CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
JS: I make abstract painting and drawings. I’m interested in the suggestive nature of abstraction— I love its ability to be direct or confusing. Furthermore, the works maintain a belief in abstraction’s ability to function both on a self-referential level and exist as cultural objects that are discursively relevant, socially engaging, and mindful of a viewer’s emotional and intellectual experiences.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
JS: Unexpected combinations of formal elements, often inspire me. An unusual color combination or odd mixture of materials can stay with me for a long time. Other artists, podcasts, books, cooking, and films also motivate me.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
JS: The thought process is more or less just about the act of making. I don’t typically have an end goal in mind while beginning a painting. Each move informs the next; therefore the initial moments are often the loosest part of the process.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
JS: No, not specifically, but I’m always really grateful when someone spends more than a few seconds with a painting. I would also love it if more people were compelled to appreciate and collect small work.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
JS: I’m a Visiting Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University and work in the studio on days I’m not teaching and throughout the summer. It’s busy, but I am honored to get to do what I do.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
JS: This can really differ depending on the artist’s process and desired outcome, but like I mentioned previously, I don’t choose to plan the work out. I do make a lot of drawings that definitely inform the work, but don’t normally directly result in paintings. It is pretty common for one piece to spark the next in my studio, and this process continues until I tire of the vocabulary of color or shapes being used.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
JS: Accomplishment absolutely comes in waves. I am always making/applying/inquiring/wanting, even if nothing seems to be happening. And then suddenly, there’s opportunity. So much of the process is just staying in it….staying hungry.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
JS: Not really, these things always change.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
JS: There’s a certain amount of loss to expect if you’re serious about an art career. People won’t understand you, you’ll likely be broke, rejection can feel excruciating, you won’t have as much of a social life as your friends—and all of that is alright.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
JS: A creative life is never boring.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
JS: So many. Betty Woodman, Laura Owens, Max Manning, Forrest Bess, Allison Miller, and many more.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
JS: Distracting but valuable?
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
JS: Everyone deals with life’s complexity in different ways and I think art is the way certain people manage. I think this sort of “viewing the world differently” is inherent, and not something deliberate, necessarily.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
JS: Definitely. The entire south of France is full of magic.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
JS: That is such a tough question. The books I’ve read most recently are a weird mix: Cathedral by Raymond Carver, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, and this great book I just got recently about David Hockney.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
JS: I hope to show a collection of framed paper works, self publish a book, work closely with other artists, design a better website, etc.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
JS: Some things I think about a lot are the commitment, sacrifice, and privilege necessary for artists to be able to pursue their ideas wholeheartedly. I have my ambitions, of course, but as long as I have the time, space, and money to be making work that is improving, I think I’ll be happy with that.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
JS: The End of the World by Sharon Van Etten.