Saturday, March 3, 2012

SPECIAL GUEST: Artist & Student, DeAnna Stoika

According to German folklore finding your doppelgänger is bad luck, so when I met DeAnna Stoika I should have been cursed for life when in fact our fortuitous meeting was a blessing.  This is the incredible true case of exact doubles: Zapora Strange & DeAnna Stoika.


{Grow: Gesso, watercolor, charcoal, and permanent marker on junk mail. A page of an art-book}

Zapora: What’s your full name?

DeAnna: DeAnna Danielle Stoika

Z: And where is your hometown?

D: I was born in Chicago but I live in West Virginia

Z: How long have you been living in West Virginia?

D: For 7 years

Z: It must be cool to have experience two completely different places growing up. So what do you do for a living right now?

D: Right now I’m taking general education credits to become an art teacher. Over the summer I do face painting and I sell face painting supplies.

Z:  That’s so cool, I can’t tell your how obsessed I was with face painting growing up.  I used to paint my face as a different animal every day! It’s interesting how you can tell a child’s destiny before they have even chosen it, I was born an artist and that was clear all throughout my childhood.  When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

 {Grow 003: Gesso, watercolor, charcoal, and permanent marker on junk mail. Cover of an art-book.}

D: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember and I feel like life’s too short to do something because you know you’re going to be successful. I could have chosen to work in psychology or a career where I knew I could make a comfortable living but it’s best to pursue something that’s going to make you happy.  I believe everyone’s been given gifts and talents and it’s best to use what you’ve been given.  I want to share my gifts with others, children in specific. I feel like kids can express themselves through arts in a freer way than adults can. They create what they love and I think that’s beautiful. They create without judgment; criticism can hold you back. Sometimes criticism can hold you back in every aspect of life.

Z: How would you describe your artistic style?
D: A lot of the line work is inspired by zentangles which are an abstract kind of drawing that flows together. They’re very relaxing to create; cancer patients draw these because they’re therapeutic. You start with one little thing and it grows into something else. Like the bird artwork.  Also I have a thing for flowers; I’m always drawing them somewhere. I donno there’s something about flowers, I love them.

Z: What kind of medium do you work with?

D:  Well the tree artwork is made from junk mail and gesso. I let it dry and put watercolor paint over it.  I use a lot of cereal boxes and recycled materials. It’s a neat way of taking something you wouldn’t consider art and transforming it into something else. I made the Tree artwork for a class I took by the artist Carla Sonheim her artwork is whimsical and childlike.

Z: Would you say Sonheim inspires some of your work?

 {JFCUPG2002: Gesso, watercolor, charcoal, and permanent marker on a cereal box.}

D: Well lots of things inspire my work like music, random things from the streets, nature, (no one’s a better artist than God is).  Nature it’s inspiring and beautiful. Sometimes I just lie in the grass and take awe in His creation; it gives me a sense of gratitude.

Z: Are you a Christian?

D: Yes, I was saved a several years ago.  I try to love others the way God loves me.

Z:  I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing your testimony.

D: Sure, well I moved to WV about 7 years ago but before I moved had never been to church before in my life, my family’s not into that.  I came to WV and made some friends and they invited me to youth group.  At first I was there to have a good time and not necessarily for the message. For a long time I feared death, I would have times where I would just cry and be scared. After spending more time in the youth group listening to messages and making encouraging Christian friends things began making sense. Then I accepted Christ in to my heart.

 {More Flowers: Gesso, watercolor, charcoal, and permanent maker on a cereal box. "When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment..."-Georgia O'Keeffe}

Z:  And you’ve never been the same since!  That’s awesome. I digress, how did you get to where you are now in terms of your current position in life?

D: I was homeschooled from K-high school.  All the work I did was sent to a teacher in Pennsylvania and I have a high school diploma. I loved being homeschooled; I got to educate myself in what I loved. I got to travel, and grow in what I love. After high school I decided to go to community college because it’s more affordable. I’m really looking forward to the future, I’m really excited about it. 

Z: Ah!  I was homeschooled too!  I was homeschooled from pre-school through 8th grade.  Then I went to a public high school and then a private university. Wow, I’m really really impressed. 

D: For me it was a huge blessing to be homeschooled, brother is too. When your homeschooled you can be who you are. There’s a lot of peer pressure in public school.

Z: Yea I agree, especially in high school.  I experienced a lot of that.  Being homeschooled really allows you to naturally develop into who you’re meant to be without any distractions.  I just want to re-direct the conversation back to your arts for a moment.  I’m wondering if you have anyone in your life that is supportive of your art? I know being an artist can be a struggle in terms of finances.

 {Tree: Paper cut art. "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." -Albert Einstein}

D: It’s a struggle, it’s definitely a discussion I’ve had with my family but so has every aspect of my education. The art education program going into trains you to be a teacher. My parents encouraged me to do what I love. Even if I changed my mind today they would be okay with that.

Z:  I’m glad to hear that.  It’s so important to have a support system regardless of the circumstance.  So where can we find your work?

D: I thought about starting my own blog, but I’m still working on that.

Z: Complete this sentence, “When I grow up I want to…”

 {Watermellon 003: Watercolor, permanent marker, and white gel pen.}

D: I want to be able to share what I love to do with others and be able to share Christ with others. I want to take what I want to do and work it into children’s ministry. I’d like to be an art teacher and be able to live in a way that’s kind and loving to others…Also I want to be able to have a really good attitude of gratitude. I don’t want to limit myself and I want to do my best in every aspect of my life.

Z: Awesome!  Okay the last questions (and my favorite by far), if you could share one message with the world what would it be?

D: The most important message would be to share Christ with others but I also think it is really important that people know that they are all valuable and loved.

Z: Awesome Deanna, thank you so much for coming on Zapora-Strange! I enjoyed our interview!

Like what you read? Contact for inquiries about DeAnna's work.

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