Don Ness, Jim Carlson immortalized side by side in new art exhibit

By KBJR News 1

April 5, 2014 Updated Apr 5, 2014 at 10:40 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - To some he's a freedom fighter, to others he's the scourge of downtown Duluth. For Mayor Don Ness, Jim Carlson's business was plain bad news for the city.

And now, both of them have been immortalized side by side.

The Zeitgeist Arts, along with the Duluth Art Institute, unveiled the "Hero/Villian/Savior/Scoundrel: Images of Jim Carlson and Don Ness" series Saturday.

For the nine artists that have entered their artistic renditions of the unlikely duo, the project is a chance to portray the years–long struggle between the individuals--and all they represent--on a personal and collective level.

Often humorous, in some cases serious, and in other instances eerily similar, the phrases "hero" and "scoundrel" are often left open for interpretation.

Performance artist Tyler Scouton designed his satirical portrayal of Carlson as Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara with the logo "Free Jim Carlson" last year, before he was ever found guilty of 51 counts of synthetic drug sales.

"It blew up," laughed Scouton, standing by his work. "It went from... a joke text I sent to my friend, to the reality of a t–shirt and stickers. And then, before you know it, there's a giant billboard on Superior Street," he added, referring to the massive print that Carlson himself had made of the logo to hang on the front of his head shop the Last Place on Earth.

For more information on the exhibit:

Duluth Arts Institute

Billy Wagness
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