How do you feel when I make art?
Curious, Engaged, Challenged. Curious where the ideas and materials will lead me. Engaged in wondering what part of my brain will I need for this? My math brain, my science brain? Food Server? Tour Guide? Bike Mechanic? Teaching Artist? Challenged in regards to what might I do or find in the artwork to surprise myself.
What is the most wonderful art gift you have ever received?
Advice, from a painter I was talking to at a gallery in 1992 ~ I didn’t get his name. He said, “Do something every day to move your art forward. It can be as big as completing an artwork, or as small as organizing your materials on a day you don’t have the energy or time to do anything else. Just keep practicing, keep working, keep making. Every day.” I thought I was doing that already, but that random conversation has stuck with me, and I’ve followed this advice every day since then.
What is your Superpower? How do I use it as a teaching artist?
I think my superpower in regards to art is keeping my eyes open, and having a wide field of vision. I can’t see through walls, though. Here’s an example. Last week I was working on a collage, and the pieces that I had cut out and meant to use were in front of me on a table. I kept composing them in different ways, but none of these attempts were working or interesting. I worked for an hour or two in that way, and then left to go for a bike ride knowing I did not have it. When I returned I noticed the extra pieces I had cut out and pushed to the edge of the table into a pile, waiting to be thrown out or recycled. I saw them with fresh eyes, and they were randomly arranged in an interesting composition I could never had planned. They contained all the mystery, beauty and intent I was trying to attain earlier. I had to remove myself from my original intent to see the good work, the it. And as a teaching artist I reference this idea often: keep your eyes open to possibilities that occur as you’re working. Don’t be so focused on your original plan that you can’t or don’t recognize a great new path when it opens up in front of you. Keep your head up, and take that new path. The other path will still be there waiting if you want to go back and take it later.
Cypher 9, 2018 by Jonathan Stein
What has been the most surprising thing about working remotely?
I’ve had to get over my camera shyness. I’m slowly getting past it. My art practice doesn’t usually involve performance and being the focus of a viewer’s gaze; that’s the role my paintings serve. I’ve always been hesitant about images I can’t control. But Snow City Arts Virtual Learning workshop videos require each of the teaching artists to produce and star in our own videos. I’ve had to let go off that shyness and hesitation while making the videos, and learn to relax in front of the camera. It’s definitely a work-in-progress for me.
Stein Studio, 2020