in Duluth this past summer. I met so many kids and the things that came out of their mouths about the art on the wall were the best moments of the summer.”
Teague Alexy, Cloud Cult, and Trampled By Turtles have all hosted Runions on stage as he interpreted their music visually using paint. While visiting his converted studio, located where most people would have their living room, I asked Runions how painting on stage is different from the studio.
“Being on stage with bands is a really cool thing,” Runions said. “I have always been involved with the music scene doing posters or cd covers or just going to shows. Being up there with the bands and painting has helped me with my public presentation and shown my art to an audience that is connected with it. The live painting is so much different than the studio work. The live painting is fast and has an element of surprise in it. The live painting also brings the studio to the people and makes them appreciate the effort and ability to do that. Most of my studio stuff is never seen until it’s completely done. So it is two completely different styles and ways to paint. I love both of them. I believe all artists need internal stimulation and external as well.”
So what does Runions see in the future for a traditional artist as opposed to an artist that prefers digital technology?
“I have always been a strong believer in traditional artists,” Runions said. “My theory is when shit hits the fan there are going to be two artists: ones that sit there wondering when their computers are going to turn back on and those that build a community center out of scraps at the junk yard. The traditional artists always have the upper hand. In today’s society we forget about that, and being a future high school art teacher, I chose UWS for the traditional skills they teach you. You can’t rely on your computer and Macs all the time, kids!”
Where can you purchase or view more of Runions art?
“People can buy my art online through Facebook, or at the many shows that I put on in the area. Goin Postal in Superior is carrying my prints and some paintings right now, so stop in. The best bet is to come to a show and meet me, although I will be getting a website in the next month or so.”