This spring break MAS founder and art educator, Frank Juarez, is participating in a visiting artist program at The Thacher School in Ojai, California. He will be working with Mrs. Liz Mahoney’s beginning to advanced art students. He will be introducing students to the Midwest Artist Studios Project through a series of art lessons, which highlights artists living in the Midwest. In addition, he will be Skyping the artists into the classroom so that they can have the opportunity to interact with them via a critique and/or Q & A.
Some of the artists introduced are Year 1: Todd Mrozinski (WI) and Jane Ryder (IA) as well as Year 2: Jessica Anderson (IL) and Jenniffer Omaitz (OH).
Please note – images will be added each day of the residency.
On March 25th, he spent the day getting to know the art students. Mrs. Mahoney’s students are fabulous, talented, and eager to learn more about art.
On March 28th Advanced Art students and Intro Art students were introduced their respective artists, process, and media. Artists discussed were MAS artists, Jenniffer Omaitz (OH) and Todd Mrozinski (WI). After the presentation, students began to either set up their still life for Folded Gestures: Playing with Form and Space lesson or deciding what the subject matter would be for their Shadows: Enter the Light lesson, respectively.
On March 29th, Studio Art students were introduced to the work of MAS artist, Jane Ryder (IA) followed by planning out their composition on paper. They are asked to create their own ecosystem based on observation, personal ideas, and using technology. The Intro Art students began working on their shadow paintings. Colors chosen consisted of a limited color palette with a dark tone, mid tone, and highlight of their choosing.
On March 30th students continued to work on their assigned projects. Some students used today to catch up while others began to add color to their projects. It is interesting to see how they take the information presented and make the work their very own with their own ideas and interpretation.
On March 31st, the art students had its first Skype session. Intro art students had the opportunity to talk to MAS artist, Todd Mrozinski (WI) about his work, process, and a brief critique/ Q&A with the students. Below is an excerpt from their session.
About Todd’s work
The shadow series started on the one year anniversary of my father’s death. Wanting to connect with him, Mrozinski started to paint his portrait based off of a black and white photo from when he was a young priest. He had not painted a traditional portrait in years and soon was frustrated. Disgruntled, he laid on the couch until his wife entered the studio. She saw the large amount of dark acrylic paint mixed on the palette and asked if she could cover the canvas so it would not go to waste. He agreed and took a nap. When he woke up, he noticed the warm light coming in through the front door. He looked out at the tree shadows and realized, in that instant, what he needed to paint. He took the dark canvas off the working wall, laid it on the ground, knelt down and traced the tree shadow directly onto the canvas. He realized as life is to light, death is to shadows, one cannot be without the other. His dad was showing himself in a different form and he felt his presence profoundly. The shadow series began.
Mrozinski’s work is a record of what is going on around him in the present moment. His subject matter is his family, friends, house and yard which he records and adorse on a daily basis. The beauty and power of shadows, the mysterious and ever changing light that creates them and their ambiguity and implied meaning continue to inspire me and infuse my work. Each painting begins by tracing the object’s cast shadow directly onto the canvas and is an actual size record of time and space. He is constantly amazed how a single outline can capture a gesture, mood and personality and how color and edge can create space, focus and mood. Each painting becomes a light infused container that preserves a moment, painted directly though the malleable and flowing medium of oil paint. Through drips, skeins and piles of paint, the surface becomes activated and glows with a light from within.
Day 5 (Final Day)
On April 1st, the week concluded with Studio Art students skyping with MAS artist, Jane Ryder (IA). Students asked about the artist’s approach to her chosen medium (gouache), ways to stay motivated, artist’s current work, a brief critique between students and artist and a Q & A. The Advanced Art students kept working on their project, “Folded Gestures: Playing with Form and Space”. I can’t wait to see the final outcome from the Intro Art, Studio Art, and Advanced Studio art students. I would like to end this post with a huge thanks to Mrs. Mahoney (art teacher) and The Thacher School for having me and for their hospitality. This experience was fabulous and memorable.
