Art and Life with Iris Osterman

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Iris Osterman.

Iris, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
In my family being an artist was encouraged but not remarkable. It was a ‘family business of sorts; three cousins and a sister were art makers. My brothers dabbled in photography (turning an extra bathroom – to my parents’ dismay- into a darkroom), my mother made lovely quilts, and my father wrote poetry.

I enjoyed a kind of freedom to explore my arty nature as I was not being raised with the expectations of self-support. It seems strange to be saying that. The practical business of learning to make a living was somehow bypassed. This resulted in a history of many quirky jobs during and after college as I scrambled to be independent. Through it all I continued my painting, and I can see this as a measure of success.

College at Boston University as a painting major, and later graduate school at American University, cemented my decision to have a life in art. Luckily, I had some wonderful teachers/mentors along the way.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?

My paintings have been landscape-based for several years using drawings and photographs as references.
Most of the places I use bring to me strong memories of the experience and I hope some of this shows in the work. It is intended to communicate this experience rather than record visual details. I am interested in shape, line, space, color, and the use of this iconography to hopefully invoke a feeling of place and time.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Being involved in art-making has become a sideline activity for many these days because of economics. It has never been easy but I would still tell those who must be artists (you know who you are) to give it your heart. It will be worth it. Also, I would encourage these poor tortured souls to join organizations and groups of other artists for the support of numbers. Boston is getting a little better to help the arts but more can be done. I hope that funding grows and endures. In an ideal world museums would be free to all, local artists would be shown, and affordable artist housing /studio space would be a naturally occurring part of the neighborhood fabric.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I am a member of the Fountain Street Gallery in Boston, the Bowery Gallery in NYC, and various online venues listed on my website at

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