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About Stiller

In the beginning I was born in New York City. I grew up looking at everything. The quirky visual anomalies that I would observe back then, still hold my interest; patterns, woven shapes of visual space, objects balanced and water. 

Visual arts is a persistent pursuit,  my core nature is visual.    You will see  on this website a wide variety of work and projects over many years.  The aesthetic across the whole is direct, an exploration of ideas.  The body of work speaks more about me than anything I could say on this page.  I am a  constantly changing hats, materials, techniques, that is also my nature.   I have always considered myself to be a sculptor  although most recently painting has my heart, in particular painting for theater.  

I come to teaching from a clinical background. I was an Art Therapist,  specializing in early development,  using art-making as the context for relationships and communication.  Using art as  a means for assessment. I was in clinical practice for 16 years, working in addictions, then with autistic children and  with  AIDS patients, cancer patients and children in medical settings.  The clinical mindset is part of my thinking.  By 1998 I was moving my work away from the  clinical dialogue towards interactions labeled "teaching" (Art).  The implied roles of "student and teacher", rather than client and therapist can be conducive to health on both sides of the table.   I taught many studio workshops  in NYC at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for visitors with special needs, in the New York City public schools  with a wide range of non-traditional students, in parks, at hospitals and in public housing.In NYC it is possible to work freelance.  

Later, moving to Ithaca, teaching sculpture at the State University of New York College at Cortland  was a return, after many years in the small spaces of NYC, to my own practice of making sculpture. I had missed the materials, the robust physical process and the meaning of objects!

I have found that much of what we know about art and the visual world is innate. It only needs to be pointed out to be understood.  Abovoagogo Art Studio opened in April of 2010. I set out to teach young children a  curriculum based on what I had been teaching at the college;  sculpture, drawing, painting and composition. We have a visual aesthetic that is active from the time we are very young.  Young children learn visual concepts  seamlessly, taking it on like language. They know what they like and should be allowed to follow that.  With early training children become visually aware.   Abovoagogo was, a small store front art school, a laboratory for teaching and visual ideas, a place for young artists to do serious studio work. It opened in 2010 and closed in 2016.    In the studio we present enticements. Art is fun, magical and messy.   What we teach is techniques, process, composition, line color form, appropriate to age.   What is learned is self – expression, the confidence to take action on aesthetic choices, how to make something out of nothing.        

 

 

Registered Art Therapist # 88-1011
B.A. Psychology, Ithaca College, Ithaca New York. 1978
M.F.A. Sculpture, S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo, New York. 1983
M.S. Clinical Art Therapy, S.U.C. at Buffalo, New York. 1986

 

 

Abovoagogo ©2010 - 2019 by Stiller Zusman.  Website by Mixplex