Lonnie Anderson creates art for the Dalai Lama. Video & Podcast
Lonnie Anderson was born in 1958 and raised on a family farm in western Minnesota.
Growing up on a farm means a lot of hard work and learning to fix and make things. He learned to weld at 8 or 9 years of age. His love of woodworking and making things started at a very young age as well. Go karts, mini bikes, mechanical things were his foremost interest in his formative years. Having a family that was closely tied to the land allowed him to explore the fields, river hills and woods that surrounded his farm.
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Lonnie got his degree in Industrial Technology from St. Cloud State University in 1983.
He bought some tools and opened up a small woodworking shop on the farm in a converted chicken house. Knowing that farm life wasn’t going to get him very far in the woodworking world, he moved to Minneapolis to find his way in the big city.
A family friend needed a conference table for his advertising business. This nice commission got the ball rolling and soon other commissions followed. Five and a half years of woodworking in Minneapolis soon yielded a chance to move to Chicago with an acquaintance. One day while at an art gallery, the gallery owner asked if he knew someone who could make a very large frame for a piece of artwork. He knew how to build the frame, but without a shop, there was no way to make it. He opened up the Yellow Pages and put his finger on the first woodworking shop that felt right. A quick call to the shop was answered by an elderly Polish craftsman who welcomed him in like a grandson. It didn’t take long before architects, designers and a couple of heavy hitters were asking for some of Lonnie’s work. One of these designers led to Lonnie’s first feature in an international magazine out of Paris, France. A move to California started with a commission while still in Chicago. Building fixtures and furniture for a new art gallery in Tustin, California, the gallery owner offered a room in his house and a job in his new gallery. While this wasn’t exactly his plan, the move forged the next phase of his career.
Lonnie spent 12 1/2 years in southern California, building furniture for clients, including some of Hollywood’s elite.
A new marriage, successful commissions, magazines, stores and galleries… another move. This time, it was to Jerome, Arizona. Working out of his Garage for four years, the perfect space opened up on the ground floor of an old haunted hospital. There, Lonnie built his business and made furniture for thirteen years. A year ago, Lonnie’s shop mate of four years turned a small barn into a fabulous woodworking studio. There, his business now resides, working on commissions and building some pieces of art.
To date, Lonnie’s woodworking has been shown in over 30 magazines, three museums, publications and press releases.