A MAS Update: Josie Osborne

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The Midwest Artist Studios Project has spent the past three years traveling the Midwest interviewing 24 artists from 18 cities/towns. This project has been such a joy to create and to see how these artists have touched the lives of art students through online interactions, emails, and social media.

One of the areas we pride ourselves in is staying in touch with these artists and hearing what they are up to these days? For the next two-months the MAS Project will be spotlighting one of our 24 artists by sharing with you what they are doing in their studio as well as in their communities. 

All three of our MAS publications are now available online.

Click here to buy your copy today!

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JOSIE OSBORNE

2014 MAS artist from Wisconsin

MAS: In what ways have you benefitted from your participation in MAS?

JO: I went up for Indefinite status (a tenure-like review process for Teaching Academic Staff) in my job at the University this past year and having the involvement in MAS and the publication exposure was good for me in that regard.

I have also gotten to know some new artists being a part of a cohort of artists who are committed to supporting art education.

I was a nice little shot in the arm for me in terms of my studio work, documenting my process, stepping back to think about what I do (step by step) and how I do it, was opportunity for reflection.

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MAS: In what ways has your work and/or working environment changed since your MAS interview?

JO: My work has grown and my working environment has contracted (due to state budget cuts to higher ed) while the work load has increased intensely. So carving out time to do the work has been more difficult. But MAS involvement has helped me to make that more of a priority.

MAS: What is one thing you wish you’d said in your original interview, or what is the one thing that you hope the MAS audience remembers about your and your work?

JO: I think that the MAS interview and project focused more on assemblage and box structures, because of the piece that I was working on at the time. But my work is also really informed and driven by a very basic human collage impulse that is connected to/the visual equivalent to poetry making. I also use printmaking processes as a way to make marks along with other approaches to mark-making.

I believe that poem writing or visual poetic object making will have an increasing relevance in these wild times of confusion, disbelief, change and upheaval.

Visit Josie’s website to see more of her work.

All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.

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A MAS Update: Jane Ryder

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The Midwest Artist Studios Project has spent the past three years traveling the Midwest interviewing 24 artists from 18 cities/towns. This project has been such a joy to create and to see how these artists have touched the lives of art students through online interactions, emails, and social media.

One of the areas we pride ourselves in is staying in touch with these artists and hearing what they are up to these days? For the next two-months the MAS Project will be spotlighting one of our 24 artists by sharing with you what they are doing in their studio as well as in their communities. 

All three of our MAS publications are now available online.

Click here to buy your copy today!

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JANE RYDER

2014 MAS artist from Iowa

MAS: In what ways have you benefitted from your participation in MAS?:  

JR: It’s been nice keeping in touch with the MAS crew. I’ve benefitted most from the Skype conversations and critiques I’ve had with Frank’s students. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see how students interpret your work with their own voices. And equally wonderful to see the art they create based off of your project.

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MAS: In what ways has your work and/or working environment changed since your MAS interview?

JR: The art center where I had my studio had to move for financial reasons. So, I haven’t had a studio outside of my home in a while. We haven’t opened up the new place yet (although it is in the works and should happen within the next few months!).
My work has changed quite a bit. I decided I was getting too tight with my approach and decided to loosen up a bit. The new stuff has a more flowy and gestural feel (although it’s not gestural by any means, just less rigid). I’ve been drawing a lot, pen and ink stuff. Designing t-shirts. Trying to have fun. I’d like to start a new body of paintings soon.

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MAS: What is one thing you wish you’d said in your original interview, or what is the one thing that you hope the MAS audience remembers about your and your work?  

JR: I wouldn’t change much about my interview. One exception, I said how important it is to have a studio outside your home. Having a studio outside your home is great but sometimes out of your control (as I learned with the relocation of our art center). I’ve been doing just fine creating works in my home. So, the studio is where the heart is and that can be anywhere.

As for the MAS audience. I want them to know how important it is to constantly be on the search for inspiration. Carry a sketchbook, take notes, savor those tiny moments of beauty and then make some art about it. We worry about artist blocks, we worry about our next body of work, we worry no one will like our stuff, we worry too much. We need to remember to enjoy what we’re doing because that’s what it’s all about. Enjoyment and making a statement.

Visit Jane’s website to see more of her work.

All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.

A MAS Update: Larry Thomas

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The Midwest Artist Studios Project has spent the past three years traveling the Midwest interviewing 24 artists from 18 cities/towns. This project has been such a joy to create and to see how these artists have touched the lives of art students through online interactions, emails, and social media.

One of the areas we pride ourselves in is staying in touch with these artists and hearing what they are up to these days? For the next two-months the MAS Project will be spotlighting one of our 24 artists by sharing with you what they are doing in their studio as well as in their communities. 

All three of our MAS publications are now available online.