About Jane’s work
Jane’s paintings are a right-brained approach to observing, dissecting, and recording the objective subject matter found in the lakes, rivers, prairies, and forests of south central Iowa. As her intimacy with the land surrounding her evolves, so does her approaches for depicting the complexities of varying terrains and the plants and animals that occupy them.
Each of her gouache paintings is a fictitious ecosystem that has been broken down into a series of vignettes. Each vignette describes the decay, growth, and interaction between the flora and fauna of that imagined place. Although bold colors, re- peating patterns, and flattened space make the paintings appear fantastic in nature, each scene is based off an observation.
She is constantly inspired by the complexities of the natural world. Her work is an ever evolving narrative about the interconnectedness of all things and the functions of an organism in a community of plants and animals.
MAS founder and art educator, Frank Juarez, will be participating in a visiting artist program at The Thacher School in Ojai, California. This residency will focus on integrating art into other content areas as well as exposing, educating, and engaging students on regional contemporary art from the Midwest. In addition, create opportunities for students to interact with MAS artists via Skype for a 1-to-1 online critique and Q&A.
Click the link or image to see video of The Thacher School.
On March 14, MAS artist, Jessica Anderson, spent the day at Sheboygan North High School connecting with students through her project, Meditation Walking, as the basis for her meditation drawings that she facilitated with Drawing/Painting II, AP Studio Art, and Senior Art 2 students. Jessica is one of our Year 2 MAS artists.
Jessica’s artist statement states:
Part research, part design, part invention – my work navigates the boundary between mind and body through a re-contextualized lens of science, medicine, and biologic phenomena. Reminiscent of laboratory investigations, my invented scenarios answer questions with questions and provoke participatory explorations of the individual self.
Taking the position as neither a skeptic nor a promoter, my research examines the role of holistic healing practices in contemporary culture. I am interested in individual relationships within these mechanisms of health and provide viewers with opportunities to test their own boundaries of belief. Reframing practices such as a detoxifying footbath, a chi activation machine, and phenomenological exercises, my re-contextualization of existing treatments heightens the tension of purpose, and provides viewers with neutral environments of investigation.
Merging factual information with reinvented application allows me to expand the dialogue of cognitive occurrences. For instance, EMDR therapy asks patients to lean their head to the left to access thoughts and to lean their head to the right to access feelings and emotions. Redirecting this information, I then ask: Is there a discernible difference between these two cerebral directions when drawing a line?
It is a question that can only be answered through experience, observation, and communally applied analytics.
In my work, invitations for experience occur through demonstrative videos, interactive objects/devices, evocative statements of research, and performative exercises. Together, each of these installation elements create a multi-dimensional environment of investigative viewing, biologic questioning, and experiential answering. By repositioning scientifically grounded phenomena into the context of a gallery, information begins to transcend ratiocination and calls upon a physical conversation between mind, body, and personal experience.
Katie, drawing/painting II student, writes, “the meditation drawing experience was very different from what I was expecting going into it. My mind works in a very mechanical fashion so I thought that I would not be able to relax and have my hand wander for a period of time. I found myself having completely letting go. Tracking time was impossible. When just sitting and doing nothing, 10 minutes felt like an eternity. Time was called when I thought we were only half way through. After completing the session, I felt more relaxed, more confident in my decisions, and more sensitive to my surroundings. I would gladly doing this again and recommend it to anyone.
Abrille, drawing/painting II student, writes, “I felt that with this meditation drawing it was weird. At First, it was different because I never done it before. I learned that basically letting your mind take over your hand. You do not exactly create something recognizable. I thought this idea was cool because I never thought you could meditate through art. I was pretty excited with trying something new. In the end Id did get comfortable with doing this. By the time we were finished I was really relaxed, but when I opened my eyes to see what I drew it was unexpected.
Brittany, drawing/painting II student, writes, “Jessica did an amazing job! It was a great experience. I would do it all of the time. I felt refreshed. My mind was at peace.
