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Famous: An agency within an agency

This summer’s Famous team produced marketing materials for various clients in the Sioux Falls area. They also organized Field Trip, Ipso Gallery‘s first socially-distanced exhibition, and assembled a limited edition kit containing fun delights, coupons, and maps that lead viewers on an unexpected journey to pick up various items at some of our favorite places in Sioux Falls. 

What did you look forward to doing/learning as a Famous intern?

Rachel Ehlers: The thing I looked forward to the most about being a Famous intern this summer was the idea that I got to handle the team’s clients. As the Account Service intern, I was excited to be able to take the lead on communications with clients and create a relationship with them throughout the process.

Huong Nguyen: I would say the whole creative process. As an intern, we didn’t expect to see the assembly lines of production. At Fresh Produce, the first thing we would learn is how to turn a few notes into strategically unique and creative works. I was also so excited to be the first-ever fourth Famous intern in the past 10 years.

Austin Miller: I looked forward to collaborating with the other Famous interns and making memorable campaigns for our clients. I had never worked in an agency before this summer, so I was excited to learn the ropes of the agency life.

Rachel Harmon: I looked forward to working with the crew and learning from creative powerhouses. I also looked forward to seeing projects completed and having a final product to show from it.

Did the internship give you a better idea of what you want to do after graduation?

RE: This internship really solidified for me that I was heading in the right direction. Famous really rekindled my desire to succeed in the advertising world and got me jazzed up about heading into my master’s program!

HN: YESS! Famous got me excited about the future in the marketing/advertising world. I felt inspired by how the Fresh Produce staff leads their own life besides the office work. I could easily name a few here: Angela is releasing her second No Business Magazine, Michael is in a really cool band called Tenenbaums, Bailey has her new earring business, Pish Posh Goods, etc. Fresh Produce gave me the confidence to start my own YouTube channel & blog (coming soon!).

AM: Famous was fun because I was able to wear many hats. Although my position was the writer, I did so many other things on a day-to-day basis. If anything, this internship informed me that I work best in an environment where my role changes frequently. Advertising is an ever-changing business, so I think I can see myself doing it for a long time.

RH: Yes, I know that I want to work at an agency like FP, which values creatives and their process. The feel of working in a not too small agency is nice, everyone still has their roles, but you get the chance to explore.

What project did you really enjoy working on?

RE: My favorite project throughout the summer was Hayes Davis Remodeling. Hayes was easy to communicate with and really gave us a lot of creative freedom to define his brand. In the end, we created a name, logo, and a few extras that really resonated with his personality and business. I loved the final products!

HN: Affordable Moving was a lovely project. We got to design their direct mailers and later the truck wrap. You might be able to see our design moving around the city.

AM: Affordable Moving was my favorite project. Jess and Nate put a lot of trust in us, and as interns, that felt good. Rachel H and I were able to provide them with a cornucopia of delightful ideas for the direct mail campaign and their truck wrap.

RH: My favorite project was Field Trip. We went on a lot of intuition to make the gallery show experience. It was the most hands-on because we actually got to bind the kits and put them all together.

What aspect/s of projects challenged you most?

RE: The aspect that challenged me the most was when the client’s plans/events were either changed or canceled due to the pandemic. There was a lot of uncertainty this summer for everyone, and it was a slight letdown when projects had to be put on hold.

HN: The most challenging part of the projects, for me, was completing my parts the best way possible and trusting my teammates to do the same. There is always a fine line between creativity and strategy, and I have to balance that out.

AM: I think that the toughest part of our projects was communication. We did all of our presentations online and were restricted to email and phone calls when we wanted to talk to clients. We all had to learn how to send effective emails and make the most of the times we spent “face to face” on Zoom.

RH: The first project we worked on challenged me the most. We were all still learning the process and trying to tackle working together too.

“This is an amazing opportunity, better than the majority of regular internships, and you should apply even if you don’t think you’re good enough.”

Any advice for future applicants?

