Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ghosts in the goodbye sky

Lindsey Treffry, Inland360

Kristin Carlson Becker built her downtown Moscow in three weeks.

She poured her foundation after assisting in a lesson at Palouse Prairie School, and hammered the framing after viewing old photos of buildings. Walls and insulation grew higher after she drew more than 12 buildings. She built a still incomplete downtown through screen printing, which included her representations of the Moscow Hotel, the Moscow National Bank Building and more.
Becker's drawing of the Moscow Hotel shows a contrasted light white and blue above the building to show what once stood years ago.

Becker’s collection, “Good(bye) Buildings,” is a series of screen prints and postcards spurred by her love of architecture. After helping complete an art and history project last year with Lizzie Bromley-Vogel’s first grade class, Becker was inspired to create a collection of art that featured local buildings as they stand now, with a tinge of their past.

Becker puts her own twist on buildings, and emphasizes the part that she enjoys.

“I’m attracted to color and I’m attracted to typography,” said Becker, who took the liberty to enlarge the “Drugs” sign on the Hodgins Drug Store building.

For her adaptation of the Holt Block and Casa Lopez building, the right-handed artist decided to draw left-handed and use only two colors. The McConnell building doesn’t have “Mingles” written on it, but you’ll find an image of a shark holding a pool stick on a ground-level window.

Kristin Carlson Becker's "Good(bye) Buildings" Moscow artwork is on display in the Moscow Yoga Center, as seen Aug. 8.
Playing with history, Becker’s Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre print is half black and white and half green, to compare the old brick with the current tile siding. Her Storm Cellar corner has a historical light-blue gas station in the sky above the building as it stands now.
Becker received an undergraduate degree in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, where the state’s old architecture and decay caught her eye.

Becker said the dilapidation of a building can be the most beautiful part.

“Overall, it’s better if they’re rehabilitated … but making the prints is a way for me to preserve that presentation,” Becker said.

Becker went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts in printmaking at Indiana University, which led her to draw, stencil and then screen print not only Moscow buildings, but ones in both Rhode Island and Indiana.
“I work from drawing on semi-transparent paper — a frosted acetate,” said Becker, who moved to Moscow about three years ago with her husband and now teaches as a Washington State University adjunct professor.

Becker moved to Moscow without ever having seen the town.

“I was looking for the most iconic, funny and unusual thing,” said Becker, who found the City of Moscow Water Department Building to be just that.

She drew the water building. Then, after the first grade class project, and in preparation for the Moscow ArtWalk, Becker branched out to draw and print the other Moscow buildings in three weeks.

“I have to live in a place for a while before I want to make a place,” Becker said. “I have to build a relationship with the buildings over time.”

Most of her prints are about 11-by-14 inches. Some of her prints are the size of a postcard — more for collecting than sending, Becker said.

Becker’s artwork is on the walls of a Moscow Yoga Center hallway, in correlation with the buildings’ locations on Main Street. Some of the artwork done by Palouse Prairie students is displayed, too. To view her artwork, visit or, or visit the Moscow Yoga Center during operating hours. To purchase her artwork, visit

As seen in the Aug. 15 issue of Inland 360.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dunn with the duo, ready to solo

Lindsey Treffry,

Brooks & Dunn have long since parted, yet Ronnie Dunn has found himself stuck in the past.

Ronnie Dunn will perform Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Clearwater River Casino Event Center.
After pressure to come out with a solo record during a 2011 tour, Dunn said he entered the performing world without Kix Brooks and no one knew who he was.
Going from a duo to solo act wasn’t as easy as he had thought it would be.

Dunn had booked a show through a top U.S. radio consultant to play in Baltimore.

“I was shocked when I got there,” the country musician said. “People didn’t know who I was until I started singing a Brooks & Dunn song.”

“What I had to do if I was going to pull it off was to take the mindset,” he said, that he would have had if he was starting from scratch.

His first album, “Ronnie Dunn,” came out June 7, 2011, via Sony’s Arista Nashville label. After leaving his deal at the Sony record label in June 2012, Dunn stepped up as a record executive for his own label, Little Will-E Records. He is planning to release his second solo album “Country This” in November.

Praise for singles from that new album is strong, with the lead single “Kiss You There” as the highest testing song on Sirius XM Radio.

“I just got an email today that it made the Top 10 USA Today top tracks right behind Pitbull,” Dunn said on July 31.

Although Dunn said it’s been difficult to market himself as “Ronnie Dunn” and not “Dunn from Brooks & Dunn,” his first solo album while at Sony still had many successes.

“Bleed Red” reached into the Top 10 on the country charts, before Dunn said his team decided to pull it from the radio.

“We reached our goal and decided not to push our luck with radio … and then move forward with ‘Cost of Livin’,’” Dunn said.

Dunn said the reception to “Cost of Livin’” threw him a for curve.

“‘Cost of Livin’’ ended up with two Grammy nominations,” said Dunn, who co-wrote the song about an ex-military man looking for work.

Dunn has also recorded for Sammy Hagar, toured with ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones, and collaborated with artists such as Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Reba McEntire.

“We’re just going to stay under the radar, play smaller fun venues, do this campaign, put a second record together,” Dunn said. “It took a year and half to wind down the Sony thing and get free of that, regroup and come back out. It’s the first attempt to stage that comeback.”

And Dunn said he looks forward to performing at the Clearwater River Casino Event Center in Lewiston, where he has never traveled.

He said he will play music off his two solo albums and some Brooks & Dunn hits, as well as lesser known Brooks & Dunn music.

“It’s a full-blown show, it’s the whole deal, it’s the whole shebang,” Dunn said.

Dunn will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15. General admission tickets are $25, while reserved tickets are $40, $60 and $75. Tickets can be purchased at the Event Center box office, online at or by calling (800) 325-SEAT.

As seen in the Aug. 8 issue of Inland 360.