In Focus: “The Peculiar Painter” Brings Art From Around The World To Walker
“Someone once described me as a little odd but all painters are, she said, and I thought, ‘peculiar painter’ because all painters are a little odd,” says Jessie Stolzman, owner of The Peculiar Painter in Walker.
Stolzman’s shop doubles as a gallery and an art supply store. She first opened nearly five years ago in Walker.
“I moved here from Idaho. I sold my house and wanted to try having my own business. I was actually looking into starting a coffee shop in Montana, but my family is from this area,” says Stolzman.
Stolzman herself is an artist who started painting when she was around 13 years old. She uses her maiden name, Townsdin, on all of her work.
“I like abstract, figurative. I have a style called modern Scandinavian – and I have some around the store – but it’s kind of an elongated, exaggerated whimsical style with bright colors.”
What’s unique about The Peculiar Painter is all the different types of artwork you can find from Minnesota and all over the world. Stolzman says she likes to know who exactly are the artist featured in her gallery.
“Pottery, candle holders, jewelry, scarves, and they come from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, some Finland hand-blown glass, but then there’s a lot of independent local artists, too,” says Stolzman.
The Peculiar Painter is the Walker hub for a variety of different artists. There’s 12 different Scandinavian importers, six potters, and six painters and five jewelers with Minnesota ties.
“One of our best-loved artists is Monica Hansmeyer from Turtle River, just north of Bemidji. So I’ve got her necklaces, earrings, some bracelets,” says Stolzman. “Christina Holland is another favorite. She is a Bemidji native. She lives in Arizona now, but I have a lot of her work.”
She’s limited on space right now, but when it comes to finding work to fill the gallery, Stolzman says she finds her artists in a lot of peculiar ways, whether it’s at a fair, through an email, or just walking into the shop.
Stolzman says, “Some people have stopped into the store and just told me a little bit about their artwork, and then I’ll invite them to bring some pieces in. Like Linda Holliday, the potter, she said, ‘Do you have any Minnesota pottery,’ and I said, ‘No, but I’d like too,’ and she said, ‘Well, I’m a potter!’”
The Peculiar Painter is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:30 to 4:30. It’s located right next to the American Legion in Walker.