1) Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a graduate of Pratt Institute and have a degree in Industrial Design. My career has spanned over 20 years in the TV and film industry, first as a set decorator and then as a producer of how-to television, specializing in the home arts. My career coincided with and then focused on publishing how-to books, and then designing and producing content marketing for the craft publishing and manufacturing industry.
My current work is informed by the power of words and quotes and strives to elevate the words to art with font choices, the materials they are made of, techniques used to create them and the surfaces they are presented upon.
I strive to combine the words, fonts, images and materials in the most ironic and unexpected ways possible to create something that is both aesthetically pleasing and meaningful.
My work includes large modular installations created with unusual things like bricks and paper, embroidery and wood along with traditional acrylic paint, watercolor and porcelain.
The best compliment I can receive is for the viewer to have a laugh out loud or “ah-ha” moment of getting the joke or juxtaposition hidden within the art or in plain view but requires a bit of contemplation.
2) How did you first become interested in art?
I would answer this question by going way back to my early childhood. I had the type of parents who gave me recycled copy paper leftover from the office, empty boxes, crayons, scissors and tape rather than coloring books and finished “toys.” This gave me the opportunity to design and make the things I wanted, such as a DIY dollhouse that I then created the furniture and wallpaper as well as clothing for the dolls in the house. An example I remember fondly is how I could transform a cupcake paper into both a pleated lampshade and a skirt for the doll.
Throughout the years my creativity bounced around into all sorts of areas. Summers were when I could take creative classes and be part of theater where inevitably I ended up painting sets and sewing costumes more than being on stage.
I loved art classes in high school and made the clear decision that the next 4 years was going to be at an art school. Once I dipped my toe in TV production my first career was a no-brainer.
Then opportunities and the world changed with the Internet and I simply evolved and adapted to take advantage of all these new creative outlets by designing and producing DIY content which came very easily to me, having a methodical and creative thought process.
Now focusing on art for art sake I simply require whatever “it” is to have a meaning as well as be visually appealing.
3) How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
When the pandemic hit and we all were asked to stay home, I was a-ok with that as I work from home and completely happy in my own little world. I simply focused all my energy into making art and eventually knew that all the art shows I had been scheduled to be in would happen, just somewhere down the road.
Then a month or so in I channeled my inner John F. Kennedy and thought, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” I asked myself how I might be able to make things better for all of the people that might not be handling the isolation as well as I was.
Inspired by the hashtag #PutArtInYourYard, I started the Burbank Neighborhood Gallery at Oak and Fairview. (#BurbankNeighborhoodGallery at #OakAndFairview on Instagram). I placed clear page protector pockets on my fence with the words “Your Art Here” stamped on cardstock and a sign inviting artists of all ages to share their work.
As of the time of this writing there are close to 60 pieces of art on the wall and virtually all who pass by stop to enjoy it and if they see me say how much they appreciate that I set this up. It makes their day.
I also participated in National Arts Drive and opened up my garage studio last Saturday where people came by and I had an opportunity to engage with them and hear their insights into my art. With all the gallery shows cancelled I was missing this dialog without realizing I was missing it.
4) If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
“It only has the meaning you give it.”
More and more I am realizing that people see things in so many different ways. I create art that I see a certain meaning in and someone else can see something completely different in it that I never would have thought of or even known about. It has been truly unexpected and enlightening to me.
It has inspired me to watch documentaries about artists that delve into their histories and the meaning they intended in their art that can often make the art more interesting and thought provoking.
To learn more about Stefanie’s work, visit her websites http://recycledcrafts.craftgossip.com/, http://sweatersurgery.blogspot.com/, http://thecardalbum.blogspot.com/, or follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/stefanielgirard/.