Barry Scanlan 2


  Barry Scanlan      Project Description    Topic      Environmental Corporate Abuse

In a world that is constantly under environmental threat from unbelievable strains due to corporate abuse and apathy, my art strives to build awareness and thoughtful discourse. Using canvases and sculpture, and some humor, my work brings attention to local environmental issues and losses due to corporate and political decisions. My goal as an artist is to question the status quo, especially the current corporate power structure that rewards corporate executives and stockholders but does very little for the local environment we all live in.

My current work addresses the losses and possible extinction of insects native to Minnesota. I am also working on art related to the Polymet Mining Project in northern Minnesota. For this project I have been  working with the Minnesota Environmental  Advocacy Center. I also have art related to GMOs.

I hope my work shines a spotlight on how corporate decisions, driven by greed and apathy, impact the world around us.

Authentic Voice:  Aaron Klemz, Communications Director, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy


Biography    Barry Scanlan works out of his studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is first-generation Irish; his father’s parents lived in or around County Sligo before immigrating to Scotland then to America in 1920. Raised in Pittsburgh, Scanlan’s background is blue-collar; his father was a steel-worker as was his grandfather. He knows what it is like to sit in a bar surrounded by men who just left the mill, each drinking beers and shots of cheap whiskey.A Vietnam-era Marine Corps veteran, upon leaving the service he lived very close to the bone, with little money, drinking and using drugs, and making at-risk decisions, until he attended college with the GI Bill. Scanlan still makes at-risk decisions, just not as many.

Scanlan has a wide variety of experiences. He has worked in boatyards, built grottos and fences out of fieldstone, and circumvented Rapa Nui (Easter Island) on horseback while partaking in healing ceremonies to save the Earth. He taught in the elementary classroom for a couple decades, which is the hardest work he ever did. He most recently worked as a trauma response coordinator for Anoka-Hennepin Schools. He is a member of Veterans For Peace and has participated in El Salvador’s elections as an impartial observer.

Each of these experiences have shaped his artistic eye and motivation.

Always an artist, he began seriously painting in 2011. He took up painting as a way to deal with crisis in his position as a trauma response coordinator. He has been fortunate to have his art shown in New York City, Minnesota, California, and Louisiana, among other places. Scanlan enjoys working with acrylics incorporated with pumice, sand, gravel, leaves and other textures.  Scanlan won the 2005 Utne Independent Press Awards for his zine True Story!  

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