The Minnesota State Fair’s 2018 Commemorative Art was unveiled at the State Fairgrounds on Thursday, June 7, by St. Paul paper collage artist Kristi Abbott. Surrounded by State Fair enthusiasts, she presented her artwork publicly for the first time. The original 3-foot by 4-foot piece will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during the 2018 Great Minnesota Get-Together, Aug. 23 through Labor Day, Sept. 3.
Abbott’s work uses color, pattern and texture in an innovative and exciting way through a combination of papers, adhesives and embellishment materials. Each piece is built using multiple layers and is made up of hidden imagery. This piece is no exception; it is a tapestry of visual storytelling containing more than 50 hidden images representing all parts of the State Fair. “There is no shortage of imagery to include for the Minnesota State Fair. The hardest part was deciding which images to include when I could only fit so many into the final artwork,” said Abbott. “Hopefully, the images I included evoke a sense of fun, wonder and excitement that is felt at the fair. I certainly felt this on every one of my seven visits to the Great Minnesota Get-Together in 2017, especially when visiting with my niece, Willow, and sister, Lauralea, who are the main subjects in my finished piece.”
She has spent her life traveling between Sydney, Australia, and St. Paul, Minn. Growing up, she was seldom without a book, a Barbie doll and a set of coloring pencils. She was fascinated by art, travel, culture, and making things with her hands from a very early age and chose to study art, theatre and design throughout school. After a decade in the corporate arena, a graduate degree in design and an Executive MBA, she decided to leave the corporate world and move to Minnesota to pursue her true passion – art. Abbott’s work rose to notoriety when she was chosen as the featured artist for the Edina Art Show in 2015. Following the success of her first show, she was selected as the featured artist for Duluth Art on the Bay and awarded a commission. In 2016, Abbott developed her Pop Icon Series that included stars such as David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Murray and Prince. In 2017, she created the “I Am” series, a collection of eight portraits, along with a multi-media experience created for each one. Most recently she led a collaborative exhibition called “7 Warrior Women” which highlighted seven artworks and seven continents of the world. Visit kristiabbott.com for more information.
The commemorative poster, a limited number of signed prints and other merchandise featuring the art are available here for purchase as well as available during the fair at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book and State Fair Poster Carts on the fairgrounds. Proceeds will support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation 501(c)(3) mission to preserve and improve the historic State Fairgrounds and support State Fair educational programs.
The 2018 Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Art is the 15th in a series of artwork created annually by Minnesota artists for the Great Minnesota Get-Together. In past years, artists have included: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPré (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009), Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010), Steve Thomas (2011), Joe Heffron (2012), Marie Olofsdotter (2013), Emily L. Taylor (2014), Adam Turman (2015), Michael Sweere (2016) and Ta-coumba Aiken (2017). View gallery of past artwork.