COMPAS Roster Artist Marie Olofsdotter draws from the past to create 2013 Minnesota State Fair Poster

By John Brewer

Artist Marie Olofsdotter might be from Sweden, but she's all about the North Star State when it comes to the 2013 Commemorative Art for the Minnesota State Fair.

Researching vintage State Fair artwork for inspiration, from 19th century posters to work in the 1930s, the Minneapolis artist said she was drawn to the image of women featured in the works.

In her final piece, she chose to focus on a brown-eyed woman with a basket overflowing with corn, grains, tomatoes, apples and squash as a way of bringing the focus of the fair back to the land.

She calls the final piece "juicy and inspired."

"I could eat it for lunch."

"Besides being an artist, a painter and a poet, I am a teaching artist, and I travel quite a bit in Minnesota, so I'm familiar with the land," Olofsdotter said. "That felt good to me to bring that back in."

Olofsdotter was chosen out of nearly 30 applicants to paint this year's edition of the commemorative artwork, unveiled Wednesday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

The image will be used on posters, a limited number of signed giclee prints and other merchandise, with proceeds supporting the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. The nonprofit works to preserve and improve State Fair buildings, grounds and educational experiences.

She entered the juried commission each of the three years since it began and said it was hard hearing she'd lost out on the job -- until she saw the winners' works.

"It's easier to lose, when you think the piece is gorgeous," she said.

Olofsdotter worked with a few collaborators from the Fair this year, her "State Fair team," she said, to work out the final details of the piece. She said bouncing ideas off them was helpful in producing the final work.

"The team had to love the piece. It's very important because it's going to represent the Fair," she said. "I can't think of a better commission in Minnesota, because this is for everyone."

Go to to buy copies of Olofsdotter's work or to for more information on this year's Great Get-Together. The 2013 fair runs Aug. 22 to Sept. 2.

John Brewer can be reached at 651-228-2093.