Podcast #114: Painting Suburbia with Carolyn Swiszcz

Carolyn Swiszcz is one of my favorite local artists, a painter, printmaker, and visual artist who works a lot in some of my favorite slash least favorite landscapes: post-war suburbia.

I first came across Carolyn a short musical video she made about West Saint Paul Minnesota, a first-ring suburb near where I grew up. As she explains in our chat, Swiszcz made the piece for an exhibition at the Walker about suburban landscapes, and it was so catchy that it went somewhat viral.

Only after that did I start to learn about Carolyn’s amazing paintings of strip malls, parking lots, brutalist or mundane architecture, and other scenes of everyday life in modern America. Carolyn’s portfolio features amazing almost pop paintings of such landscapes as a Petsmart strip mall, the old Metrodome, the 3M Corporate Headquarters, and the Old Mexico restaurant in Roseville.

I saw her work recently at an exhibit this spring at the Highpoint Center for the Arts in Uptown, and later reached out to Carolyn to chat about her work and her relation to the urban landscape. We had a nice chat about design, Minnesota, and the mixed appeal of strip mall parking lot paintings. I hope you enjoy this conversation with a wonderfully talented Minnesota artist.

The podcast is sponsored by Nate Pentz, so thanks to him!

Nate Pentz is realtor with Pentz Homes at Keller Williams Classic Realty NW. You can start your own home search at pentzhomes.com and if you have any questions about the buying or selling process shoot him a message at nate@pentzhomes.co or call 612.308.1122.


[Some of my favorite of Carolyn Swiszcz’s paintings follow.]



Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.