Click here to buy your copy today!

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Larry Thomas

2016 MAS artist from Kansas

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MAS: In what ways have you benefitted from your participation in MAS?

LT: I think probably the most important element for me, is that I’ve gotten to connect with students again, at least to some degree.  Since I retired I’ve missed sharing my experiences with students.  I can only hope the students, and possibly some teachers, got some exposure as to how I proceed through my work. A lot of what I do with collages is similar to what other artists do, but maybe there is one little tip or approach they weren’t familiar with.

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MAS: In what ways has your work and/or working environment changed since your MAS interview?

LT: Since I’ve been a practicing artist for over 40 years, my studio environment has evolved over that time pretty slowly.  There are some things that are just a part of the routine and ritual that I have developed over a long period of time.  That being said, after I did the lesson plan I feel like I’ve improved and become more efficient in creating my work.  The process of having to organize, research, self-analyze and present my art-making method in a text/photo format was a very good exercise for me.  As Socrates said,  “A life unexamined is not worth living.”  I like to think I’m constantly examining and re-examining myself and everything around me.

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MAS: What is one thing you wish you’d said in your original interview, or what is the one thing that you hope the MAS audience remembers about your and your work?

LT: I always hope that my work is compelling and mysterious in some way, and that its not illustrative or trite.

Looking ahead:

image001Opening June 2017, Larry will have a solo exhibition, So You Think You Know. It will be an immersive installation comprised of hundreds of small collages. He has explored the concepts of perception, deception, invisibility and camouflage, both visually and metaphorically, for over 20 years.  For the Nerman Museum’s Kansas Focus Gallery, he has constructed intimate collages employing traditional means like painting, drawing, and printmaking combined with the more contemporary medium of digitally generated images – each work a response to the barrage of information which engulfs us daily. 

photo credit: Larry Thomas at work in his Olathe, KS studio, courtesy the artist

Visit Larry’s website to see more of his work. 

All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.

 

A MAS Update: Jason Ackman

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The Midwest Artist Studios Project has spent the past three years traveling the Midwest interviewing 24 artists from 18 cities/towns. This project has been such a joy to create and to see how these artists have touched the lives of art students through online interactions, emails, and social media.

One of the areas we pride ourselves in is staying in touch with these artists and hearing what they are up to these days? For the next two-months the MAS Project will be spotlighting one of our 24 artists by sharing with you what they are doing in their studio as well as in their communities. 

All three of our MAS publications are now available online.

Click here to buy your copy today!

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Jason Ackman

2015 MAS artist from Illinois

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MAS: In what ways have you benefitted from your participation in MAS?

JA: I have personally benefited from my involvement with MAS in a variety of ways.  The project has introduced and connected me with a bunch of artists in my region of the US.  Artists that I would most likely not known about had I not been involved with the work of MAS (Thank you!).  

It has given me more opportunities to not only talk and share info about the work I do but the work of other outstanding and fascinating artists in the Midwest.  This is a welcomed change since often times it seems that “real artists” are located in the major cities in the US, specifically out west and east.  

I also believe it has given me a boost of confidence and encouragement knowing that a project like MAS is interested in telling some of my story as an artist.  Not only as an artist, but an artist from the part of our nation that is often times overlooked when it comes artists making meaningful, significant work. 

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MAS: In what ways has your work and/or working environment changed since your MAS interview?

JA: My studio work has drastically changed over the past year.  Shortly after the MAS team visited my studio I held my first solo exhibit.  Once that exhibit closed my studio practice took a major shift.  My practice has now become more about the social and community interaction with the arts.  I have spent very little time making work or objects that would be seen in an exhibit.  Instead, I have been focusing my energies on developing a local arts and cultural center as well as renovating a historic brick mansion (in a rural town of 150 people) into a future artist residency program. Although I have not been making work in the traditional sense, this new “work” has evolved into a practice of sorts.  The communal aspect of creating has become more of a focus for me. 

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MAS: What is one thing you wish you’d said in your original interview, or what is the one thing that you hope the MAS audience remembers about your and your work?

JA: There are so many things I would have liked to have said 🙂  I don’t even know where to begin. 

Visit Jason’s website to see more of his work. 

All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.

Year 2 MAS Catalog and Workbook is now available. Get your copy today!

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IMG_7506Year 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.
Frank Juarez

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. 

MAS Year 2 Catalogs have arrived.

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Today I received my first shipment of MAS catalogs featuring  Year 2 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). A big thanks to Nasco Arts and Crafts for printing them. They look fab!

