The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 11, 2012

Flat chance: Le Sueur artist doesn't like making flat art -- but it sure looks good on album covers

— Gregory Euclide has little interest in making flat art.

Though sketches, drawings and paintings all figure in his creations, such compositions comprise only a portion of the three-dimensional landscapes he creates from artificial and organic sources. The Le Sueur resident whose lush, yet strangely foreboding dioramas have been featured in galleries across the United States very purposefully avoids flat surfaces because he wants viewers to “have a relationship with my artwork that is similar to their relationship with the world.”

Confining landscapes to a flat surface, he posits, is tantamount to divorcing the mind from its body.

“It’s the No. 1 reason I stopped making flat artwork,” he said.

Yet, here he is, on the precipice of notoriety for another piece of flat artwork.

In February, Euclide enjoyed a fresh heaping of accolades when Justin Vernon’s indie-folk band, Bon Iver, won a Grammy for its studio album “Bon Iver, Bon Iver.” Euclide’s artwork graced the cover, adding a heavy measure of pop culture credibility to an already robust artistic resume.

After music fans got a glimpse of Euclide’s art on the Bon Iver album, he received nearly 100 more inquiries from artists wanting similar treatment. However, Euclide -- who accepted Vernon’s request because of a long story that involves mutual friends and mutual appreciation for art -- declined them all.

That is, until he was approached by the Minnesota Beatle Project to design the fourth installment of its series of Beatles cover songs crafted by Minnesota musicians.

“I didn’t want to do any more covers unless I felt strongly about the cause and the music,” said Euclide, himself a college and public school art instructor who supports the Beatle Project’s mission of using sales proceeds to fund music education programs in Minnesota schools. “I felt strongly about this one.”

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