Fourteen and a Half Questions with Sean Oswald

Sean Oswald, fly as ever

I recently had the honor of interviewing the illustrious Mr. Sean Oswald, art teacher extraordinairre at Talawanda High School. He was asked fourteen and a half questions.

How old were you three years ago?

Let’s see… math’s not my strong point… Add the one… Add the two back there, that gives you three…That’s one of the binomial trinomials…That would be 22.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

In town, my favorite restaurant goes back and forth between Fiesta Charra and Phan Shin.

Who inspires you?

Well, let me pull up my Facebook page, and we’ll look up my inspirations. (He tried to do this, but the school’s website filter blocked him.) Let’s see if I can remember off the top of my head. Michelangelo, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Jefferson… Groucho Marx (that’s a joke)… Casper David Freidrich, and Jesus. Maybe Stephen Colbert as well.

What is your favorite apple variety?

Crab apples, because that’s what Johnny Appleseed planted.

Where is art headed?

In general, I think it’s heading to a synthesis between the expressionist and abstract movements, along with the classical style. You have a backlash from the current extreme abstract movement, and I see students wanting more classic art… They’ve had enough of the abstract and want more of the classical. It’ll probably be some sort of hybrid between the two.

How do you feel about the word, “cardboard?”

It’s a… pretty good word… It’s a compound word.

What is your most profound insight to offer to Talawanda High School?

Art is extremely important, and it affects individuals in all their different subject areas. There are links between math, the sciences, the arts, and there always have been, and we’re starting to see these things separate, and I don’t think it’s done any good for anybody. Art encourages young people to be themselves and not always be taught a specific ay to do things, and not always be taught that A+B=C. It’s a different way of doing things and it complements the rest of the subjects well.

What’s your favorite season?

Wow, well, okay… this is a complicated question. I’m always ready for the next season, and that’s one of the reasons I like Ohio.

What is your most sincere passion?

I would say, my honest, my deepest, sincere passion is to be an artist and to serve the Lord through that in whatever capacity that looks like.

Windows or Mac?

Mac. I wasn’t a Mac guy before, my wife really pushed for the Macs, I was resistant, because I was a Windows guy… I played a lot of awesome Star Wars games when I was a kid… But it’s a good machine.

What are some art projects you’re working on now?

Actually, last night I finished this painting. It’s a still life of two tobacco pipes. It’s just a way to keep drawing skills going. Another painting I’m working on is of the subconscious. There are some studies out there right now on how the subconscious has an effect on the natural world, and that might seem weird, but they’re talking about how when people think of something that it can actually have an impact on things that happen in the physical world. And the third painting I’m working on is called Bear Mauling the Youths. It’s taken off of a Bible verse from, I believe 2 Kings, where Elijah passes the baton on to Elisha, and as he’s walking down the street, some young guys come out and start making fun of him. So Elisha calls down two bears that maul the kids, and I think it’s the most interesting, weird… super, super weird Bible verse I’ve ever read. I read and thought, “That’s such a weird Bible verse, and I think I need to make a painting about it.”

Do you have a favorite soup?

Oh yeah. French onion soup from Panera Bread.

Between Chuck Norris and Fabio, who would eat a plate of spaghetti the fastest?

Definitely Chuck Norris.

What is your favorite art medium?

My first love was drawing, but I’ve been doing a lot of painting here recently. It goes back and forth.

Were you to find a…

I’d feel pretty good about the lumberjack part. Arthritis, you know… that wouldn’t be too good.