Walk and Talk!
North Shore studio artist, David Jonaitis took a break from art making to join me for a Walk and Talk this week. Please enjoy our conversation covering: sports, art, fashion, and more.
Diane Florian (DF): How are you!?
David Jonaitis (DJ): I’m doing good.
DF: Welcome to Walk and Talk!
DJ: Yeah, I haven’t done this before.
DF: So Walk and Talk is a new ongoing series where we take a walk and talk about whatever we want.
DJ: Oh, that sounds cool!
DF: Yeah! So how’ve you been? What do you want to talk about today?
DJ: I don’t know-I haven’t thought about that lately, really.
DF: Well why don’t you tell me about your current piece?
DJ: My current piece-I’m doing a Fall scene.
DF: What do you like about the Fall?
DJ: I just love it.
DF: What do you love about it?
DJ: Well. A lot of things, actually. Basically sports.
DF: Ah. Fall is when some sports start up again.
DJ: Yeah, that’s right. Basketball. College. College Football.
DF: Any favorite team?
DJ: Northwestern Wildcats
DF: Have you ever seen a live sports event?
DJ: I have been to a few of those before. Of course, I was a high school basketball and football manager in high school.
DF: Oh, that’s right. You mentioned that to me before. You know I played a little basketball in high school.
DJ: Oh, what high school did you go to?
DF: I went to Elk Grove —oh look at this-I cant remember if I’ve seen that out here before.
DJ: A what? I have no idea what that is, exactly. I think it is a light bulb.
DF: Yeah. It’s a fun little light. Let’s take a picture of it!
DF: Dave, have you ever done any sculpture work?
DJ: I think I have once? Back-a long time ago.
DF: Yeah, you know I did a little of that in college but I’d like to do more because it’s so fun to work with your hands.
DJ: Right, I know in the past I did acrylics and watercolor. Then I went back to markers.
DF: For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve drawn a lot of nature scenes. Is that a subject you’ve always been attracted to?
DJ: I’m into different stuff but I’m basically into that.
DF: And what do you like about markers? It seems to be your medium of choice.
DJ: I like it. It’s more fast-paced.
DF: Oh, let’s turn this way so we can walk under the trees. So you’ve drawn a lot of landscapes. Do you ever do things outdoors?
DJ: Yeah, I do; with Special Olympics.
DF: Oh, nice. Sorry, what is that buzzing sound? Oh, it’s a cicada. Can you see it? It’s kind of hard to tell where it is.
DJ: Last time I saw one, was when I was a kid. It’s hard to find.
DF: Yeah…okay, lets continue. Special Olympics.
DJ: Right, yeah. I do a lot of Special Olympics and stuff. Plus, I used to be in a fashion show myself.
DF: What! When?
DJ: One my mom used to work at. She was part of the NADS program a long time ago; that’s how I know Becky Kubica [North Shore artist].
DF: Oh yeah?
DJ: Through NADS [National Association for Down Syndrome], yeah. Her and Danny [North Shore artist, Daniel Frownfelter].
DF: Alright, lets see it. Let’s see your catwalk.
DJ: Okay, that’s easy. You ready?
DF: Go for it.
DJ: (Proceeds to show me his amazing catwalk)
DF: Ah! How great that you were in a fashion show.
DJ: I was.
DF: Did Arts of Life ever do a fashion show?
DJ: Um, I don’t know. No. I don’t think they had one yet.
DF: Would you participate if we did?
DJ: I would, yeah.
DF: It’d be pretty cool to make our own costumes and make a show of it- I bet Ed [North Shore artist, Edward Rawski] would like that.
DJ: Ohhh yeah! Definitely, he would; so would Nikki [North Shore artist, Nikole Heusman]; I think she’s into that stuff herself.
DF: Yeah. So tell me more about Special Olympics.
DJ: Well right now we’re doing Bocce…and we also do track and field…bowling and basketball.
DF: You’re very active.
DJ: Yeah, I’m very active, yeah.
DF: What do you like about sports?
DJ: Everything. Basically team stuff.
DF: Oh my gosh-how funny-there’s a random volleyball in the parking lot
DJ: Oh yeah, here we go (shows me his basketball moves)
DF: Haha! So Dave how long have you been at Arts of Life?
DJ: Since 2012.
DF: Still going strong?
DJ: Oh yeah. I like everything. You know…the people in the studio; the staff and volunteers; also being in a group.
DF: Yeah, being in a setting where people are constantly creating…it’s easy to feel inspired.
DF: Well, I just want you to know that Fall is my favorite season-I am a Fall baby after all- so I’m really looking forward to seeing your project once it’s finished.
DJ: Oh! I was born in Spring. I was born in April.
DF: Ohh, we were born in opposite seasons! Well, Dave…thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
DJ: Oh, no problem!