This week we seek answers from Randall Stoltzfus
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
I am trying to make images that communicate that each of us is a part of something bigger. That we are cooperating whether we know it or not. And that light surrounds each one of us and whatever this is we are a part of.
What is an artist’s responsibility?
Personally, my responsibility as an artist is to reduce suffering. So I try to make something that is compassionate on some level. Maybe aesthetic choices can make an object compassionate? But I’ve also been trying to think of other angles on this. Most recently I’ve been working with canvases that appear traditional but are made with consciously sourced or recycled materials.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
I’m an avid amateur gardener, so I get to coax some amazing things from the earth. It doesn’t always work out. I don’t make make the plants, of course. But I do get to be pretty involved in making a space for their lives to take place in, however briefly.
Last summer I finally got a sacred lotus to bloom in my Brooklyn backyard. It’s maybe a little bit of a stretch to have that plant there, since daylight is limited by buildings on every side and it’s a little far north for lotus. It took a couple of years of learning, fending of eager raccoons, and just patience.
But it all worked out and I even had a bloom that decided to open on the weekend. We had an opening reception for it, a garden party with coffee and bagels and some of our beautiful neighbors.
Here’s an early morning time-lapse video I made of the bloom we had the reception for:
What are you currently working on?
I’m excited about a series of paintings about rainbows that I’m working on right now. One of them is a big 10 foot diptych which is very fun but is also taking longer than expected.
I saw several rainbows within a couple of weeks here in Brooklyn and so I tried to learn more about what I was seeing. The idea that the rainbow is happening across this vast field of round water droplets resonated for me. Maybe there was a relationship to the layers of circular brushstrokes I use to paint? I had to try it out.
Randall Stoltzfus at work on a new painting in his studio in Brooklyn
Parapet Acrylic dispersion on polymer canvas, 32 x 40 inches.
Sightline, acrylic dispersion on polymer canvas, 60 x 96 inches.
Lost, acrylic dispersion and iridescence on polymer canvas, 37 x 60 inches.
Corona, acrylic dispersion with gold leaf on recycled polymer canvas, 48 x 60 inches.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
Douglas Witmer http://douglaswitmer.com
Alyse Rosner https://alyserosner.com