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Haglund’s work is a hit at CCAC

  • Members of the public talk and socialize Friday at a reception for Charles City artist Karl Haglund at the Charles City Arts Center. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Charles City artist Karl Haglund meets and greets local art patrons at a reception for Haglund the Charles City Arts Center Friday. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Art patrons check out the work of Charles City artist Karl Haglund Friday at a reception for Hagland the Charles City Arts Center. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

A large crowd of people visited the Charles City Arts Center Friday to take a look at the work of Charles City artist Karl Haglund.

“I’m very happy to see lots of friends and people I haven’t seen in a while — it’s been good,” said Haglund, who has already sold two of his contemporary abstract paintings since hanging them up at the Arts Center on Thursday. “It’s a different deal to show art locally than it is to show it in other places.”

Haglund’s exhibit, featured at the Arts Center for the month of March, is entitled “Root: We All Took Vitamins And Played In The Street” and consists of new work. He said that everything in the show has been painted in 2020.

“I feel like these are paintings that come to life in person much more than a photo can relate,” Haglund said. “In person you can see the way the paint was applied and get a feeling of that energy.”

Haglund is a painter, photographer, freelance writer and guitar player who has lived in Charles City for about 14 years. He and his wife, Jenna — currently a social worker in the Charles City School District — have two children.

“I always try to make art where you have to get your nose up to it to see everything,” Haglund said. “There should be a payoff for seeing it in person.”

His paintings feature an array of vibrant colors and patterns, and many were not composed in the traditional way.

“Instead of using brushes, most of this new work was painted using ink rollers, scraps of cardboard, squirt bottles and spray paint,” Haglund said.

Haglund said that personal reflection is part of what he calls a “conversation” an artist often has with his work as it’s being created.

“There is a relationship, as an artist, with the work. I’m having a conversation with what I’m creating,” Haglund said. “Since I didn’t study art, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to inform my work in other ways. Things like self-educating, reading, looking at other art.”

Haglund said the title of the exhibit, “Root: We All Took Vitamins And Played In The Street,” is a reflection of what he was thinking about and feeling as he was painting, and he has been doing a lot of thinking about growing up in the 1980s in Iowa.

“We all took those Flintstone vitamins and played in the street,” he said. “It was a different time — you could ride in a car without a seat belt on. There were just a lot of things I did as a kid that there’s no way in hell I’d let my children do today. Sometimes I’m thinking about that as I’m painting.”

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