I cannot wait to get them into your hands to expose our students to a variety of processes and media, educate them on what it is to be an artist today especially in the Midwest, and to engage them in the creative process and critiques. – Frank

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Jason Ackman – Rushville, Illinois

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I am extremely excited to be heading into Year 2 of the 3 year project, the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project. I will be traveling from July 26 through August 1, 2015 to the following artists/cities/states – Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, Ohio; Ellie Honl, Bloomington, Indiana; Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, Illinois; and Jason Ackman, Rushville, Illinois. In mid-August I will be visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry to document Emmy Lingscheit, who is one of our featured 2015 MAS artists and a current artist in resident. In late September, I will finish our documentation/research by visiting Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, Illinois and Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, Illinois. 

The artists selected were based on their responses to an online survey focusing on Art Education, body of work, and a Skype interview. 

Throughout our visits I will be introducing you to 8 amazing and talented artists from the Midwest working in printmaking to painting, sculpture to mixed media and collage to installation art.

Click here to read a collaborative reflection from this past school year’s MAS Project. 

Join me on this MAS adventure via facebook.com/midwestartiststudios or subscribe to the blog, midwestartiststudios.com

– Frank Juarez

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Here are two of the questions asked on our survey and the artist’s response.

Please share one positive Art Education experience that you had in middle school, high school or college.

Where do I begin? Creating art has been one of the most consistent and positive things I encountered in school. My high school art room was my sanctuary. It was in Karen Icenogle’s room that I always felt at home. I was allowed to experiment and try new things. Even if doing so resulted in failure. In middle school I had been working on a drawing that would later be transferred to a scratchboard. I ended up taking far longer than the other students to complete the initial drawing. It was then that my teacher, Nancy Pitlik, told me to skip the scratchboard and keep going with the pen drawing I was working on. I thought that was pretty cool that she was willing to highjack the project and allow me to move in a different direction.

Why is Art Education important today?

Art Education is important because it challenges students to become creative problem solvers. No matter what a student chooses to do with their life after they leave school they will be far more impactful and successful in whatever they choose if they can come up with creative solutions. Whether that be as an artist, educator, factory worker, doctor, custodian, you name it; all require creative problem solving skills. Art Education deeply fosters this type of development in a student.

Jason Ackman

Web: www.jasonackman.org

The symbolic meaning that can be found in the most ordinary, outdated and utilitarian objects intrigues me. These objects are rich with meaning and significance. Many times they have outlived their usefulness or purpose. Their place as forgotten objects allows us to see them re-imagined- we are able to see their metaphorical potential because we are able to distance ourselves from their original intent or purpose. My work explores these alternative or re-imag- ined meanings as they relate to the concepts of transition and discernment. Sculpting and carving these once common and everyday objects out of reclaimed lumber and clay is a sub- tle and transformative process. Through this process I reveal the unrefined qualities of the chosen material. Ultimately, the re-imagining of these seemingly outdated objects and dis- carded materials illuminates the deeper meaning that can be found in forgotten or cast aside items. This illumination, in turn, reflects on the way we view our own human experiences. I choose weathered surfaces and a neutral monochromatic palette to unify each piece and use hand tools and simple construction techniques to enhance the beauty of such materials. In re- gards to using reclaimed materials I embrace the challenge of making something out of a ma- terial that has seemingly lost its purpose or need-the things that others look past, the things that so often don’t fit the standard mold of perfection. I see the material not for what it was, but for what it will become. In my hands it still has worth and a purpose yet to be discovered.

Bio

Jason Ackman is a high school art teacher and sculptor living in west central Illinois with his wife and two daughters. He received his BA from Western Illinois University and for the past 16 years he has been teaching a wide range of studio art classes at Rushville-Industry High School. His studio practice over the past 5 years has been focused on the use of reclaimed lumber as a sculptural medium.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

Jenniffer Omaitz – Kent, Ohio

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I am extremely excited to be heading into Year 2 of the 3 year project, the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project. I will be traveling from July 26 through August 1, 2015 to the following artists/cities/states – Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, Ohio; Ellie Honl, Bloomington, Indiana; Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, Illinois; and Jason Ackman, Rushville, Illinois. In mid-August I will be visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry to document Emmy Lingscheit, who is one of our featured 2015 MAS artists and a current artist in resident. In late September, I will finish our documentation/research by visiting Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, Illinois and Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, Illinois. 

The artists selected were based on their responses to an online survey focusing on Art Education, body of work, and a Skype interview. 

Throughout our visits I will be introducing you to 8 amazing and talented artists from the Midwest working in printmaking to painting, sculpture to mixed media and collage to installation art.

Click here to read a collaborative reflection from this past school year’s MAS Project. 

Join me on this MAS adventure via facebook.com/midwestartiststudios or subscribe to the blog, midwestartiststudios.com

– Frank Juarez

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Here is one of the questions asked on our survey and the artist’s response.

Why is Art Education today?

