Artist Profile: Michael Jurist

Artist Profile: Michael Jurist

Apr 23, 2020

Artist Profile: Michael Jurist

Artist Photo.jpgMichael Jurist has been a self-taught artist since kindergarten. He enjoys experimenting with a variety of mediums including oil, charcoal, and mixed media. After retiring from the Air Force, he now works as a civilian and teaches art at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. His work, Mai, is on display at The Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center in the Artists Who Teach 2020 Exhibition.


What is your earliest memory of visual art?


"My first memory concerning art was the parent-teacher meeting we had in kindergarten over two pieces of art I created.Jurist_Michael_PiePrep.jpg It was a skill I fostered through high school where I was chosen for the gifted and talented program. It was a big part of my life in high school and continued as I entered the United States Air Force. I had a surprising variety of opportunities to try new techniques and projects. I painted building graphics, designed unit Christmas cards, tee shirts, and did caricatures of departing friends. But the military overstepped, continually wanting me to do free work. I put art away for a while, had my family, completed my career and retired. I learned of the 9/11 GI bill and decided to keep a promise to myself and get my art degree."


What is your favorite medium?


jurist.michael.poppies.jpg"I love colored pencil. It appeals to my need to control my work, but even this far along I've recently learned new techniques to use with it. I enjoy working in nearly any medium and try almost any new technique I come across. I like to try to be adept in everything. I think it serves me well as a teacher as well. It allows me to help students in multiple ways if I have experience in many media as well as in the specific curriculum I'm teaching. 


What inspired you to start teaching art?


Jurist_Michael_The Sunbathers.jpg"I decided I wanted to be a teacher while attending TNCC [Thomas Nelson Community College]. I had been a trainer and evaluator the whole time in the AF. Teaching fellow students about my own techniques took me back to my instructor days in the AF and this inspired me to get my Masters degree and begin the pursuit of a teaching career. I started teaching Beginning Drawing classes at the PFAC last year and was geared up for my third session before the lockdowns for the pandemic were put in place."  


mai.jpgWho is an artist that inspires you? 


"While I have some art favorites and some definite dislikes, I find my fellow artists are most inspiring to me. My best friend in high school made me jealous of his ease with portraits and I worked at it till I was as good as he was. My teachers at TNCC made me less fearful of disliked media; challenged me to be more free with my style, and helped me find the words to speak about art. Friends I met in those classes have inspired me to dive into new media and experiment. They've all accepted my need to rebel and buck convention and do art my way. I continue the same approach in my teaching."


Image Credits: The Last Supper (main), Pie Prep (top right), Poppies (top left), The Sunbathers (bottom right), Mai (bottom left).