In the land of models and actors, a Rhinelander artist makes her own way
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
With a little luck, a bold attitude and a lot of talent and hard work, a Rhinelander woman is making a name for herself in the art world. After taking a total of two art classes in high school, Autumn Lundberg moved to Los Angeles in August, 2009, to begin her life as an artist.
“I was very confident about [the move to L.A. as an 18-year old],”Lundberg said. “I probably should have been more afraid; I just was at that age and belief that nothing bad was going to happen to me, which was both a blessing and a curse, looking back on it. It took a very bold attitude on my part.”
In Los Angeles, she started working with charcoal and portraits. Her friends were into modeling and acting, and Lundberg said it was “just kind of cool that I had my own challenge.” The style of painting that Lundberg has become known for is nature inspired, reflecting her Northwoods roots.
“I don’t think I’ve ever made a piece of art that didn’t come from nature in some way.” Autumn Lundberg, artist
“I don’t do pop art or make up geometric shapes,” she said. “I do more impressionist work, landscape, seascape, dreamscape. I grew up in the woods; my parents gave us free reign to explore – the meadow, woods, swamp. I don’t think I’ve ever made a piece of art that didn’t come from nature in some way.”
Each piece of art is finished with a polyurethane medium, which Lundberg says gives it a protective coating, but also looks “very clean and crisp and very professional.” Her first pieces were sold four years after arriving on the West Coast. It was lucky, she said, that those first pieces were sold to “big art collectors who were friends with other big art collectors.” Her art resides throughout the country and as far away as Brazil. After her work began to sell, Lundberg realized she was at a crossroads. She wanted to learn more, work with different materials, bigger projects and bigger sculptures.
“Even though I felt that I had succeeded after selling a piece to a collector who has a Picasso and a Magritte, I couldn’t imagine how I would ever do better than this,” Lundberg explained. “I don’t want to feel limited. I wanted to sharpen my skills, and blend different mediums and materials.”
That self reflection is what brought Lundberg back to Wisconsin late last summer. She had toured Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) in 2009 and liked the facility but it didn’t feel right at the time. Since then, she said, much has changed: new classes, new majors, new work space. So last spring, when she decided to pursue art school, MIAD was the first one she looked at.
“It’s an up-and-coming school, and is close to Chicago, which is definitely a city I want to work in,” said Lundberg. “I reached out to the school, they knew who I was. I had built up enough credentials, and after I applied, they offered me almost a full ride. Everything happened in a lucky way.”
After only a few weeks in school, Lundberg changed her major from fine arts to industrial design with a minor in fine art. As the creative middle child, and only sibling in the family not studying medicine, industrial design will allow her to work in a field she is interested in and hits close to home.
“I am very passionate about the medical field and have been trying to find a way to incorporate my art into that,” said Lundberg. “Whether that is making a new MRI machine that is more kid friendly, which they’ve been doing, or even changing the colors in the hospital interior design.”
In the meantime, Lundberg will continue to create, show her art and work the Hollywood connections that, in part, made her who she is today. She hopes to meet up soon with people she met while being featured in a high-end art magazine.
“I was just really lucky to get that four-page spread,” Lundberg noted. “The magazine is doing an art show in Miami and I’m hoping to get there to show some of my pieces this winter.”
Luck may have played a small role in Autumn Lundberg’s success to date, but hard work and determination played no small part. Using all of that, she says budding Northwoods artists can make their dreams come true, too.
“Be very confident in your creativity,” offered Lundberg. “When you believe in your own work, that will drive other people to believe in your work as well.”