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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 my most 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.  This has been an interesting change from teaching.  

I come to teaching from a clinical background. I am an registered Art Therapist,  specializing in early development,  using art-making as the context for relationships and communication as well as a means for assessment. I was in clinical proactice for 16 years, working in addictions, then with autistic children and  with  AIDS patients, cancer patients and children in medical settings.  These experiences are part of my skill set.  By 1998 I was moving away from the restrictions of the clinical dialogue towards situations labeled "teaching" (Art).  The implied roles of "student and teacher", rather than client and therapist can be more conducive to health.   I taught many studio workshops  in NYC at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for visitor with special needs, also in the New York City public schools for David Marquis Studios, in parks and at hospitals. 

Later, moving to Ithaca, I taught sculpture at the State University of New York College at Cortland and then at Ithaca College. This 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.    We have a visual aesthetic that is active from the time we are very young.  Abovoagogo Art Studio opened in April of 2010.   It was, a smallstore front art school, a laboratory for teaching and visual ideas, a place for young artists to do serious studio work.   I set out to teach children the same  curriculum I had been using at Suny Cortland of sculpture, drawing, painting and composition.  Young children learn fine arts seamlessly, taking it on like language. With early training children become visually aware.   

Abovoagogo Art Studio  was a safe context for social learning, a supportive community for those who were more tentative or vulnerable. You notice that I avoid using any clinical terms for my many students who had social challenges.   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