Art allows young students and students in general to be versatile in multifaceted and have an understanding for cultural experiences. It incorporates cognitive skills with hands-on applications. The way art is taught now occurs in both 2-D and 3-D and virtual environments. This range of experiences along with cultural connections is imperative for young students high school and college age students to become more sensitive and responsive to social and environmental shifts.

 

Jenniffer Omaitz

Web: www.omaitz.com

Our urban and geographic environment is in a constant state of transformation. My work explores states of change between order and chaos that relate to this experience of environmental shift. Painting and Installation Art are modes of communicating the sensitivity to environmental factors; these practices provide me with a cadence and context through which to communicate utopian elegance, or dystopian plight. Installation explores this order/chaos in theory by invoking parts of abstraction, architecture, landscape, natural disaster, and a tactile response image making. Paintings are a meditation on movement, permutation, gesture, boundary, space and color.

In 2014, I started a series of work titled, Solid Movement. Solid Movement is an investigation into gesture and its ability to encapsulate time and psyche, fuse internal and external, and record conceptual state changes in solidified form. This series struggles to define beauty, exploring abstraction as incident and artifact of the process in which paint is applied. There is a constant struggle between surface and ground; between paint and the boundaries within the painting. This series of work attempts to unify my sculptural endeavors with my interests in painting.

Over the past six years I have explored site-specific installation. The installations built encompass three-dimensional landscapes frozen in the midst of a chaotic event. This “event” is reminiscent of a landscape that has been caught in a fictitious disaster. By incorporating drawing and painting with objects and found materials, this ignites play between the structure of the gallery and the theatrics of the painterly gesture and their united associations. This sense of theater is a formal extension of the shadows cast by gallery lights, the configuration of the wall, ceiling, and the intrinsic architectural nature of the given space.

Overall, my work explores space; both physical and psychological space. This refers to “Space” as it is applied to a two dimensional surface, or a three dimensional location.

Bio

Jenniffer Omaitz (1979, Cleveland, OH) lives in Kent, OH and works in Kent and Cleveland. She holds an MFA in painting from Kent State University and a BFA in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at The Sculpture Center, Cleveland; Sandy Carson Gallery, Denver; and Kent State University, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Her work was featured at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas in Denver. Omaitz is a part-time faculty member at Kent State University, and the University of Akron. She is represented by 1point618 Gallery in Cleveland.

 

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

 

Kate Robertson – Ann Arbor, Michigan

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I am extremely excited to be heading into Year 2 of the 3 year project, the Midwest Artist Studios™ (MAS) Project. I will be traveling from July 26 through August 1, 2015 to the following artists/cities/states – Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, Ohio; Ellie Honl, Bloomington, Indiana; Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, Illinois; and Jason Ackman, Rushville, Illinois. In mid-August I will be visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry to document Emmy Lingscheit, who is one of our featured 2015 MAS artists and a current artist in resident. In late September, I will finish our documentation/research by visiting Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, Illinois and Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, Illinois. 

The artists selected were based on their responses to an online survey focusing on Art Education, body of work, and a Skype interview. 

Throughout our visits I will be introducing you to 8 amazing and talented artists from the Midwest working in printmaking to painting, sculpture to mixed media and collage to installation art.

Click here to read a collaborative reflection from this past school year’s MAS Project. 

Join me on this MAS adventure via facebook.com/midwestartiststudios or subscribe to the blog, midwestartiststudios.com

– Frank Juarez

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Here are two of the questions asked on our survey and the artist’s response.

Please share one positive Art Education experience that you had in middle school, high school or college.

 I think my artistic path has been aided in countless ways by instructors and individuals with a desire to share their excitement and knowledge on how to be a maker. Without these wonderful mentors at all stages of my life I would not have found such a fulfilling career in the arts. I hope to be a leader in passing that energy on to others.

Why is Art Education today?

As a part of a non-profit art center I continual see not only the need but the desire within my community for quality Art Education. As these programs continue to be cut from schools the need and desire for them does not go away. We are also collaborating and working to provide a place where individuals of all ages can have the ability to incorporate technology into their art practice.

Kate Robertson

Webwww.k8robertson.com

Kate Robertson creates objects that establish an intimate viewing experience and question the ways we interpret incomplete information. By exploring the dichotomy between interior and exterior spaces her  intention is for the viewer to be engaged in a space separate from their body. The inability to simultaneously see the exterior and interior allows her to broach notions of fragmentation, cropping and collage. She likes to approach the interior spaces with a sense of exploration and a connection the venue in which they are to be displayed.

Bio

Kate received her BFA from Minnesota State University in Moorhead Minnesota with an emphasis in sculpture as well as a minor in Art History. She is currently the Director of Education at the Ann Arbor Art Center and is preparing for a large contemporary outdoor art exhibition taking place in downtown Ann Arbor this October.

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All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.