Today’s climate of COVID-19 (plus, its various ups and downs, variants and subvariants) has posed quite a challenge for many of us. However, Laurie Steinhorst used the mandatory shutdown in New York as a productive time in “re-capturing [her] roots.” As a trained painter, she strayed into mixed media. As an educator, she teaches students who are mainly from lower-income families. She imparts her encouragement and enthusiasm toward them in a competitive world of the Arts.

When students at Mercy and Westchester Community Colleges approach her for advice, she “communicates” to them that the requirements of succeeding include “a level of quality, as well as dedication of time.” Professor Steinhorst often advises her students to consider design/advertising industries as career paths. Offering more job security, these fields provide “well-paying jobs, without sacrificing their love for art.”  

Heidi by Laurie Steinhorst. Image courtesy of the artist.

During a summer program at a “hippy colony in upstate NY,” Miss Steinhorst attended as a ceramics student (not yet focusing on art as a career choice). She gained a lot of encouragement from “the managers at the program.” Later on, she reflects, “I wasn’t certain how I’d make money, but convinced I wanted to be an artist and pursue my own personal work.” When Laurie realized art was her field of study/major, she “made the conscious decision to go the studio/fine arts route rather than commercial.”

She went on to exhibit her artwork in various galleries and alternative spaces. Among her favorite museums are The Museum of Modern Art, as well as The Whitney, taking much interest in their permanent collections.

Little Women by Laurie Steinhorst. Image courtesy of the artist.

Currently, she is working on “a new series of paintings . . . abstract paintings inspired by a desire to combine urban energy with Nature energy.” A Rockland resident, she dipped into oil paints and used her quarantine energies to create “geometric shapes, organic shapes, line and colour.” A typical workday at her studio spans four to five hours from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Her studio schedule balances out her work/life ratio. Laurie imparts this strong work ethic to students and aspiring artists.  

In accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Gender Equality, the artist uses recycled materials. Her purpose? “To shine light on treatment of women, as second-class citizens, forcing women into positions . . . considered ‘accepted norms.’” In her illustrative efforts in “vintage children’s books,” Steinhorst conveys these messages to young girls. As she explains the process, “I upcut images, then reconstruct them . . . to create something new and self-determined.”

For more information, visit her website.

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