Black Net, 2014I'm so happy to have Jody Mussoff as our featured artist this month! Jody is a well established and prolific artist, concentrating on drawing and ceramics. She's been showing her work since the mid-70's and has a pretty impressive resume - her work is in the public collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, DC to name a few.
I fell in love with her work immediately after seeing it at Gathered in Front Royal, VA. Her work is fun, whimsical, expertly executed, thoughtful and clever. Although, she considers herself as retired, she continues to crank out work in her home studio and keeps Tin Top stocked with her original drawings, prints, cards and ceramics.
Read on to learn more about her. And be sure to come into Tin Top Art and Handmade!
When did you decide to pursue art as your profession?
It was my identity and my decision as long as I can remember - since I was 5, maybe.
Did you study art in school?
I had a year of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon, and 2 years at the Corcoran School of Art. My year at Carnegie Mellon could easily be considered 'anti-art' school, but that's another story.
How did you get to where you are today?
1. Supportive parents:
Growing up, I had parents who supported my talent - sent me to art schools as a child, and encouraged me in countless ways.
2. Creative energy, discipline, and a good full-time job:
As a young adult, I worked hard making lots of drawings, and I was a federal employee. The latter supported the former. I worked in a wonderful museum - the Hirshhorn - as a library technician for most of that time, so I was surrounded by art books, art, and art people.
3. Galleries to represent me, and a bit of diversity:
When I was about 26, I found a gallery in DC who represented me and had many exhibits of my work for over 20 years. The owners of that gallery introduced my work to a NY gallery, who showed my work also, for about 10 years. A Swedish gallery owner had a couple of solo shows for me in the 80s. Plus solo shows and group shows in various places in the US. All that peaked in the late 80s and 90s, and dwindled down by 2005 or so. In the 90s, I also turned to making ceramics as a respite from the occasional monotony of drawing. The challenge of the 3D work was a welcome change.
4. Age and location:
I am now retired, more relaxed, and making smaller, more whimsical drawings. Being out of the big city means lots of changes.
Where is your studio?
We live on a hill overlooking a part of the Shenandoah Valley, so my studio for drawing is really our sunroom, where I sit in a chair, looking out at the view, with a table of colored pencils. I have a small pottery studio down the driveway, where I have a wheel (no kiln). And when I draw on my pottery, I sit at my desk where I pay bills, work on the computer, etc.
Vice Versa 2, 2010
Why have you chosen drawing as your current medium?
For the most part, I've made primarily color pencil drawings thoughout the last 30 years. It's a medium that's immediate, not messy or toxic, and very portable. I can get my images out simply and spontaneously. And I love line.
Why do you feel art is important/relevant today?
It taps into and shines a light on the human experience. Makes both the artist and the viewer into observers and interpreters of what we're all living through. Today or a hundred years ago - the same thing.
Is there anything you'd like the public to know about your work upon purchasing it?
The only thing, really, is that the images come from my head, and that these images hope to connect with you in some way.
What is the most gratifying part of making your work?
I'm most gratified when the drawing I make matches the image I have in my head, or if not that, when it evolves into something wonderful that I hadn't expected.
Where do you find inspiration?
Reading books, looking at people, observing my surroundings, paying attention to detail, walking my dog, sitting and visualizing.
How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?
I usually don't force it. I just don't work on anything and eventually an idea will hit me. On the other hand, sometimes if I sit down and start doodling, a drawing will appear. So you never know!
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Funny, honest, introverted, neurotic, irreverent
Describe your work in 5 words.
Colorful, humorous, fictional, symbolic, heartfelt
To learn more and see more of Jody Mussoff's work, check out her website here.