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New Art Exhibits on Display

walking_to_school_150.jpgJohns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus is featuring the works of two local artists in an exhibit that will be on display until mid-November at 9605 Medical Center Drive in Rockville. All art exhibits are free and open to the public.

Mishka Jaeger's exhibit is called “Illustration Really.” Olga Bauer’s exhibit is called “Awakening.” Each brings her own viewpoint to her creative endeavors.

Hopkins Happenings asked Jaeger and Bauer to tell us about their work.

Hopkins Happenings: Tell us about yourself.

Jaeger: I’m a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and visual artist living in Reston, Va., with my husband, two small kids and one large, furry cat. Born a fourth-generation New Yorker, I spent my formative years in Arkansas, my teen years back in New York, and my twenties in Los Angeles. I earned a BFA in theatrical design from Syracuse University in 1993 and completed continuing studies in children's illustration at UCLA in 1997.

Bauer: I am a full time artist, currently living and working in Chevy Chase, Md. I was born in Mongolia to Ukrainian parents and I grew up in Belarus. I lived in Paris, where I studied French language and French Art History, and I also lived in Moscow before I moved to Chevy Chase in 2008. I have a Master’s degree in Linguistics.

Hopkins Happenings: How’d you get into art and decide to become an artist?

Jaeger: I’m not sure I ever wanted to be an artist. I think it’s always been what I am, how I move through and deal with the world. Bad things happen, good things happen, and I’m driven to create. It’s a mode of communication and self-expression. Having a creative outlet helps me get through the things I can’t control in my life.

I come from a professional but creative family. Being a creative was supposed to be a hobby. That might have been the smarter career choice, financially.

Awakening.JPGBauer: Art has been my passion since early childhood. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and sketching. I started taking oil painting classes about 10 years ago when I moved to the United States. I had a great privilege to study with teacher Doris Haskel. Doris inspired and encouraged me. I’m forever grateful to he,r and I think I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. Doris was heavily influenced by Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning and other New York school painters as well as by Braque, Matisse and Cezanne. My favorite painters are Picasso and Matisse.

I also studied with Erin Johnson at Artworks Fine Art Studio in Bethesda; and Walt Bartman, Maud Taber-Thomas, Jordan Bruns and Gavin Glakas at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo. I learned a lot from each instructor and I appreciate their talent, patience, guidance and their openness in sharing their knowledge and technique.

Hopkins Happenings: What kind of art do you do? What materials do you use?

Jaeger: Story is at the heart of my work. It’s illustration, really. I love having control over the little worlds I create — each little image in each little story. I create vignettes and slices of life the way I want them to be.

Right now my primary medium is colored pencil, but I love experimenting with everything. The medium is a part of the story too, and can enhance or detract from what I’m trying to communicate.

Bauer: I mostly create abstract pieces and work on large-scale canvas in oil and acrylic. I also enjoy creating mixed media collages on art board. I continue studying portraits and I do a lot of portrait studies in charcoal.

Hopkins Happenings: What is your approach for creating a work of art? What is your inspiration?

Jaeger: Sometimes I start with detailed sketches that I digitize and composite on the computer. If I’m using dry media such as colored pencil, I’ll print in light k-tones directly onto art paper. If the media is wet, like inks and paints, I’ll use a light box. Sometimes I don’t sketch or digitize at all but just jump right in. Each medium requires a different approach.

Is it cliché to say that inspiration is everywhere in the world around us? To be honest, I can be inspired by anything at random if I’m in the right mindset. I tend to have too many ideas at once and too many projects in the works at any one time. I’m scatterbrained. I’m not yet sure if that’s a bug or a feature.

Bauer: A lot of things inspire me really, mostly nature and people. I create my works out of a visual impression. I seek to capture the experience, the mood, the emotions, and the atmosphere of the places and events that inspire me. To me, abstract art doesn't represent what we see but rather it represents what we feel and what we think. I usually do not depict objects. Instead I use color and shape to suggest things.

I'm one of those people who doesn’t rationalize art. I prefer to feel it. So when people tell me they don't understand abstract art, I always tell them they don't need to understand it. Because there's a lot of spontaneous energy when I create my pieces, it gives a certain freedom to my spirit to create whatever I feel at that particular moment. That's why I think all art is abstract. You just need to be open to receive the message.

One of my favorite quotes is by Vincent van Gogh: “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Hopkins Happenings: What do you hope viewers of your art experience upon seeing the exhibit?

Jaeger: Art has the power to change and influence people’s moods and how they relate to the world. If I have that power at all in my work, I’d like to think I use it do to good. This is why my work is mostly colorful and peaceful. I hope some of it is thought provoking in its own way. Nothing big and grand, but I’m aiming to add a little more light into the world.

Bauer: I hope viewers will be able to feel what I felt when I was creating my artworks. I also hope they’ll be able to feel a positive energy that I would like to share with them (yoga and meditation help me to preserve this energy, accumulate it and share with others) and I hope viewers will be able to find something in my works that will resonate with their soul.