Jeanie Thorn began her art education at Boston University School of Fine Arts and continued her studies at Arizona State University College of Architecture where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Design. After learning to weld she decided to combine her love of art and architecture to create unique works with a modern clean line sensibility. She’s best known for her welded steel sculpture.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: I’m working out the details for my next piece. But I’m also working on some jewelry and I’m taking a casting class so I’m playing with some shapes in wax that I will eventually cast in bronze.
Q: Why do you make art?
A: I wouldn’t know how not to. It’s in my blood.
Q: What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it junkyard find?
A: I was in Santa Fe a couple of months ago and found this great antique door with iron mesh and this hand carved wood board. I brought them home and included them in my latest wall sculptures.
Q: What is your least favorite technique that you still use anyway?
A: Don’t have one. If I don’t like doing something I figure out another way to get it done. For the most part I just accept every technique as part of the process.
Q: What’s your favorite tool or material?
A: Favorite material is anything metal: steel, copper, bronze, silver. Favorite tool is any thing that gets hot (torch, welder, plasma cutter, kiln) so I can change the metal’s shape or manipulate it in some way.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
A: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I reread it all the time. It keeps me grounded.
Q: What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?
A: Several years ago I took a week long boot camp plein air painting class. We painted from 9am to 7pm everyday. It was pretty intense. We were outside all day and it was hot but when I came home I did this great big (5’x 4’) painting of a chair. I consider it my best. I’m also inspired any time I walk along the ocean. On a trip to Santa Barbara I walked the beach collecting shells and used them in one of my favorite steel wall pieces I named “Breakwater”.
Q: What’s the last thing you cooked?
A: A cheese omelet. I love breakfast.
Q: If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?
A: My fantasy is shades of white on white (did you know that white light contains all the other colors?) but since I live in a world with (things that make things dirty) a husband, a cat and metal dust I surround myself with wabi sabi colors. I prefer grayed out secondary hues like green, orange and purple. I have a Tibetan rug with all of these colors.
Q: Do you have a talisman/power garment/magical thing you wear?
A: Just my welding helmet. I tell people I make magic in the dark.
Q: What’s your favorite place in all the world?
A: I love the ocean but also love the deserts around Phoenix.
Q: What one thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
A: Travel more.
Q: What’s the best day you’ve ever had?
A: Any day I’m able to get lost in making art. It’s bliss.
Q: What’s today’s Word to Live By?
A: One word? That’s hard. I keep a mantra on my computer that I read everyday. I can’t remember where I got it but one part of it says, “I detach about how the answer needs to arrive and become wildly and radically open to the Devine.” There’s more but I don’t want to bore you.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: Cool shoes.
Q: What do you listen to when you create?
A: Jesse Cook. I also like classical.
Q: With whom would you love to spend one day making art?
A: Louise Nevelson. She proved that women can be sculptors. Seeing her work when I was younger is what inspired me to do what I do. It think it was because she was a woman. So if that inspires other women, then that’s good.
Q: When is your favorite time of day?
A: Early morning watching the sunrise.
Q: What is on your workspace right now?
A: Cardboard models, small wax shapes, lots of rocks and other organic material I pick up on my hikes.
Q: What is your earliest memory?
A: Coloring with crayons.
Q: What’s your one favorite material thing?
A: I’m really attached to my art while I’m creating it but have to detach when it gets sold so I’ve learned to let go of material things. Plus by doing so I am able to accept feedback (whether positive or negative) without taking it personally.
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for artists?
A: Live your life by your expectations not someone else’s. You’re never too old, it’s never too late, don’t be afraid to succeed.
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