Exploring the mind and habits of an artist in twenty-five questions
by Stephanie Cassidy | November 19, 2019
At what age did you decide to become an artist?
I began drawing avidly as a child. I took my first art class when I turned seventeen.
How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to be an artist?
My parents were very supportive of me pursuing the arts as they saw my talent from a young age.
Who are your favorite artists?
There are so many artists works I admire for different reasons: Velázquez, Lucian Freud, Alice Neel, Kerry James Marshall, Carrie Mae Weems, Nicole Eisenman, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye… so many more.
Who is your favorite artist whose work is unlike your own?
I love Kiki Smith.
Art book you cannot live without?
Either Andrew Wyeth: Christina’s World, Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, Michaël Borremans: As Sweet As It Gets or Kiki Smith by Helaine Posner.
What is the quality you most admire in an artist?
Persistence in exploration.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
Yes, to sketch out ideas for bigger projects or individual works.
What’s your favorite museum in all the world?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What’s the best exhibition you have ever attended?
Kerry James Marshall: Mastry at the Met Breur.
If you were not an artist, what would you be?
I would still be an artist. If not a painter then a filmmaker.
What is one thing you didn’t learn in art school that you wish you had?
I wish I had learned more to conceptualize work then learn the skills to make it when I was in school. Fortunately, I never stop learning.
What’s your go-to NY museum?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What work of art have you looked at most and why?
I always loved going to the Met to look at the Rembrandts. I also loved going to the modern section to see Anselm Kiefer, Philip Guston, and Mark Tansey’s Innocent Eye Test !
What is your secret visual pleasure outside of art?
I love film.
Do you listen to music in your studio?
Yes, I love what music provides mentally in the studio.
What is the last gallery you visited?
The Drawing Center. I just saw a wonderful exhibition titled, A Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists.
Who is an underrated artist people should be looking at?
What art materials can you not live without?
I love drawing first and foremost, so I’d say a pencil!
Do you paint every day?
I try to create everyday.
What is the longest time you went without creating art?
Hard to say.
What do you do when you are feeling uninspired?
I take myself out of the studio to a museum or go to listen to jazz.
What are the questions that drive your work?
I have so many questions that I continue to ask in my work. Questions of time, memory, and mortality are among many.
What is the most important quality in an artist?
I believe the most important quality of an artist is truly connecting with your own work. Therefore, one’s work must be personal.
What is something you haven’t yet achieved in art?
There is so much I have yet to achieve, which will continue to fuel me as an artist.
What is the best thing about art in the era of social media?
Social media certainly has an uncanny ability to circulate art worldwide.
Jason Bard Yarmosky teaches “Elements of Drawing, Anatomy for Artists” at the Art Students League.