Featured Artist – Jill Stasium
For Jill Stasium, who’s been painting since she can remember, real art transcends the visual and takes us into spiritual realms. There, artist and viewer can resonate to something in the work that literally connects them with something deep within themselves. This experience is what Jill aspires to with each painting she creates.
The primary inspirations for Jill’s paintings are music and the poetry in music. “How the music is metabolized through my body is how it is recreated in my paintings,” Jill explains. “In other words, what I am feeling when I am listening to the music flows from my body and out onto the canvas. It’s a very organic process.”
Though she paints mostly to the comlplex time signatures of Frank Zappa, the music of the Velvet Underground, Wayne Kramer, Jazz and Rock and Roll are also sources for her intuitive paintings and contribute to the vibrancy of her work. “I have a great desire to understand how to integrate the mathematics of music with the interior flow of painting,” Jill says. “I became more aware of this process when, one day while painting irises to Bitch’s Brew by Miles Davis, I observed a strange syncopation with how the flowers landed on the canvas.” The irises wouldn’t have been painted the same way had she been listening to Mozart.
Jill’s use of color defines and illuminates the patterns set up by the music. These patterns mirror the complexity of the music that Jill feels exists within all objects, a music which elicits emotions and a rhythm that can be touched with the mind. Her Post-Impressionist commitment to color and light defines the world through emotions by using primary, saturated colors, colors that she both observes and invents. Post Impressionists Van Gogh, Matisse and Klimt are Jill’s favorites. Her commitment to Expressionism is maintained through her bold brush strokes and essential gestures. Jill is especially attracted to the aggressive brush strokes of the German Expressionists and the passionate turbulence of the Fauves. The San Francisco Bay Area painters Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira and Wayne Theibaud have also impacted her work.
Medieval altar pieces, how they combine flat space and depth to represent physical and spiritual reality simultaneously, influence Jill’s unique combination of abstract and representational space. Her paintings are ultimately about integration, color in the abstract and how everything is connected. In that way, Jill’s paintings also draw their inspiration from Integral Philosophy and the Transpersonal Psychology of Ken Wilbur. Joseph Campbell and his great work The Power of Myth, is another huge influence, as Jill draws on archetypes for her paintings.
“Creativity is my life and totally dominates every moment,” Stasium explains. Her earliest memories are of painting on the walls at home. “My version of cave paintings,” Jill says. The only time she really got into trouble was when she painted the cat with yellow Latex house paint. All the cat’s hair came off when her parents washed it.
Being in a child-like or innocent state is important in the process of painting, Jill believes, but the artist also has to go through things to develop and also become an informed painter. Pre art school were Jill’s Hippie days.
Inspired by the music of the Grateful Dead, she created colorful, loose water colors of dancing people. In art school at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, Stasium learned to draw and found she loved avant garde line drawings. After receiving her BFA, she lived on a farm in Maine and did abstract paintings of farm animals and serious nudes. Large colorful poster-like paintings followed, when she moved off the farm and into the city of Belfast, Maine.
Jill now lives and works in New York City, which she feels is the most inspiring place she’s ever been. On a typical day, she can be awakened at 10am by two cats tracking ultramarine blue paint across the bed sheets. The next two hours are devoted to her other passion, boxing, until a persistent inner voice insists it’s time to paint. TV on, sound off, music like Zappa or Miles Davis or some Rock and Roll and it’s time to pick up the brush and start painting. “Whatever is in my head that morning springs out onto the canvas,” Jill says. She works with images of objects she’s already observed, but which come through the way her mind’s eye interprets them. The whole time, Jill is feeling and drawing energy from the excitement of the city outside her SoHo window.
Jill has had numerous solo and group shows and her work can be seen in galleries around the country.