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Continued: 'Real World' alum makes splash with his L.A. art

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 23, 2010 - 7:22 PM

There's a great Minneapolis deal on paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Norman Korpi, better known to some as a "Real World" cast member.

Four paintings from Korpi's "Twilight" series were recently sold by the L.A. branch of Blackman Cruz for more than $10,000 each. "I'm ecstatic right now," Korpi told me. Korpi immediately called James Rutherford, owner of downtown Minneapolis' Kirkland Gallery. "'Hey James, how are those paintings doing? I just wanted to let you know those paintings have jumped in price,'" Korpi said.

Unfortunately, the Kirkland Gallery closed just after that conversation. Rutherford, reachable at james@kirkland gallery.com, confirmed Thursday that he still has the Korpi paintings and a website, just no gallery. (To see what the Kirkland looked like, go to startribune.com/video.)

Korpi highly recommends his Minneapolis collection. "They are a really good deal right now in Minneapolis because I priced them for Minneapolis, about a third of that," he said. "I'm sitting here working on new ones because [the L.A. buyer wanted more] and the good ones are at Kirkland Gallery! I have never sold paintings that fast in my life."

The "Twilight" paintings started off as images Korpi snapped on his cell phone. "Trying to capture time, grab the last moment of light and make it permanent," he said. "They were inspired by the sky in Los Angeles. The atmosphere here is getting much more thick and dense; kind of this ominous thing about our future."

Korpi's artwork was used in a FreeStyle diabetes commercial in which the "artist" is painting a nature scene that was actually being painted by Korpi.

Korpi can also be found in the special issue magazines on TV shows that changed our lives. He was on the inaugural season of MTV's "Real World." The award-winning movie "The Wedding Video," which he shot with former "Real World" cast members, was just released on iTunes.com.

Me in L.A., my man in MN

"I tell you the gossip columnist from Minneapolis is in my den and you want to come over? OK, come on," said Janet Charlton, the longtime Hollywood gossip columnist.

This was my introduction to Norman Korpi. I was in L.A. for the shooting of Minnesotan Brittani Senser's music video co-starring Levi Johnston, he of Bristol/Sarah Palin fame. Janet, who writes janetcharltonshollywood.com, had just given me a tour of her mid-20th century home, which will soon be seen in a More magazine spread.

She mentioned that an artist lived in the guest quarters. The artist himself heard us outside his apartment, called Janet, and soon we were having a Minnesota moment.

"I have a good friend in Minneapolis," Korpi said urgently. "His name was in the newspaper and now I can't seem to get him on the phone."

What's his name?

"Esera," said Korpi....That's enough info. There's only one of those around.

Had to be Esera Tuaolo, the former Viking I'd written about when he had a brush with the law because of a scrape with his new boyfriend.

Korpi and Tuaolo met about 10 years ago at a fundraiser for the Trevor Project. They discovered that Tuaolo's former partner and Korpi's parents owned property near each other in northern Wisconsin. I rang up Tuaolo, left a message, and he instantly returned the call to find out what I was doing in L.A. with Korpi.

Say cheese, Brett

KFAN's Dan Barreiro has dubbed Brett Favre "The Baby Cheesus."

This would be a hybrid of Cheese and Jesus, fitting for the Vikings QB making his final trip to play his former team, the Packers, in Cheese Country. Barreiro is probably too busy tweeting to respond to my question regarding the correct spelling of Cheesus. I'm sure this honorific is praise, since the KFANer recently explained that his references to Twins player Joe Mauer as "The Baby Jesus" were intended as a compliment.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.

  • DISHIN'

    Target Field's Kirby Puckett statue is being called "Tonya's Revenge" because she signed off on a sculpture that doesn't resemble her estranged husband, so future generations will have no idea what he looked like.

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