“I think of each painting as a single picture from a larger story.”
Spectrum is thrilled to host Rochester artist Jonathan Schnapp’s whimsical curiosity-piquing paintings in our lobby throughout the month. We recently had a chance to ask Jonathan a few questions about his work and his artistic journey. Learn a bit about Jonathan by reading his answers below, and then stop by Spectrum to see his work up close!
Q: When and/or what got you into the arts?
A: I have been interested in the arts since I was young. As a shy and introverted kid, drawing and doodling helped me stand out among my peers and it helped me express myself when I couldn’t easily do it with words.
Q: Who do you look up to as an artist?
A: I suppose the “proper” answer would be someone like Picasso. His works are so playful and inventive – it’s that willingness to try something new has always inspired me. But a better answer would be Bill Watterson. Seeing those huge Calvin and Hobbes strips in the Sunday newspaper as a kid was huge inspiration. Bright, colorful, and also very playful and inventive – he showed me that art could be silly while also having depth and meaning.
Q: Do you have a desired medium? Why (not)?
A: Although I went to school for photography, I’ve been sucked in by acrylic painting. It’s something I can just pick up and do for a few minutes at a time and it gives me bright colors that I can layer up quickly. But I do love to experiment. My background has also included printmaking, fiber arts, glassblowing, bookbinding, and collage. Today I’m playing with wood carving, wood burning, drawing, wooden toys, and comic books. Bringing in new elements keeps me interested. I learn new skills and think about image making in new ways.
Q: What is something that has been a struggle for you as an artist?
A: Business and marketing has been the biggest challenge. It’s easy enough to sit and paint and draw for hours. But then the pictures pile up in storage and I realize I have to get them out there in the world and let others enjoy them. Essentially I have to sell myself and turn myself into a business. That kind of self promotion feels forced and awkward and is a slow learning process.
“Drawing helped me stand out among my peers
and it helped me express myself when I couldn’t easily do it with words.”
Q: Do you think your art is easily understood by the viewer or is it commonly difficult for them? Is this intentional? Why (not)?
A: I’m happy that my images often get a great reaction. It’s very gratifying. There’s enough serious and obtuse art out there. But I do think about my paintings in deeper ways that I don’t think people pick up on. Even paintings with chickens can have meaning in them for me and what’s going on in my life. But since they are under the guise of animal characters that’s what people react to.
Q: What are your hopes and goals as an artist?
A: I hope to one day get published. I think of each painting as a single picture from a larger story. Recently I’ve been fleshing those stories out and illustrating them. Ultimately, the goal is to make art full time.