RE: My advice for future applicants is to not to be afraid to apply! Even if you feel as if you do not have enough ‘relevant’ experience to get in, go through the application process anyway. Having a passion for the industry and a strong work ethic can get you farther than you think.

HN: Prepare yourself for the interview but don’t over-prepare. Fresh Produce wants to get to know you. Feel free to share your extraordinary hobbies or inspiration. Always remember “come with a reason and leave with a reason to come back.”

AM: I think the only advice I have is to be yourself and to have fun.

RH: This is an amazing opportunity, better than the majority of regular internships, and you should apply even if you don’t think you’re good enough.

Anything else you want to add?

HN: Learn to brew coffee if you’re a coffeeholic. I spent $$ at coffee stores this summer. The Source is a three-minute walk away. Believe me: it’s really tempting.

AM: Ask Katrina how to use the coffeemaker so that you don’t spill coffee all over the kitchen.

RH: We had a safe, fun internship during a pandemic. Imagine your experience when we hopefully aren’t in a pandemic.

Any inquiries about the Famous internship program at Fresh Produce can be sent to famous@pickfresh.com

Read more about Famous:

Famous: A Summer of Firsts

This summer, we welcomed our 12th intern team and embraced an experience that brought a handful of firsts. From video conferencing to remote work and organizing Ipso’s first socially-distanced show, Famous wrapped up their summer with diverse clients and projects that helped them exercise their copywriting, design, research, and project management skills.

What got you interested in the Famous internship?

Rachel Ehlers: What got me interested in the Famous internship initially was the ‘agency within an agency’ idea. Fresh Produce is also known for having one of the hardest application processes to secure an internship. The initial challenge of getting my foot in the door along with the trust that I knew would be placed in me once I got here is what really piqued my interest.

Huong Nguyen: My interview with Mike and Ted was my first time being in the Fresh Produce office. I was truly impressed by the open, creative, and interactive space that integrated both an art gallery and working desks. The interview was also so exciting: Ted pulled out his deck of cards and asked me to pick 3, just like a Tarot reader. I remember being asked what my creative inspiration was, and I said Durex Condom marketing promotion. 😂

Austin Miller: I was interested in doing an internship in advertising. The internship positions at Fresh Produce piqued my interest. I saw that they had an art gallery which told me that they invest in creative freedom. More than anything, I think that I was intrigued by how they did business. I wanted to avoid being an intern that works in a cubicle and gets coffee for people. I wanted to create something every day and get better at advertising.

Rachel Harmon: I got interested in Famous during my sophomore year when Fresh Produce employees visited SDSU and walked us through what a project at FP looks like. I was ambitious and applied for the experience. When I didn’t get it, I worked harder in my junior year and made it my goal to get an internship somewhere in Sioux Falls. During my junior year, I was still drawn to FP as a company. At student day we got a tour and I once again fell in love with the atmosphere FP has created for itself. I decided to apply again and here we are.

What skill/s did you strengthen this summer?

RE: One skill I strengthened during this internship was my technology communication skills. This year was different from others, with most of the crew working from home and not being able to bring clients into the Fresh Produce space. This provided ample opportunity to strengthen my technology etiquette and my ability to adapt to other preferred methods of communications.

HN: On my first interview with Mike and Ted, I told them one of my goals was to become a better presenter. Though there’s still room for a lot of improvement, I have definitely bettered myself at presenting and communicating ideas. I’m really grateful that Fresh Produce always gave consideration to my goal. Mike and Katrina gave me a lot of opportunities and encouragement to present ideas and projects to the team and clients.

AM: I had to prepare numerous ideas for each of our clients, so I had to sharpen my creative process. Because I was putting out so much content, my writing skills improved drastically. I also learned how to manage my time, craft quality presentations, meet deadlines with ease, and communicate with artists and account managers.

RH: My ability to communicate, to think quickly, and meet deadlines has improved. I also think my ability to critique my work increased since we were working remotely from each other.

“Whether it was working from home, communicating over technology, or client’s plans changing, this summer was a great reminder to make the most of what you are given.”

