June Artist Spotlight - Teresa Cox

Q: What medium do you use in your own art, Teresa, and which do you use in your teaching?

A: I’m a painter and sometimes also use paper collage in my work. I like the odd photograph, magazine and handmade papers.

With teaching I use a wide range of media. Paints, drawing materials-markers, pencils, pastels and inks, construction papers and collage. I like using photography in lessons which allow the students to explore their own personality and identity. A few of my favorite 3-D lessons use armature and handmade translucent paper for sculptural hats and drawing and constructing architectural facades and buildings inspired by world cultures. Mural painting is always a great community project.

Q: How do you describe your painting style/genre?

A: Fictional landscape. I’m interested in a skewed and dramatized vision somewhere between the familiar/figurative and the mysterious/abstract.

Q: What age groups do you work with?

A: All ages but I have a particular fondness for K-6 and older adult workshops.

Q: What does being a COMPAS artist mean to you?

A: I’m proud to work with an organization like COMPAS that believes in artists and in the power of the arts to foster healthy, meaningful and inspired lives. As a residency artist I have repeatedly witnessed the creative growth in students as they work through the earliest stage of a project into more original ideas and expressions. I can spend a tremendous amount of time working alone in my studio and a COMPAS residency is the complete opposite of that. I love going into a school or hospital or community center knowing that my skills are translatable into working with very diverse populations.

Q: By the end of a week with you, what are 3 things you hope most students have learned? 

A: Everyone is creative and art is really about thinking, communicating and problem solving-it’s about so much more than drawing with a pencil (although that’s cool too).

Creating comes with work and some discomfort. Solving repeated creative challenges pays off with a more disciplined, engaged and expressive mind.

The field of new ideas is fertile with beautiful mistakes.

Q: How does teaching your craft affect your own work?

A: In the classroom there is always a limit on time so when teaching and lesson planning I try to distill things to what seems most essential. I use this thinking in my personal work and it helps me to focus and edit ideas. Lesson planning and research also takes me into directions that I might not have explored-my current collage work really evolved out of regularly using it in some favorite lessons and liking the randomness of overlapping materials. Some of the flushed out lesson examples also become visual notes for future material and process ideas back in the studio.

Q: Will you share a piece of advice for aspiring painters/artists?

A: Not advice for anyone but I can share what helps me in my process. I’ve found it’s important to maintain a sense of progression and engagement with the work I’m doing. I set-up challenges for myself and try to push past the familiar through research and studio time. Right now that’s happening by working on both small and large scale paintings (8’ x 5’) and creating a drawing-a-day for 2013. I also like to read local and national reviews and get out to see exhibitions of other artists work as much as possible.

Q:  What else do you have going on?

A: This Spring I received a State Arts Board Initiative Grant to develop new work. I’m also finishing a piece for a show in New York and paintings for my annual Open Studio Show and an exhibition in Minneapolis this fall.  I’m looking forward to my Summer Studio Classes starting the week of June 24th for 8-12 year olds. We’ll be taking advantage of the summer weather by working outside while experimenting and working on drawing, painting and inventive building projects.