Artist Statement

Creating harmony out of chaos is a driving factor in my work. Painting allows me to have the freedom to create things without the expense of building them, like a novelist constructing a Cathedral or a science fiction writer establishing a colony on another planet. I can stretch my imagination while perfecting my craftsmanship. In doing so, the simple act of painting slows my thinking to let it rest. In this way, chaos and calm work together to soothe my soul, bringing balance and primal energy to my life’s work. 

I surround myself with the latest technologies and the people who have the skills to make them work. It is refreshing to learn every day as part of a team of engineers. Meanwhile, at night, I like to play with basic materials like pencils, inks, and oils. The choice of the medium I use depends on both my whim and the pace at which I wish to work. I keep many projects in motion at the same time, staggering the works according to completion times, ranging from hours and days to months and years. It takes long periods of time to complete big projects. Large paintings need time to dry between coats, and patience to resolve composition and form. It helps to have small wins along the way to keep my mind sharp and cheerful. 

I am continually experimenting with the latest software. Even so, I relish my time working with hand tools and the materials used by the old masters. Technology is trying to mimic old-school techniques. In approaching them, it is also inventing new tools. The results are disruptive, but I do not think they will ever replace the old masters’ methods. I enjoy the challenge and continue to work in multiple mediums. Here is a short list: oil, pencil, watercolor, encaustic, glass, clay, paper, wood, digital, and found materials. 

As an artist, my mind is like a microphone, sensing materials, sounds, and feelings. Everything is possible. Everything has limits. I am a composer, and the canvas is my orchestra. 

Most of my work starts with intimate drawings. I have standardized on 14” x 20”, Fabriano Acquarello cold-pressed 100% cotton grana fina 140 lb., watercolor paper. It may sound quirky, but I always cut the last inch off the block of paper, so I end up using 14” x 19” sheets. That size feels right to me and fits perfectly into my travel art bag, which I carry everywhere. 

I love drawing things I can study in person. Musicians are my favorite models. As a band starts playing, I feel the rhythm and begin drawing as if I am playing an instrument along with them. Usually, the drawing is just about finished when they complete the set. I also love to visit museums; they are perfect places to explore. On a good day, I will arrive when the museum opens and will be the last one to leave when it closes. My entire goal for the day is two drawings. Over a two-week vacation, drawing daily, I can have enough finished drawings completed to last a year of painting. 

I look at my subjects very carefully, paying extra attention to the lighting, especially the nuances that form through happenstance. I believe I cannot really see what I am looking at until I try to draw it; it takes patience and focus, but if I take the time, I am rewarded, the model unpeels itself to reveal its essence. 

After capturing an initial drawing, I intentionally practice letting go, seeing where my mind can take it. My inspiration might be anything: mythology, Art History, previous drawings, patterns, perhaps a book or a story, anything that catches my attention. 

For instance, I recently drew a lush landscape including trees with Spanish moss hanging over them in North Florida. The following day I went to a concert, brought the same drawing pad, and by chance decided to draw the musicians on top of that landscape, integrating the two. The result is a dreamscape I titled Gypsy Tears, the name of the band. Once I had the concept, I did it again with my iPad. 

For me, art is fundamentally about exploration. Through my life’s work, I can conjure a realm of possibilities to the forefront of my mind. This exercise loosens my thinking, like yoga for the body, so that when I approach a problem, I try to keep the solutions broad. It makes a big difference to approach challenges in your life with an open mind. 

To use an analogy, when a little sand enters the mouth of an oyster, the oyster becomes irritated. To soothe the nuisance, the oyster applies the same mineral it uses to make its shell. In doing so, layer after layer of nacre, better known as Mother-of-Pearl, coats the irritant and forms a natural gem, an iridescent pearl. I believe this is the same thing that motivates me. I use my natural tendency to convert disorder into something pleasing. 

If I had to describe my work in one word, I would use the verb ‘curative,’ meaning ‘to make better,’ as in, let us make the world better. 

Stephen Shooster aka Shoosty® 

February 2019 

Short Biography

Stephen Shooster, also known as Shoosty® was born 1958 in Chester, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art with a minor in Architecture, 1982 at The University of Florida, and enjoyed a successful corporate career by day and a prolific painting career by night. He is also the author of, ‘The Horse Adjutant,’ a story about a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, and is featured in Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Art.

From Local Beginnings to Global Response

Shooster’s corporate career took him from working with his family in an answering service business, using old-fashioned wooden switchboards to navigating the company successfully through the convergence of computers and telephony, patenting software along the way that is the de facto method used by all call centers today. His company, Global Response, serves some of the finest brands in the world, including Toyota, Lane Bryant, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA - The Modern Museum of Art.

Shoosty® by Night, Invoking the Spirits  

Using the signature Shoosty® his painting career spans over 50 years and is recognizable by his trademark use of color and shape. Influenced by travel, music, tribal cultures and family, Shoosty’s work takes the viewer on a wild ride invoking the spirits of Picasso, Braque, Gauguin, Chagall, Matisse, Ad Reinhardt and even Illustrated Manuscripts to create his paintings which range from the sublime to groovy. Shoosty’s sculpture and paintings are rare. They appear in a few public and private collections around the world.

Construction for Eternity

Combining his artistic ability with his zeal for technology and lifelong learning, Shoosty® is as comfortable with oil paints as he is with technology. His primary concern is using the arts to provide creative leadership to those that surround him.

Catalogs of Work

Please enjoy these catalogs of my work in PDF format. Just click on the links to view them.

Complete Biography (PDF)
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