Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennyfer Stratman.
Jennyfer, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I made my first ceramic sculpture of a reptilian creature when I was 3 years old. I was fortunate to have a home and school environment that nurtured my need to create. By the time I was at ASU my ceramic sculptures were becoming so tall and thin that they were often breaking under their own weight and gravity! It was then decided that I should attempt these forms in cast metal. My professor, Mary Bates Neubauer, opened a door to the foundry world…and I never looked back.
I later married an Aussie that I had met years earlier whilst traveling throughout Europe. I continued with my art, gained representation at one gallery then more followed. Now I am able to practice as a full-time artist splitting my time between Melbourne, Australia and here in Phoenix. The drive to create consumes my life in many forms: making art, gardening, cooking/baking, renovating and building my home and studios. I was born a maker and am restless when I don’t have 10 projects on the go at once.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work is ultimately about connections with the universe, with nature and with each other. Whether scientifically proven or that which is still a mystery, the interconnectedness of all things informs and inspires the way I make art and the way I live. My primarily medium is metal: cast bronze, steel, aluminum and pewter, though I often mix this with wood-working, ceramics etc. I enjoy the contradiction of transforming these hard materials into something delicate, detailed and descriptive. There is a sort of spiritual force in these earth-based materials that translates well with the conceptual side of my practice. My sculpture references botany, astronomy and humanity with a story-telling narrative that often has several layers of interpretation.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
If you are truly passionate about what you do, have talent, are disciplined enough to work VERY hard, are resilient and resourceful, then an artist life is possible.
Staying adaptable is important in any industry these days. If you are an artist, you’ll find ways to make it work. What I didn’t know when I graduated from art school is how many different paths you can navigate within the ‘art world’. I think the type of work you make sort of dictates which direction is best. I know artists who make a living from selling work through art fairs and galleries. those who get grants and museum funding, those who sell straight from their studio and those who have other occupations to support their art habit because they don’t like the business of selling work. Being an artist certainly isn’t the easiest path, but I couldn’t think of a more fulfilling pursuit.
Phoenix is an interesting and evolving place to be an artist. There are no old-world traditions here holding us back, which allows for a special kind of freedom. There are so many talented and energetic artists who are making their mark here and helping one another. Of course, it’s not perfect, and I wish there were more venues and financial supporters, but as someone who was raised in Phoenix I think it’s come a long way. I think what Mesa has done with the affordable housing model for artists is brilliant and should be replicated all over.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is exhibited in galleries throughout the US, Australia and London. (see website for details)
Locally, I have a public sculpture on display in the Heritage District of Gilbert, just south of the American Legion. (206 N. Gilbert Rd, Gilbert) This was commissioned via a grant from the INFLUX AZ public art program.
In October I will have a piece in Chaos Theory 19 (Legend City Studios, Phoenix). In November I will have work in the Sisao Gallery as part of the Carmody Foundation Grant exhibition. (1501 Grand Ave, Phoenix)
Unfortunately, the owner of the Calvin Charles Gallery in Scottsdale where I was represented for the past 15 years just retired and the gallery is now closed. I can now be contacted directly for studio visits in Phoenix.
- Website: https://stratmanstudio.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stratmanstudio/ AND https://www.instagram.com/jennyferstratman/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StratmanStudio/
Davin Lavikka and Paul Marcow