01 Oct Stephenson Showcase: Jerry Dreesen’s “My Career Retrospective”
The arts have been part of Jerry Dreesen’s life for over 60 years. In his twenties, poetry was his passion, but in his fifties Jerry fell in love with painting. His introduction to Haiku fascinated Jerry, which then evolved into Haiga (Haiku with an accompanying painting). “I started doing [Haiga] and it became more so that I enjoyed the painting at least as much as the poetry. So I decided to spend all my energies on the painting.”
His first painting sold by accident. A coffee shop in Cicero had been hanging local artwork and Jerry had a watercolor of a rooster. He thought he would “hang it for the heck of it.” But to Jerry’s surprise somebody bought it! “I didn’t think anyone would buy it and I didn’t intend for someone to buy it. That surprised me, so, I thought, let’s try it again.”
Jerry has been painting, sculpting, and creating ever since. “A lot of the work I’ve done, it just happens. I will see something outside that inspires me, or a picture in a magazine—that I’d like to do that in my own style. A lot of times it’s just something that stews in my head and just stays there and stays there until it forms an image. Then it gets done.” Jerry prefers to paint in his study and stay there until he’s finished. Though that “hardly ever happens because I have a life, but I’m a fast painter. I prefer to get in the zone and do as much as I can.”
“My Career Retrospective” is the title of Jerry’s showcase this October in the Stephenson house. He looks back on his decades of artwork and feels that now is the time “because I’m 83 and I don’t know how much longer I am going to be painting; I’m just being practical.”
While he gravitates towards abstract art, Jerry thoroughly enjoys Pop Art. Experimentation is key, for this self-taught artist. “The point is to create something that you like, that makes you feel good, that you see and feel like you can interpret—is all that matters. If you like it, then it’s a success.”
“My Career Retrospective” will be on display October 1-30 in the Stephenson house on Nickel Plate Arts campus. A reception will be held in conjunction with October First Friday from 6pm-9pm on campus.