Joost Winckers is a high school art instructor who understands the best way to teach students is by example.
The 20-year art teacher only recently picked up his own brushes and reawakened his talent by putting paint to canvas after years of instructing teenaged students left him little time to practise the craft.
He was inspired to start painting by Jenny Baillie, a well-known Rossland artist who challenged him to once again pursue his passion for personal artistic expression.
“I haven’t turned back since,” said Winckers. “And I found it added to my teaching as I better understood the process I was asking of my students,” he explained. “In turn, I think it illustrated to them that I practised what I preached.”
Winckers’ first showing in Trail is currently at the VISAC Gallery until May 14 and includes a vibrant selection of 15 mixed media works and ceramic sculptures.
His art pieces are inspired by the beauty of the Kootenays, Canadian artists such as Larwen Harris and Emily Carr, and most recently, by street graffiti and working with text in art.
“So words creep their way into my art now too,” he said.
Whether Winckers is painting, stencilling or working with clay, each piece holds intricate details that take time to perfect.
“Some of the stencil stuff happens quickly,” he noted. “While some of the more realistic effects take time and energy to achieve the look I am going for.
“I think my art is fairly eclectic, with a good mix of realism and stylization.”
The display of Joost’s personal work provides a unique opportunity for the community to appreciate the beautiful art work of a much loved teacher, said Ursula Abresch, VISAC Gallery director.
After instructing visual arts at the former Rossland Secondary School for six years, Winckers is in his inaugural year as Crowe’s art teacher.
He has gained admiration and respect from his students the last seven months, in particular Grade 12 student Griffin Redman.
“This is my first year taking an art class,” said Redman. “I couldn’t even draw a stick figure in the beginning,” he continued, “but Mr. Winckers really focuses on letting you design through your own creative process, which has influenced and also improved my composition ideas in poetry and music.”
Redman’s veneration for Winckers teaching style reverberated through the Grade 12 art classroom Thursday morning.
“Sadly, this is my last year in art,” said classmate student Rhylah Wyatt. “He really wants to get to know how we like to do art and what our ideas for projects are.
“He really wants to know us as artists instead of as students and I’m going to miss that.”