Chester Kasnowski, trained in traditional art practices and theories, also embraced and delved into contemporary art movements that showed promise and hope in adding to the tradition. He has excelled and exhibited conceptual art, computer art, and video art during the tumultuous art period from 1970 to 1985. Returning to his roots in painting, watercolor, and oil pastels, he now produces and exhibits highly charged visual works that draw energy of earlier efforts and combines multiple ideas to speak of values found in the visual world, art history, and arts future based on strong foundations.
Chester Kasnowski earned a combined BFA from Dayton Art Institute and the University of Dayton and MFA from Tulane University. Kasnowski has taught art for more than 30 years, lectured, written art reviews, given workshops, and was a curator of education at the New Orleans Museum of Art and gallery director of the Southern Vermont Arts Center. He has received many awards including a National Endowment for the Arts grant. He has exhibited his works worldwide in one-man as well as group shows. His works are in numerous private collections as well as museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the London Tate Gallery, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Mr. Kasnowski is forever grateful and honors the three important teachers who taught and befriended him—Harold Carney, Meyer Schapiro, and James Steven.
My teaching technique is fast paced, information packed, and a hands-on approach with repeated demonstrations drawn or painted for all the students to see. I use a digital projector with some PowerPoint and prepared art image presentations. Historical art and contemporary visual art are both employed to express a continuum and as examples to generate ideas and to implore techniques.
If the web is available I use my laptop to project art from the collections of the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Guggenheim, and other major art museums in a real-time manner. In other words, a question regarding impressionism would lead to a projection of art from the Musee d’Orsay or the Musee’ Marmottan, or find and project a Renoir exhibition somewhere in the world as part of the answer. This also allows me to project the painting at its actual size. This is a valuable aspect that adds important meaning to understanding an art work.
I express an equal value for analytical and emotional understandings to promote individual creativity. Even in group art workshops, I insist on one-on-one instruction. I guide each student using analytical drawings (the art elements) first of other artists works and then of their own. With repeated use of the visual language of the elements of art the student begins to see the world in terms of lines, textures, value, shapes, etc. The goal is to be able to use these critical skills on their own endeavors. The student begins to see with enhanced clarity what they are producing. At the same time, after study of the students work, I help them identify, in general, their unique fingerprint emotions that are translating visually onto the canvas. This aspect approaches the important soul of painting.
I stress that creativity is not a subject that can be taught. An art teacher can only strive and hope to be a source of tools, techniques, motivation, focus, and inspiration that will allow students to become accomplished creatively through their own desire, willpower, and work.