How was your Ipso Gallery experience? What was it like to help with an art exhibition?

RE: My Ipso Gallery experience was great! With slowing the spread of Covid-19 being a large concern, our team had to plan out how to still give the Ipso feel, while not inviting people into the gallery space. This resulted in the Famous crew getting to add a lot of very different and unique components to our art show. It was exciting to dream up something new and bring it to Ipso, Fresh Produce, and Sioux Falls. 😊

HN: The Ipso show (Field Trip) was one of my favorite experiences. To get inspired for the show, we had a field trip to some toy stores in town and to the Washington Pavilion for an art gallery show. I had such a fun time doing all the first-time things: writing, video scriptwriting, filming, etc., We were so ecstatic to see how excited people were to see our final kit boxes with all the delightful items from artists and the zine we designed inside.

AM: Planning the Ipso show was loads of fun. Early in the brainstorming process, we decided to go on an adventure to some local toy stores to get some ideas for the show. That was the first time I had been in a toy store in probably a decade. We did everything we could to bring in new ideas for Field Trip, and I think we created something special. Year after year, the bar continues to be set higher for Ipso, and it pushed us to create something new and offbeat. We didn’t have a blueprint for how to plan an art show over Zoom, so it was challenging at times, but it was something that I’ll never forget.

RH: This was an all hands on deck project. Since this show was about the experience of an art gallery, a lot went into creating elements for guests to use. It is cheesy, but everything was thought out in detail and put together with love and care.

RH: I learned how to overcome challenges with working remotely and how to communicate through them.

The crew created a COVID time capsule with items that represented our summer in quarantine. What item did you add to the capsule and why?

RE: The item that I added to the COVID time capsule was the mask that was provided on the first day of the Famous internship. All the interns were thrilled that Fresh Produce opted to keep their internship this summer despite other agencies letting theirs go. In preparation for us to come into the office and work, hand sanitizer and a face mask were set out on my desk upon arrival. Having a cloth mask of my own, I had never opened the mask package, and what better item to sum up a summer internship in a pandemic than a mask!

HN: I put my AirPod case in the time capsule. This summer, I enjoyed tons of different songs that I had never listened to before. On our day being the only four people in the office, we turned Fresh Produce into a Famous hub and played music.

AM: My item was a red pen and a yellow sticky note. I started taking notes with these whenever I was in meetings, and when I was bored, I would sketch things and post them on the chalkboard next to my desk. It seemed like a good thing to remember, so I put it in the box.

RH: I put in a shell. I wrote an absolute knee-slapper joke on it that read: “SHELL I TELL YOU A SEA-CRET”.

What was your biggest takeaway from the summer?

RE: One of my biggest takeaways of the summer was being reminded to control the things I could control and just roll with the things I could not. Whether it was working from home, communicating over technology, or client’s plans changing, this summer was a great reminder to make the most of what you are given.

HN: My two biggest takeaways were inspired by Fresh Produce’s old saying, “Live an Interesting Life.” You only live once so do things you love and enjoy your life. When you’re happy, your work is best fulfilled.

AM: My biggest takeaway is that writing a good ad takes many hours to master. I’ve heard that 10,000 hours is the barrier to becoming an expert at something. During the summer, I spent 400 hours working, and probably 100 of those were spent on writing. Those 100 hours are 1% of 10,000; in other words, I’m still a complete and utter novice at this.

RH: I learned how to overcome challenges with working remotely and how to communicate through them.

Any inquiries about the Famous internship program at Fresh Produce can be sent to famous@pickfresh.com

Read more about Famous:

How to Field Trip in three easy steps

Ipso’s summer exhibition Field Trip opens this week. Ipso Gallery at Fresh Produce has been a great way for us to invite the community into our space in downtown Sioux Falls. This summer, our invitation looks a little different. We came up with the idea of Field Trip late spring, thinking of creative ways to continue showcasing artists in our space while celebrating all the things we love about Ipso receptions. With the help of four artists (Luke Bryant, Amy Jarding, Erin Murtha, and Eli Show) and the Famous intern crew, we put together Field Trip—Ipso’s first official socially-distanced exhibit with four distinct art installations displayed at windows around our space. And the best bonus: it also comes with a limited edition kit to guide your art-viewing! Field trip is our attempt at bringing an Ipso experience we’ve all come to love and miss so much.

