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I am often asked at what point during my life did I decide I was an artist. In spite of the poor grammar, I usually respond with a quote from Will Rogers…”An artist is the only thing a man can say he is and nobody can prove he ain’t.”
I do believe I was born to create. Growing up in the middle of Nebraska in the 1970’s, there was not a lot of exposure to the arts. As a child, I was compelled to draw, paint and construct all sorts of things. If I wasn’t outside exploring the landscape, I was indoors creating. Although my mom kept an immaculate house, she never denied me the opportunity to make an explosive mess of art supplies and found objects. My parents even let me wallpaper an entire bedroom with sheets of abstract designs I created with Mr. Sketch markers.
In 1985, the Nebraska Art Collection took up permanent residence in my hometown of Kearney. The Museum of Nebraska Art gave me the opportunity to enter a “real” art museum for the first time. I found the works that resided there utterly inspiring. Over the next few years, the collection fueled my desire to create pieces of my own.
During my high school years, I took as many art classes as could fit into my schedule. Those classes were my saving grace and the one bright spot in my school day. I was not an athlete, nor was I musically inclined. I wasn’t particularly good at school, and math made my stomach turn. Art was the one thing that felt right, and the only thing that provided me with a much need dose of self-esteem.
I went on to study painting at Colorado State University. I graduated with honors in 1994 and spent the next several years teaching art along the front range of Colorado. It was during my commute to work that I began to notice an increase of human presence on the landscape. Billboards, cell towers and strip malls began popping up along the greenbelts which separated one city from the next. I felt compelled to preserve these quickly vanishing spaces through paintings.
”An artist is the only thing a man can say he is and nobody can prove he ain’t.” – Will Rogers
In 1998, I married my high school sweetheart and moved back home to Nebraska. I was astonished to discover the Nebraska landscapes I explored as a child had also been altered. And so, my preservation through painting continued. This interaction between man and landscape is still reflected in my work today.
In each of my pastels, I add an element of human presence. It might be a road, a passing car, the distant light of a farmhouse or simply a tree planted by human hands. These are reminders of the impact we, as humans, have on our land. It is my hope that by pointing out the beauty in the ordinary, people will better appreciate what they see each day.
I agree with Will Rogers, and I am glad he said what he said. I proved to myself somewhere along the way that I am an artist. I hope those who see paintings passing by them every day have the courage to prove to themselves that they are artists. Because nobody can prove that they ain’t.
After graduating from high school, Jennifer Homan attended Colorado State University where she studied painting. She graduated from CSU in 1994 with a BA and teaching endorsement. During the mid 1990’s, Jennifer taught art at Thompson Valley High School, The Loveland Art Academy and The Loveland Museum.
After marrying her high school sweetheart, Jennifer returned to Kearney where she has been actively involved in supporting the arts and the environment. She works from her studio in downtown Kearney and currently serves as chairperson of Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary Stewardship Board. Jeni devotes much of her spare time to working with aspiring young artists. She is a member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America and her work has been awarded honors at various juried exhibits. Her paintings have been featured in Nebraska Life Magazine and shown at the Museum of Nebraska Art and Omaha’s Cathedral Arts Project.
These words best describe my mixed media collage artwork. A majority of the pieces I have been working on for this art show look different depending on the light. If a light is shown through the paintings it changes the image and new images or colors appear. The rest of the pieces have transparent qualities that show multiple layers.
Color sets the mood for my artwork. The time of year plays into what colors appear in my compositions. From Blues, Reds and Black in the winter time to Greens and White in the summer. I have always used paper as a medium and enjoy cutting it up . Taking one image and turning it in to something unexpected.
Everything is fair game when it comes to components that make up my artwork. One of my favorite things to do is take the scraps from other projects (trash) and sweep it off the floor and make a new piece of art.
I’ve always described my process of make art as painting with paper. Although paper is the main material I use it’s not the only medium I work in. Anything from flowers, leaves, wall paper, metal, feathers, dye, trash, bones, insects, charcoal, oil pastels, acrylic and oil paint. I could list a dozen or more things but you get the idea. Everything is fair game when it comes to components that make up my artwork. One of my favorite things to do is take the scraps from other projects (trash) and sweep it off the floor and make a new piece of art. I have been around art my whole life. Everyone in my family has always been into one form of art or another. The earliest memory of art is watching my Dad paint in the living room in the early 80s. Watching over my sister and me at the age of 4 while going to college to be an art teacher. Now my 4 year old daughter is watching me work on art for this show. It’s amazing how my child can experience art the same way I did at a young age. Being exposed to art at an early age made me want to become an artist. Art is the one thing I never had to struggle with, it’s always been there for me.
Cody Slim Heinert was born and raised in Nebraska along the Niobrara River in the Sandhills. He comes from a family of artists. Cody’s dad is a high school art teacher, his mom is a quilter, one sister is a photographer and the other is a graphic designer. From a young age, Cody knew that he wanted to be an artist. Cody has spent many years coming into his own, trying many different styles and techniques in an attempt to find his own style in mixed medium collage. Cody also enjoys many other types of art forms such as photography, dioramas, leather work and creating bonsais.
Cody currently lives in the very small town of Sparks NE near the Niobrara River and lives with his wife, two kids and his parents. He divides his time running a restaurant and working on the river and finds that there is a lot of down time in the winter that affords him time to concentrate on his art.
More of Cody’s work can be seen in the Fred Simon Gallery from February 23, 2015- April 3, 2015. Opening Artists Reception , February 27, 2015 from 5:00-7:00pm.
