Studio Tour: Jay Strommen

Thanks to Dave Hopkins (aka Decorator Dave) for organizing a group to visit his good friend, the very talented artist Jay Strommen‘s nearly 8000 square feet south side loft. A potter and painter, Jay earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has taught classes in various locales, most recently Lill Street Art Center and Gallery Parkwest. Although he’s focusing on his art now, Jay’s a natural teacher, and as he showed us around his space, the little group fell into the mode of students hanging on the every word of the popular, passionate professor.

Floor space can seem limited in even the largest apartments and condos. Most of us expand to fill the space we have. But with nearly 8000 square feet, Jay doesn’t have the same limitations, and he’s used the extra floor space to create interesting pieces of art. Pennies coalesced into a skull on the floor asks us to question the very concept of permanence and the lack thereof; and a toy truck placed probably intentionally asks the unanswerable (the best kind of question). Nearly the entire space is about art. The care Jay takes in photographing his ceramics reveals that art is present even in the day-to-day minutia. What’s not gallery or workspace is dedicated for downtime, including a break room complete with flat screen TV mounted to an original wood structural beam and a lofted napping area with a window where Jay can survey his work and even catch a glimpse of the Chicago River, which runs alongside the back of the building.

A penny for your thoughts? Bwah-ha-ha-haaaaaa!!!!

But Jay has even more space offsite; his kiln’s located in the far west suburbs, which I was reminded of by one of Jay’s recent Facebook status updates: enjoying the most beautiful drive to the kiln. the best he’s seen in the 12 odd years driving in parts! simple man. Another said hunted mushrooms all afternoon, not a shot was fired….. (You can tell a lot about a person from their Facebook updates). When the kilns are cold, Jay paints, and his beautiful canvases add yet another layer to his loft. “Full blast art man,” Jay said in a recent e-mail. Thanks Jay!

For more Decorating Dave fun, you might enjoy the following posts:

Open House: Dave’s Lakeview Luxury

The Urban Entertainer: Dave and Jeremy’s Dinner Party and the Art of Urban Magic (Plus! Entertaining Tips)

Open House: Dave and Jeremy’s holiday party

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3 Responses to “Studio Tour: Jay Strommen”

  1. Yay, we haven’t had a studio tour in quite some time. I hope you didn’t step or fall into the middle of those pennies and have to spend the rest of your visit putting them back.

  2. Jay’s studio has the ideal setup for generating great ideas: a huge lounge-type chair, an immense stack of wonderful books beside it, and a huge TV. I could really get inspired there myself!

    Great tour, and what a great variety of art forms all under one roof.

    Carol the Editor will e-mail you separately with a vocabulary note.

  3. What a fabulous visual tour!!!!! Inspired photography!