Wheaton magazine

Volume 22 // Issue 3
Wheaton magazine // Autumn 2019
Art Feature

Art Studio: Jeffrey Swider-Peltz '19

Jeffrey Swider-Peltz '19 won Best of Show in the 2019 Wheaton College Nonword & Upward Student Juried Art Exhibition 

Jeffrey Swider-Peltz '19

Austin, IL, USA

B.A., Studio Art

Football, Figure Drawing Club

Heilongjiang Speedskating Hall
Acrylic, Spray Paint, Pencil, Tape, Gesso
22 X 22 Inches

Interview with the Artist

What are your favorite memories of your time as a Wheaton College student?

My favorite memories are moments I spent in the Office of Multicultural Development and in Adams Hall—creating art with the music turned up every night until our custodian (shout out to Bruce) strolled in around midnight. There are endless memories from my Wheaton in the Holy Lands trip, and especially the two months I spent afterward in the West Bank. I’m also nostalgic for studying in the sunshine streaming through SAGA’s skylights.

What was the most challenging thing for you during college?

Being a 16-credit, full-time student and training and competing for TeamUSA overseas at World Cup speedskating events during some of my middle semesters.

What have you done since graduating?

I began teaching art at an afterschool program in Chicago, began a commissioned mural in downtown Wheaton, and am trademarking the brand of clothing I’m creating (Uesay Apparel). Most of all, I love art and want to continue to create visual art in public spaces, like murals or clothes that people wear. I’m currently wondering and investigating how I can raise money to return to the West Bank and collaborate with Palestinian artists and friends to create one or more large scale public artworks.

What inspires you about your field?

I believe every ‘field’ or academic discipline should consider curiosity, creativity, and imagination tools to pursue compelling work among their peers. With Studio Art as my major, it was a given that these generative tools constantly shaped my work. But I think this practice transcends visual art and informs the general function of human beings. Specifically, it’s your capacity for curiosity, creativity, and imagination that are essential for empathy and, therefore, peace, reconciliation, and abundant life. Empathy is about imagining yourself as someone else—to share their feelings, something that requires some enormous creative brainpower to unlock yourself from your own experience and enter someone else’s.

Why do you do what you do?

If I have the opportunity, I do what I love. I competed professionally in a sport for which I was unsure just how much I cared. As an artist, I see artwork like cooks see food—as a way to bring people together. I don’t know if I’ll always be a visual artist producing work, but I hope to bring creativity and joy to spaces wherever I go. 

What artists inspire you?

Julie Mehretu, Mark Bradford, Cy Twombly and everything in a MoMA publication On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century.

What is your most important tool as an artist?

Any tool is on the playing field. But I have a current fascination with colored tape.