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Haglund is featured artist in May at Charles City Arts Center

Haglund is featured artist in May at Charles City Arts Center
The work of local artist Karl Haglund will be the featured art in the month of May at the Charles City Arts Center. The CCAC will host a reception for Haglund today (Friday) from 5-7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob, [email protected]

The work of local artist Karl Haglund will be the featured art in the month of May at the Charles City Arts Center.

Haglund’s exhibit is entitled “Patiently Standing on Nails” and will feature a variety of work, including acrylic paintings he composed earlier this year along with smaller watercolor pieces he’s been working on more recently.

The CCAC will host a reception for Haglund today (Friday) from 5-7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Haglund said he started painting for the exhibit at the beginning of the year, and the pieces had a theme of rebirth and renewal.

“January can be kind of bleak, so I was trying to paint in an optimistic manner,” he said.

That lasted for about a month and a half, he said. He then he stopped for a while before he began painting with watercolors, ink and colored pencils. The recent 9-by-12 paintings are smaller than the paintings that Haglund has typically produced over the years.

“I’ve always struggled working smaller. I’ve enjoyed working with a lot of space,” he said. “It’s fun, though, and if it’s fun, and I’m enjoying it, then I can continue to do it.”

Haglund said his mother worked in watercolor, and he has been using some of her old supplies that he obtained after she passed away.

Haglund and his wife, Jenna, have been in Charles City for nearly 18 years. They have two children.

Born in Wisconsin, Haglund grew up not too far away from Charles City, in Vinton. He said he was initially influenced by his mother, who was an established artist in Sweden when she met Haglund’s father, who was in Sweden playing baseball.

He completed high school in 1990 and attended college at NIACC, then transferred to Northern Iowa, where he studied anthropology. While in grad school there, his hobby as a guitar player merged with his interest in art and led to an opportunity.

Haglund started doing paintings of famous guitars, and the endeavor got an enormous response. He has shipped his series of guitar paintings and prints all over the world and to all 50 states and worked with musicians like Jason Isbell and Billy Bragg.

He said that while a lot of people had been painting famous guitars, he believed he was the first person to combine the story of the guitar with a painting of the guitar. Over time, he painted more than 150 creations of famous guitars, held by the likes of musicians such as Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Mike McReady.

Haglund has shown his work all over Iowa, and has been seen in galleries and magazines and has done art shows in odd places like independent record stores, KDHX radio station in St Louis, coffee shops and even a bar where his paintings were “dazzling under the glow of a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser sign.”

This will be the second time his work will be on display at the CCAC. In March of 2020, his exhibit was entitled “Root: We All Took Vitamins And Played In The Street,” and featured pieces that Haglund called “contemporary abstract.”

Haglund has worked in multiple mediums and said he likes to reevaluate and change his approach to art and his ideas on subject matter, but has remained true to an independent do-it-yourself approach to art and its selling.

He sold several pieces at his last exhibit at the CCAC, and said that he hopes people will enjoy his work.

“I’m trying to price everything so it’s affordable and accessible,” Haglund said. “Art is something that oftentimes is viewed as something only fancy people buy, and it doesn’t have to be that. I think more people should buy art from local artists.”

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