So here’s how to join in on some clean, safe delightful art adventure (aka artventure) in three easy steps:

  1. During the week of August 10-14, stop by Ipso Gallery at Fresh Produce to pick up a limited edition Field Trip kit, which includes a guide to take you on an adventure around downtown Sioux Falls to visit and collect treats at a few of our favorite local businesses who support Ipso gallery openings.
  2. Visit recommended stops on your Field Trip adventure and use your coupons in the kit to get an additional treat! Scribble things into your Field Trip guide as you wish.
  3. On Friday, August 14, walk around the Fresh Produce/Ipso Gallery space at 400 N Main Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls to see four unique art installations. Refer to your Field Trip guide to learn more about the artists.

!!!Extra!!! Take photos during your Field Trip and send them our way. We’d love to see how you went about your art outing while celebrating local businesses!

Follow Ipso Gallery at Fresh Produce (@ipsogallery) on Instagram and Facebook.

Everything connects to ideas

The process of curation for shows at Ipso Gallery usually starts with an idea or a concept, if not an artist/s we’re really curious about. Then comes the process of determining if it will be a solo, two-person, three-person, or group show. We often think about how we can involve artists in different layers of the show (some good examples below) and how we can have the Ipso patrons participate in the larger concept of the show. Every show at Ipso Gallery is a celebration of an idea and everything that grows from it. It lifts up the process as much as the final result.

White Ribbon
Ipso Gallery came about because of Fresh Produce’s love for art and creativity. There was no real strategy at the time for what it’d be or grow into. The team knew that they wanted a space to showcase creative ideas and be surrounded by art. Most Ipso exhibitions are inspired by people and concepts we love. Last August, the Fresh Produce team entered artworks (and cookies) to compete at the arts pavilion at the Sioux Empire Fair. We loved the idea of how art is embedded into something people don’t necessarily associate with “capital-A” Art. White Ribbon was a celebration of art-making, however it presents itself. So we made up a bunch of categories artists could enter works into, and every artist received a white ribbon for being a part of the show. But, of course, we also had a few special ribbons and a pie contest. White Ribbon was one of our most heavily themed shows, and it was all coordinated by our Famous interns–including the cotton candy and popcorn machines.

Cake Parade
Memory, folk traditions, and our love for cake have manifested themselves in different ways at Ipso. The team at Fresh Produce and Ipso who’ve grown up in rural South Dakota have fond memories of attending county fair and church events that centered around eating a variety of cakes followed by a chance to take home a whole cake. We tried to think of a concept that would capture these memories and present it as an Ipso show. We loved the idea of capturing an art practice through baking. Baking is process-heavy and rooted in precision. It also embodies different textures and tastes, but somehow baking is as fluid of a practice as an artist’s. It took us a few years to land on the logistics of what became Cake Parade in November 2018. We paired up five bakers and five artists to meet up and share their passion for art and cake making. This resulted in five cakes to share with patrons on opening night, five original works of art inspired by the artist-baker pairing, and five cakes to take home.

Ka-Chunk was our most ambitious show to date. We wanted to highlight that the act of collecting art can start in a small way. During Ka-Chunk’s opening, we had nearly 350 original artworks share the Ipso floor for a one night only art vending event. We invited four regional artists to make their artistic interpretation of a vending machine that could house multiple 4×4″ artworks. No other stipulations. The smaller works were made by 30+ artists, with every artist contributing ten pieces each for the artist-made machines. Patrons were invited to take home their original artworks with the purchase of a $5 token. All works sold within 45 minutes of the opening.

