For many artists it is the muse who inspires them, speaks to them and calls them to create. The writer may wait endlessly pen to paper for a sign, a moment, a message for the story to be born, while an artist might stare at the blank canvas waiting for inspiration until they take brush to canvas. For local artist Jude Bischoff, the muse is his guide to his unique and beautiful imagery.
“I just start painting and I show up. I allow the muse to speak to me. Some days it speaks very clearly and I’m on fire and other days may be a struggle. I’ll walk around the yard, get on the Internet and then the maybe the muse shows up for an hour,” says Bischoff.
Geometric shapes in bold colors pop off the canvas. Buffalos, bears and rams with circles and squares in bright hues look out from their world created by Bischoff. Moving swirling rivers, birds flying above nature scenes, whimsical donkeys braying, geometric horses racing across the page as geometric shapes look to fly from their bodies. There are animals that house worlds within them and around them in the wild environs of Bischoff’s mind. He has been creating art since he was age 3.
“I channel the muse and do whatever I am told to paint, whether it’s a color or a shape or a thing. It’s an energy that lets the painting flow out of me.”
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I did my first oil painting in junior high. I’ve done jewelry making, bronze casting, clay and drawing. I was in the art room all the time,” says Bischoff, who received a degree in painting and minored in hot glass. “I always thought I’d end up being a glass blower.”
His medium is almost 100 percent painting these days. In his former life, Bischoff was a realtor before becoming an artist full time eight years ago. His van and trailer serve as his mobile studio.
“I am building a brand, especially here in Tahoe where people end up with three or four pieces of my art,” says Bischoff.
Many of the paintings Bischoff creates are scenes inspired from his time in the Eastern Sierra, Buckeye and Bishop. Bischoff visits each site three or four times before beginning a piece. He then sets up camp and begins his work. He often finds a location near a hot springs, brings his bike and rides while communing with nature and creating his next piece of art. It takes three to four months for Bischoff to complete one piece and each painting takes a week to dry, depending on the size. Sometimes he’s working on seven to 10 pieces at a time.
“I channel the muse and do whatever I am told to paint, whether it’s a color or a shape or a thing. It’s an energy that lets the painting flow out of me,” he says. “I had the bear outlined on the canvas and I heard the word, ‘boat.’ Then I did a theme around it. Then I painted a fisherman and a chair on top. This was before I found my Florida family.” (Bischoff, who was adopted, had the chance to meet his biological father before he died.) “Art is like a math problem: you add and subtract,” he says.
Bears seem to be his favorite subject. “I really like the bears because they are a symbol of rebirth and starting over. They hibernate and come out and start a new world and new life,” he explains.
Bischoff also has been working with sculptor Peter Shapiro. The two artists have teamed up to create a series of sculptures based on Bischoff’s paintings.
“Peter was a master craftsman for the Getty Museum for 25 years. We’ve finished two life-sized sculptures of a bear head and a donkey head and are working on a moose head,” says Bischoff.
He recently completed his first book entitled, “Coyote and Bear Discuss Modern Art,” which Bischoff says will include poetry from his friend Gerard Donnelly Smith. He has a number of pieces on display at Art Truckee and a number of galleries in the Tahoe area. Bischoff can be found creating at his booth at Truckee Thursdays where he sells his artwork throughout the summer.
For more information, visit judebischoff.com.