I was raised by parents who were scientists and seekers, and who quietly encouraged me to recognize the expansiveness of everyday life. For our family, the joy was in the discovery rather than the containment.
When I work with students, I encourage them to study the subject closely, and in many different ways. We talk about representation, but we focus on simpler things – line, shape, value, space. In this way, the students break down the concept of the object, and open themselves to that which can only be expressed through experience. They can carry this experience with them into life beyond their educational experience.
As an artist, I feel compelled to recognize and celebrate the grandness in ordinary things, and to do so by capturing and containing them.
It’s a bit of a conflict: As an artist, I feel compelled to recognize and celebrate the grandness in ordinary things, and to do so by capturing and containing them. So I try to maintain the immediacy of a subject by focusing less on a physical or emotional connection and more on the joining of several visual pieces, employing the language of the visual as purely as possible in an attempt to prolong the life of the subject. I think abstractly, even when my work is representational.
But for the artwork to survive, the viewer must be willing to continue the conversation begun in the studio, somehow connecting with the work and allowing it to inform daily experience. I try to keep my imagery open and engaging, inviting a viewer to participate differently with each new interaction and to embrace the digressions that appear with each new viewing.
To do this, I study a form many times before I consider it part of my repertoire, often relying on other senses to help get me to a truer expression. Then I can draw the same item over and over and it will become something new to me each time. Such experiences allow me to feel satisfied with never feeling fully comfortable with a subject, with needing to constantly look – because I know that what really changes in each equation is me and my ability to clearly see; and that in the end, I am only documenting myself.
Kristin Pluhacek lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska. Her drawings and paintings have been exhibited extensively in the Midwest, and her work is represented in numerous public and private collections. She has led many project workshops, most recently a mural project in Omaha’s Hanscom Park in collaboration with the UNO SummerWorks program. Kristin is a BFA graduate of Creighton University, a roster artist for the Nebraska Arts Council AiS/C program and a drawing instructor at Metropolitan Community College. Currently, her work can be viewed at Anderson/O’Brien Gallery in Omaha and on line at kkpluhacek.com. She will have a solo exhibit at the Cathedral Cultural Center in Spring 2015.
“Livelihood” is an alteration of the Middle English word, livelode, “course of life,” first recorded in the 15th century. And in that sense, painting is my “livelihood,” my course of life. “When all else fails, I always say, paint a flower,” I like to say. I’ve always loved art, artists, and their contributions to culture but only began working at it in 2004 at the age of fifty-three. I’d always wanted to be an artist –so after ending a long time career as a union organizer, I started painting day after day and night after night. Ten years and thirteen hundred plus paintings later, I’m still discovering creativity in myself that I thought I had, but needed to dig down to, reveal, and express. I am now semi-retired and paint whenever I can. I teach writing part time at Metropolitan Community College, maintain a social/political commentary blog, play my saxophone in an oldies rock and roll band and in a jazz quartet at my church, and sell the occasional painting.
I like living in a synesthetic and creative mix of music, and painting, and writing. Combining mixed media and paint melodies and color metaphors and visual sounds in a silent explosion of color on a multi-dimensional flat canvas satisfies me. With touches of Van Gogh, Matisse, Dufy, Kandinsky, Picasso, Pollock, Lee Krasner, Stuart Davis, Peter Max, Merello, and others, I try to weave together these sensory threads of life into my work.
Living in that place between memory and hope, I continue to explore the desire for meaning we humans experience
Living in that place between memory and hope, I continue to explore the desire for meaning we humans experience—that searching for patterns we can recognize, that comfort zone of the familiar. And yet I find that many of my pieces exist in that world between the recognizable, safe, comfortable — and the illusory, discordant mysteries of structure and form. Some of my works capture the frustrating lack of clarity and meaning we too often witness or experience, but most lean toward the world of comfortable pattern and include the lighthearted whimsy of creation. Sometimes after a long day or week of working on abstract compositions or contemplating the meaning of life, the relativity of perception, the inadequacies of language, and the devaluing of knowledge, I need to paint a flower or a sailboat on the ocean, a happy dog playing a saxophone, a chicken, an abstract world-scape, or go play a round of golf.
I like to say my work has been exhibited at Joslyn Art Museum, and it was, but really it was just a one night only fundraising silent auction dinner in the Atrium! Nevertheless……….
Bud Cassiday graduated with M.A.in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1976. He has exhibited his work at several fine art galleries in Omaha and Eastern Nebraska. Bud has been a guest artist at The Omaha Community Playhouse Stage Right art auction. The Backwaters Press has featured Bud’s work as the cover illustrations for two of its poetry publications. Bud’s sketch of the Durham Science building at UNO has been featured on the cover of several UNO Algebra textbooks. Bud regularly donates his art for non-profit fund-raising events.
Bud was an honorary judge for the YWCA’s Children’s Art Against Violence contest in 2007 and 2008. Bud’s art was featured in 2012 at the UNO Criss Library H. Don and Connie J. Osborne Family Gallery and in 2013 at the Dr. Joyce Norene Wilson Gallery at Bellevue University. Bud’s work can be seen at UNO’s Criss Library, Midlands Hospital in Papillion, Ne., as well as corporate and non-profit organizations including Zaiss & Co., The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation office, and The Nonprofit Foundation of the Midlands. Bud’s liturgical art hangs in the sanctuary at First Central Congregational United Church of Christ at 36th and Harney in Omaha. Hundreds of Bud’s paintings are in private collections.