Mystic October
Not too long ago, we added a fifth show to our annual line-up of exhibitions. Our annual Mystic October series might be the only one that’s themed, in that it recognizes bodies of work by an artist that invites us to explore its mystical, mysterious qualities a little deeper. These works often conjure feelings of interacting with the unfamiliar — in process, practice, medium, or subject matter. Our first two Mystic October shows presented photographs by Jim Groth (Bertha), and sculptural assemblages by John Banasiak (Realia).

That’s Interesting
For Ipso Gallery, the beauty in interacting with art is the opportunity, in equal measure, to see an artist’s process and practice, and the final artwork. This idea has led Ipso to curate a number of shows that dive into process. One of these was That’s Interesting, in the winter of 2016. The show opened during a season where people in the region seek hermitage in their homes, often times feeling a lull in “inspiration” or even the outside stimuli needed to make art. That’s Interesting brought together a dozen individuals and their collections of things that inspired them in different ways as writers, artists, musicians, collectors, archivists, and educators. It was an exercise in creative reverse engineering, visually articulating an artist’s early process and putting it on display.

[August Ipso Shows]
Ipso usually presents four to five shows every year. The ones in August are a little bit more special as we get to see the Fresh Produce summer interns concept, design, and write copy for all the promotional materials associated with Ipso. It becomes a celebration of the work they’ve done through the internship as well as an opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the culture of Fresh Produce and Ipso Gallery. Like most projects, the Famous crew comes up with the creative direction for art and copy for the August Ipso show, giving them room to decide on the plan for the opening reception, including food, interactive materials, other collateral, and merch. They also get a chance to work closely with local and regional artists, and get a peek at a different creative process than their own.

Merch Tent
The act of collaboration is at the heart of a lot of Ipso shows. Merch Tent was an amalgamation of the team’s interests in the local music and art scenes at the time. This show brought together 10 artists and 10 musicians/bands to produce a limited run vinyl record called Sounds of the Colony. This project gave us a chance to be facilitators in creating a special vinyl as well as a series of ten custom screenprinted covers pulled by artists. We love the idea of sharing what we love and things we’re passionate about — something we believe leads to people having genuine, authentic experiences with Ipso.

Drawntown Sioux Falls
DrawnTown Sioux Falls was a monthly gathering of creative minds before it became the root idea for an Ipso show. It started with a few creatives with pencils in a park and grew to include all types of visual arts, audio production, and creative writing. Ipso hosted an exhibition of works created at eight DrTSF events for this 2010 show. The space was transformed into a sketchpad of thoughts, doodles, and sounds. The idea of creatives casually gathering and making work has now grown into events like AIGA South Dakota’s Drink & Draw.

Exploring Place and Space / Familiar and Unfamiliar

Magical Adventure is a ten-year celebration of Ipso Gallery, but it’s also a celebration of the gallery’s decade long artist residencies of Liz Heeren and Mary Groth. This powerhouse mother-daughter duo have called the two studios in the downtown art space at Fresh Produce their home since Ipso opened its doors in the spring of 2009. It seems apt that the crew at Fresh Produce (myself included) saw them as a perfect pairing to bring back as the tenth anniversary show.

Mary Groth and Liz Heeren have a long shared history as two women artists living in South Dakota, as two artists who share a similar space and community, and as a mother and daughter. But with these shared stories and experiences, it’s interesting to see how uniquely different they are as artists.

Mary grew up in Aberdeen, South Dakota, spending a number of years there raising her two children, painting, and working as an artist through it all. Her experiences in rural South Dakota, her Scandinavian heritage, and motherhood have influenced her work since the beginning of her career. Best known for her prairie scenes, Mary has a signature style of capturing tender moments of care and friendship — encapsulating a sense of place and its people.

Liz grew up in Aberdeen, South Dakota, spending a number of years pursuing art education outside the state, then coming back to raise a family. She has painted and worked as an artist and art educator through it all. Her experiences in studying biology and art, and motherhood have influenced her work. Best known for her seamless combination of abstractions and realist elements, Liz has a signature style of capturing the innate beauty in colors and objects — encapsulating a sense of space and time within it.