Mikayla, AP Studio Art student, writes, my experience during the meditation drawing was calming. I wasn’t thinking about what I was drawing, but more what I was feeling. This process taught me that to create art, I do not need to always necessarily think it through, but express how I’m feeling. I also learned that meditation drawing is the releasing of one’s mind. The thoughts and expressions in our minds flow directly into our hand and create an image on paper. When introduced to this process I was very interested. It seemed very stress free and enjoyable. After it was all done, the meditation drawing session made me feel very relaxed. I was also quite surprised by how my drawing looked. It pretty much was a bunch of scribbles, but nonetheless very enjoyable.
Running Time: 14:17 with a 6:21 introduction by Jessica.
The catalog contains 66 pages with studio images and full interviews with our featured Midwest artists: Mellissa Redman (MI), Kate Robertson (MI), Jenniffer Omaitz (OH), Ellie Honl (IN), Jessica Anderson (IL), Jason Ackman (IL), Krista Svalbonas (IL), and Emmy Lingscheit (IL).
The workbook contains 96 pages with color illustrations and grades 6-12 lesson plans inspired from our studio visits with our Year 2 Midwest artists. This includes access to our Backroom on our MAS site, which gives you access to artist videos, a gallery of images, and the option of contacting the artist for a Skype session with your students.
Published by the Midwest Artist Studios™ Project, 2015
Catalog design by Erika Block of Creative Studios
Limited Qty: 100
(Stock code: MASCATWKBK15)
This project is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc. and the Wisconsin Art Education Association.
Orders will be shipped within 7-10 business days of your purchase.
Year 2 MAS Catalog and Workbook is now available for purchase. This publication features 8 amazing artists from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. They are Mellissa Redman (Grand Rapids, MI), Kate Robertson (Ann Arbor, MI), Jenniffer Omaitz (Kent, OH), Ellie Honl (Bloomington, IN), Jessica Anderson (Jackson, IL), Jason Ackman (Rushville, IL), Krista Svalbonas (Chicago, IL), and Emmy Lingscheit (Urbana, IL). These artists’ careers range from emerging to established working in mixed media, sculpture, painting, printmaking, installation, performance, photography, and collage.
To purchase your copy click the link.
MAS publication is only $40.70 (includes shipping/handling).
(includes a catalog with artist interviews and studio shots. As well as a workbook containing lesson plans exposing, educating, and engaging students into various studio practices and media. In addition, to a series of artist videos, a gallery of images, and the opportunity to Skype the artists).
There is a limited quantity available.
I am happy to announce that this year’s publication is printed by NASCO arts & crafts in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. There is a beautiful ad inside this publication.
If you have purchased last year’s MAS publication I would LOVE to hear from you.
Thank you for your support.
art educator & founder
Here is one of my recorded Skype sessions with MAS artist, Todd Mrozinski
Year 2 MAS publication would not be possible without these contributors.
Layout by Erika L. Block.
Photography by Pat Ryan (unless otherwise noted).
Curriculum development by Frank Juarez.
The Midwest Artist Studios Project is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc, and the Wisconsin Art Education Association.
On November 5th, Mr. Juarez’s Drawing/Painting I students skyped with Midwest Artist Studios (MAS) artist, Todd Mrozinski. The MAS project aims to connect art education with regional contemporary artists through studio visits, curriculum documentation, and opportunities for educator outreach.
Born in Rensselaer, IN in 1974, Todd has loved to paint for as long as he can remember. He acquired his BFA in painting from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 1997 and in 1996 attended The New York Studio Program. He has been in solo and group exhibitions nationwide and his work is in various public and private collections. By focusing on two main areas, shadows and clothing, he explores the power of a subject’s presence through its absence. Meditation and contemplation as well as following inspiration and free flowing expression are essential to his working practice. Todd sees and shares the beauty and illumination of light and personality through drips and skeins and piles of paint. He and his wife, Renee Bebeau, have a studio in The Nut Factory, Riverwest, Wisconsin, where they offer art classes and workshops. He is currently represented by Woodman/Shimko Gallery, Palm Springs, California.
Text highlighted in orange are live links to websites.
Running time: 14:34
The Midwest Artist Studios Project is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc., Wisconsin Art Education Association, and the National Art Education Foundation.