Walk and Talk!

August 16, 2019 By dflorian

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!

DJ: Okay!

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!

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