We wanted to get the scoop on what the three artists are up to these days, so we asked them to answer some questions via e-mail. Their answers were submitted separately (but they might reveal why these guys are such good friends).
Where do you, personally, find inspiration?
Henry Schoebel: Inspiration is for amateurs.
Anthony Pessler: I will paraphrase Chuck Close here, who said, "Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just get into the studio and get to work." Now that's a bit flippant, but it really does get at something. The work - that is subject and content, comes from all kinds of places - sources that are both internal and external. But the form - that is, what it ends up looking like (which is what matters, after all), comes from ongoing intimate contact with materials and processes - and paying attention.
John Obuck: I don't know. Sometimes it just strikes me like a baseball bat to the side of my head.
Does teaching influence your creative process at all?
Schoebel: Students sometimes do the darndest things, and keep you fully engaged in active problem-solving. They bring new insights to the classroom and by default to you. Above all, students remind me to be myself and see the world with a fresh perspective.
Pessler: Being a painter can be pretty isolating. Historically, it's been a pretty solitary activity. You spend a lot of time, alone in the studio, staring at your limitations. And, it can be difficult, especially in a city like Phoenix, to find a community of like-minded individuals. One of the greatest advantages of being an educator as well, is that you have regular contact with people who care (deeply) about a lot of the same things you do. They are enthusiastic and curious, and can be a great reminder of just how cool it is to be taking the road less traveled - for something you love.
Obuck: I believe that what I am thinking about in my own work probably gets filtered into some of the assignments for my classes. Teaching makes me verbalize about my work more than I am accustomed to because students want to ask questions.