Sunday, August 05, 2012

Found Art

"Tranquility" by Ted Tinquist, date unknown

Another thrift store find, not exactly cutting edge art, but a pleasant watercolor of a north woods cabin in the moonlight. I thought it would look good in our kitchen, less intimidating than my latest State Fair entry. It was signed; a quick search of the name brought up numerous references to Ted. He was a professional sign painter, a pioneer aviator, he trained flyers for World War II, was active in church affairs and evidently had time to pursue artistic hobbies. He established a land trust to keep wilderness property from being developed; his sons are continuing this legacy.

The thing which caught my eye about the composition is its birds-eye perspective. It makes sense, seeing as Ted was a pilot. This kind of scene may be something of a cliché, but for anyone who has spent time in Northern Minnesota, it resonates with a spiritual essence beyond criticism. Ted died in 1997:

Word has been received of the death of Ted E. Tinquist. He was born March 28, 1910, in Bristol, S.D., and his family moved to Grand Rapids in 1921. He graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1928 and started Tinquist Signs right out of high school. He married Lily Parks on March 21, 1932. In 1941, he started the Grand Rapids Airport and worked with both the sign company and the airport until he was drafted into the Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, he worked full time with the flight training school at the Grand Rapids Airport for two years. In 1948, he sold the airport and spent full time with the sign business. He served as a lay pastor for many years in the surrounding area, including Bethel Lutheran Church in Warba where he served for 20 years. He also served in many community organizations including the Itasca Art Association, Restoration of Central School, and the Itasca County Historical Society. He was chairman of the Bass Brook Township and was a member of the Itasca County Planning Commission. He was a well known area artist and creator of the picture "Devotions."

~ Itasca County obituaries

By Professor Batty


Blogger Jono said...

Nice story and references Batty. Thanks for telling the story of Ted.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

I don't know the story of painting, how it came to end up in a thrift store in New Hope, in a ratty frame and with a price of only $1.95. Ted deserved better, his art is now in a prominent position in the Flippist World Headquarters Kitchen !

Blogger Keisha Tinquist said...

Ted Tinquist was my great grandfather! Thank you for cherishing his artwork. If you ever want to part with it I would love to buy it from you!

Blogger Professor Batty said...


email me at

I'd be glad to give it to you.

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