29 April 2014

Stephanie J. Frostad: In a Modest House

Rick Phillips provides extensive coverage of local art, artists and art events through Missoula Cable Access Television. I'm honored that he took the time to develop this exploration of my work, and to some extent, the setting in which it is created.

22 April 2014

Creativity & Resourcefulness

Scavengers I, II, III, 2014. Mixed media on wood panels.

I've always been something of scavenger. Many artists are. Curiosity, a delight in discovery, a practical need for materials prod us out, seeking. One never knows what one will find. One can only imagine what one might do with it. This is part of the reason I believe that creativity and resourcefulness are linked and overlapping qualities.

There is a certain alchemy to image-making. Transformation is part and parcel of the creative process. Here, for example, a combination of minerals and oil take the form of clouds and grasses, planks and trees, birds and human beings. Further still, they come together in an illusion of space, where time unfolds.

Dawn or dusk? I often work with these transitional times of day. But this light is rather eerie, suggesting the strange incandescence we experience during Fire Season in the West. I did want to evoke some sense of disaster -if not immediate, than in the recent past. This landscape, and its inhabitants are in need of refreshment and recovery. And why not place those crows, those diligent and ubiquitous scavengers in the foreground, as models for their human companions, also seeking? 

10 April 2014


I've chosen to make my home in Missoula, Montana. Season by season, Missoula continues to settle into me. 

And so I was honored to be approached by the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula to create an image for their celebratory exhibit of Missoula's first fifty years (1863-1913). In some ways this project clarified how much my work, though anachronistic, is not truly historical. I am generally more interested in heritage, the ethos of a place, than I am all the facts and artifacts on the ground. But I am very glad to have learned more about those specifics for this place I am growing into.

Settlement, 2013. Oil on art board, 16x20".

Settlement Studies: Sapling, Hellgate Canyon, Water Bearer, all 2013.

03 April 2014

Bearing Witness

First in December of 2013, and then in late March of 2014, I took one of the strangest assignments of my career as an artist. Initially employed by a local television station, I served as a sketch artist for the Jordan Graham trial at Missoula's Federal Courthouse.

This assignment fully employed my powers of observation in a very unusual and intense setting. To some extent the physical conditions (distance, obstacles, limited time) prevented me from taking down, or taking in precisely what I hoped to. Working furiously during those hours in court, it was also difficult to process all that I was witnessing. And yet because of this effort, I am more acutely aware of how much drawing -a way of looking- is enmeshed with listening, sensing in more comprehensive ways. And the lingering question is, how receptive is it healthy to be in such a situation? 

Art (my art, your art, The Arts) is such a marvelous way to experience and expand empathy. I never what to deny or discourage that ennobling power. But I still wonder just how far one can open in the presence of all this heartache, to do the job and do it well. Perhaps that need to close off, if only temporarily to all that is unfolding, reveals that this work simply isn't art, merely reportage?