Drawing influence from life and personal experiences isn’t always the familiar thing to do. As artists, it can often be a way to navigate the unfamiliar of what life throws at you. Liz and Mary use their medium as a tool of investigation, diligently exploring whatever ideas pique their interests.

The significance of art by women artists is often diminished when it represents motherhood, mothering bodies/action, womanhood, softness, or delicate/emotional environments. The case for women practicing more craft-based mediums, folk, or indigenous arts seem to be in the same realm. This terrain is something both Liz and Mary travel, out of their own volition or through implied/imposed choice.

Since the beginning of their art practices, Mary and Liz have been made acutely aware of their subject matter and the well of influence they draw from.

Mary is an artist who represented life on the prairie, often times highlighting rural family life and relationships between women. There’s a softness to her work, in execution/physicality but also in the idea of expressing these deeper delicate relationships based on lineage, heritage, and nature. Her bodies of work, in the 40-some years she has actively been an artist and mother, have a very strong element of storytelling that draws in a range of viewers. She portrays stories of resilience in her works, and also exemplifies that story herself by being a full-time artist living in South Dakota.

Mary’s practice can be perceived as one of a documentarian. She borrows from her lived experience, as well as from shared stories of the prairie. There is something extremely distinctive in the way she presents these lived/shared scenes — there’s patience, tenderness, and care in her works. There’s a sense of slowing down and enjoying those special, emotional moments. Her artistic style strongly contributes to communicating the time and place of these stories, the passage of these moments — things that are fleeting — and encouraging viewers to take time soaking in our own experiences.

Liz has exhibited at a number of spaces and institutes, but in this instance it’s interesting to see the link between her work from her first Ipso Gallery showing and her current series at Magical Adventure ten years on. When looking back at the inaugural Ipso exhibition, Liz says that it seemed like a preemptive, unconscious lean towards becoming a mother to a boy extremely inventive and curious about outer space. These older works started her initial investigation into a multiverse, where spaces collapsed showcasing elements from this world and beyond.

She draws heavily from nature and interactions of elements around us — both rooted in her love for biology, and science as a whole. Her previous works seem to feature more technical subjects–things that were three-dimensional and contoured–but it evolved into more flat graphics which now have taken the form of otherworldly, multi-dimensional abstracted landscapes. These newer works express a sense of ongoing investigation. Her abstractions show the idea in process, challenging the perception of fact and fiction. There’s a search to sync up with the unfamiliar. In this case, unfamiliar being the desire to understand the everyday thought-process and interests of an eight-year-old.

Drawing from life and the everyday manifests itself in so many different ways. Either as stories and moments passed on through generations, or through untold experiences and unique connections. Artists Mary Groth and Liz Heeren delve in human connection, either through their own lives or a collective experience. They are storytellers and resilient explorers/documentarians of the human experience, and they use strong technical, artistic vision to present these moments in very realistic, sometimes mystical, and abstract ways.

This whole body of work that I’m working on is an effort to move into the state of mind that I observe in my son. I feel like this has been lost (in me) through years of education and a practical lifestyle. He’s so scientifically aware and capable of articulating very complex scientific ideas. I see him flip that into fiction very quickly, without any effort to disguise it. It’s that reversal of information and that ability in his mind to accept more than one reality of how these facts can work into his own creative concepts. I love that. I’m trying to find that space in my own work right now. This is my attempt to kind of play with understanding life from more than one perspective and to kind of pioneer in my very adult way. I don’t know what’s going to happen with my work right now, but I like this space.

My newest idea is called ‘Wonderment.’ It involves my grandson, which is a big new thing for me…to have grandchildren and I love it. So I’m trying to work him into this piece about his own imagination. Family kind of permeates everything I’ve done. It informs something in my art all along, somewhere. My work is very much about human connection. Always has been. So, my connection to my children, my friends, husbands has always shown up in my work. It’s always had an emotional content. My heart is in representing connections between human beings.

Magical Adventure is on view at Ipso Gallery till the end of January, 2020. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.