Starting out shooting film and developing it in a dark room at the young age of 8, Lynn Fundingsland’s main artistic craft is photography. Painting has been a new adventure.
Opening a yellow tackle box full of acrylic paints, Lynn Fundingsland pulls out a few colors and gets to work on a canvas he’s already sketched out.
“I love sailing, but fishing… I used to fish — I don’t anymore,” he says.
Starting out shooting film and developing it in a dark room at the young age of 8, Fundingsland’s main artistic craft is photography; he made a promise to himself many years ago to take at least one photo every day.
Painting has been a new adventure.
As he blocks in red, yellow and blue into the abstract road map of his piece, the storied artist discusses his foundational experiences with photography, recent sailing adventures and where to find his work around Fargo-Moorhead.
Now on display in the pop-up gallery at Gallery 4 on Roberts Street in downtown Fargo, Fundingsland’s photographs capture a range of subjects, from his travels around the country to his own little piece of heaven on the lake where he’s spent much of his time since retiring as director of the Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority in 2017.
“This is not what I envisioned, but something’s happening here I guess,” Fundingsland says about the painting unfolding before him.
Well-known local artist Lynn Fundingsland will have a pop-up gallery for his photography inside Gallery 4 during the month of September.
The gallery is open Monday thru Saturday 10-5:30
115 Roberts St. N.#popup #popupgallery #fundingsland #gallery4 #downtownfargo #photography pic.twitter.com/cAd1bo87cP
— Gallery 4 Fargo (@Gallery4Fargo) August 31, 2020
In his white painter’s overcoat, he swishes a brush in water and adds some black, looking patiently at the painting through round frames.
Fundingsland grew up in Minot, N.D., where he first discovered his love for photography through the lens of a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, shooting his friends, parents and dog.
It wasn’t until his time in the service with the United States Marine Corp that he started taking his photos seriously.
“I was in Vietnam when I got my first good Nikon,” he recalls.
“I took quite a bit of pictures over there but where we lived was burned down in an artillery attack. My camera was gone, all my film — at that point I had been there about eight or nine months — all that was gone,” Fundingsland says.
Now with over 50 years of photography experience, he recalls his time working for the Minot Daily Newspaper as a formative moment in developing his skills.
“When I worked for a newspaper, it was great because I’d shoot, shoot, shoot in the morning and then the same day I would process and print,” he says.
Today, Fundingsland’s work has been featured in group and one-person shows at various venues ranging from the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, to the Plains Art Museum in Fargo and the Rourke Art Gallery + Museum in Moorhead.
With more time to focus on creative endeavors following his retirement, Fundingsland has been exploring new media like acrylics and will be showing his work on canvas for the first time publicly in a show at Atomic Coffee in downtown Fargo later this year.
He also has time to take trips to new and exciting places.
“In March, I went on a 10-day sailing trip to the Sea of Cortez, the long peninsula off the coast of California, and we saw hundreds of whales and dolphins,” he says. “One day we were in our little dinghy and this mother whale pushed her calf up to our boat, so I touched this wild whale. It was like velvet.”
As they sailed the Sea of Cortez on the Westward, an 84-foot-long boat built in 1932, COVID-19 began to spread throughout the world. With hesitation, Fundingsland traveled back through the hub of transportation — LAX — at the end of their trip and back to the Midwest to wait out the pandemic on his own sailboat.
Still true today despite the circumstances, Fundingsland is quoted as saying “I’m going to the lake on Saturday,” in a November 2017 article in The Forum the day before retiring from his work with the housing authority.
That’s where you might find him today, with a camera in his hand or sketching out his next painting.
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and appeared online on Monday, August 24, 2019.