Juror: Sheila Stafford

Stafford received her B.A. (1969) from University of Michigan and M.A. in Art (1976) from Central Michigan University and currently resides in Traverse City, Michigan. Since 1978 Stafford has been an Adjunct Photography Instructor at Northwestern Michigan College teaching Photography I & II college credit courses and Life Drawing I & II (current semester).

As an artist with a creative day job, Stafford is an avid supporter of traditional B&W Photo Processes and takes a very low tech approach to photography using a pinhole camera. But she also has a preoccupation with the figure and revels in capturing a gesture with line and perhaps a little color. For the past few years the adventure has been to combine the beauty of the drawn line with the alchemy of chemical darkroom photography. Some of these images are manipulated and archival toned silver gelatin prints created by combining contact printed line drawings with light, B&W photo paper and some rule breaking in the darkroom.

Both silver gelatin photographs and mixed media figure drawings have been included in numerous juried exhibitions including The Dennos Museum Regional Shows and Art Work Alliance May Shows. A founding member and coordinator of both the Figure On Saturday drawing group and Art Works Alliance artist group Stafford has endeavored to support the artistic pursuits of fellow artists in the Grand Traverse community.


Figure drawing! What a noble endeavor! I once heard a quote ‘If you can draw the figure

you can draw anything’. Now there is a fine quest!

It was a pleasure to view all this work for the People Are People Show. As a juror I

needed to consider three things in the images -knowledge of rendering the figure,

-understanding of the medium used -and then these skills need to be applied to the figure

to convey perhaps a thought, feeling or idea. I’m looking for images that communicate

something visually. After all the theme of the show begs for more than just an accurate

rendering of the figure.

The First Place Award certainly demonstrates all three criteria well. The woman putting

on her lipstick in the bathroom mirror is beautifully portrayed and really occupies this

crammed full space. We are able to look around and through this mundane space and we

begin to see a narrative. The viewer can become engaged in reading the figure and image

and more.

The Second Place Award is a visual surprise. I like surprises in my art. Show me

something different. Show me how you see the world. Again fine skill is demonstrated in

this concealed figure under the covers but also simple collage techniques put a clever spin

on the idea presented. And Yea for artist’s statements! Here the statement adds a further

thought provoking angle to this image.

And I like humor as in the Third Place Award. But this veiled figure with the comical

fake glasses/mustache takes on an edginess as the viewer ponders current societal issues

in the news. Such well considered ideas presented in the artist’s statement have got to be

a selling point for any potential buyer.

Thanks for sharing your art with me and thanks to Royce and Tali for creating this venue.

It’s a pleasure to work with the good guys.

And for those who gasp at the mention of figurative art…FEAR NO ART.

- Sheila Stafford