Jim Ockuly

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Contact Information

contact name: Jim Ockuly
email: jim.ockuly@gmail.com


Jim Ockuly (pronounced Oakley) was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota on October 17, 1960, and lived -- up until the age of four and a half -- mere blocks from the Como Park Zoo, where from his family’s backyard, he could hear the sound of the barking seals when the wind blew in the right direction.

In 1965, Mr. Ockuly’s family moved approximately one mile west, further from the zoo, but right to the doorstep of the Minnesota State Fair. Adolescent years were spent conspiring with friends, devising increasingly sophisticated ways of getting into the Fair without surrendering the customary admission fee. A trick with fluoride-laden toothpaste (and fluorescent light) stands today as the ultimate scam. (Contact the artist for more information).

His creative career could be said to have started when he and his sister attended a summer art class for children at the University of Minnesota. Always an active doodler and Mad Magazine enthusiast, Mr. Ockuly nurtured his creativity as his world-view developed in the 1970s.

Later, Mr. Ockuly attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (1978 to 1983), where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Working part-time as a film projectionist at the adjacent museum, he established connections with The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1981. This relationship grew to include many casual and part-time project gigs (shooting and editing educational video programs for the Institute) throughout the 1980s. These activities supported Mr. Ockuly’s burgeoning post-college art career during that decade, as he focused on creating and exhibiting -- also receiving a number of grants and commissions.

Highlights of the1980 to 1990 time period include: Six months of writing, painting, drawing, and learning in West Berlin; a year in residence at PS1 -- New York’s famed studio program; several project grants from the McKnight foundation; a Jerome Foundation travel grant; numerous group exhibitions; and a commissioned mural at the Walker Art Center.

In 1990, Mr. Ockuly took a full-time job as Production Assistant in the Interactive Media Group at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This led to his eventual role as Director of Interactive Media for the Institute.

Adding to the already complex mix of artistic production and museum work, Mr. Ockuly taught an Introduction to Digital Art course for three terms at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, around the turn of the century (1999, 2001, and 2002).

Mr. Ockuly has worked with many forms of media, including painting, drawing, installation, film, video, and interactive media.

Mr. Ockuly is the man behind the curtain at SnakPak.info, and is President of the Loring Park Shuffleboard Club (May through October, Monday nights from 7 to 9 PM). He is very happily married and lives in beautiful downtown Longfellow with his wife, Julia, their son, Edgar, Treeing Walker Coonhound, Sherman, and Wheaten Terrier/Australian Shepherd, Jake Furley.

Biographical Information

Country of Citizenship:
United States

Birth Date:
October 17, 1960


Active Place:
Minneapolis/St Paul

Minnesota County:

Artist Information



Artist's Website


mnartists.org Collections Featuring Jim Ockuly

State of the Art: Maps, Stories, Games and Algorithms from Minnesota