Wall\Therapy is an international mural festival that brings artists from all over the world (along with local painters) together for a week each year. Each festival has a theme, and artists are invited based on their relationship to the chosen theme. Murals are painted in public spaces throughout the city - as a way to help bring beauty and empowerment to the community. Over 100 murals have been painted in Rochester through this festival, and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of it.

My mural, entitled "Feeding the Machine", is inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis and specifically its impact on Syrian refugee children. The symbols woven into the mural all were chosen to help tell the story of the impact of war and oppression on Syrian children specifically, but the mural is meant to be open ended enough so as to speak to the viewer's own experience. There are many hidde symbols and art historical references that were meaningful to me in the planning of this piece. For instance, the eye from Pablo Picasso's "Guernica", which represented the man-made eternal sun, forever illuminating the tortures of war and forcing us to deal with our own culpability.

I was lucky to have an incredible team assisting me throughout the 9 day painting process. I was joined by students past and present along with a few friends who stopped by to lend a hand when I needed it. I could literally not have completed something on this scale, with this much detail, all brush painted on my own. Their opinions and style made the mural stronger and expanded my thought process. 

You can visit the mural at 58 Pennsylvania Avenue, on the back side of Java's at the Rochester Public Market. The scale is certainly impactful. Thank you again to the entire Wall\Therapy team from organizers on down to hospitality staff - this is a massive undertaking and I am so proud to be a part of the family.

Special thanks to photographer Manar Bilal for inspiring this mural with his powerful photojournalism.

I was also honored to be a part of the first ever Wall\Therapy Arts & Activism Conference, on the Education and Empowerment panel. Watch the presentations and discussion below.

Photographs courtesy of Tomas Flint, Tom Keenan, Scott S. and Sean S.

"American Voices" at Makers Gallery

For over a year, I have been working on a new body of work (thus not updating my website at all). I will be exhibiting these 16 mixed media works at Maker's Gallery from December 16 - January 20. The show is entitled "American Voices" and is comprised of portraits of people who I feel have risen up to fight for what is good and right about our country. This work has taken on a whole new importance in light of the 2016 election - making each of the subjects' legacy, work and voice even more crucial.

Please join me for the opening reception on December 16th from 6-10pm.

lots of art shows happening!

may and june are turning out to be really busy months for art shows for me.

i would love to have you join my good friend rob antonucci and i for our 2-man show at joe bean coffee bar, hanging during the entire month of june. 

we'll have an opening reception on june 5 and a closing reception (with live jazz music) on june 26 - both will run from 6-10pm.

the show is entitled 'a further exploration' and it is comprised of works that are inspired by jazz and blues music. you can see a selection of the works that i will be showing in my portfolio - they are portrait-based assemblage works. rob's works are heavily influenced by the american abstract expressionists. 

also during june, i have 4 pieces in the grand opening show at alex gruttadaro's new maker's gallery and studio. the show is called PROCESS and focuses on the journey that we go through as artists to complete our work. i am showing alongside alex, bill stephens and sari gaby. it doesn't get much better than that as far as i'm concerned. 

the gallery will be hosting a first friday reception on june 5, 6-10pm and a closing reception TBA.

lastly, nazareth college is hosting its annual "shared spaces" exhibition. this is an amazing annual show where local art teachers get to select one senior student to exhibit their work with. this year, i am showing with the hard working and talented kasey bartusek. her work is deeply personal and immediately moving. they liked it so much, they hung it in the middle of the main wall - it definitely outshines my portrait of billie holiday that hangs next to it.

the show runs until june 12. go check out all that rochester's high school art community has to offer - which is a lot. see more pictures of the opening reception here.

drawing 2 // blind contour portraits // in progress

I am excited to share some of the works in progress (and a few finished) from our new drawing 2 project, detailed in the last post.  

I'll update with finished works in a few weeks!


new drawing 2 project // blind contour descriptive portraits

i love blind contour line drawings. in case you are unfamiliar - this is when you draw something without looking at your paper and without picking up your pen. its hard, and typically the drawings have a wonderfully active line and most times it looks strangely like the thing that you are drawing... although features are misplaced. its a really fun way to tap into your subconscious and to work on trusting yourself and what you see. i have always wanted to do something in class with them, and have tried out a few different possibilities over the years as exercises, but nothing really awesome has emerged... until now!

i started doing blind contours of one of my musical heroes - miles davis. these were in one of my small sketchbooks. i spent an hour or so and did about 20 different drawings. they ranged from ridiculous and uninteresting to really engaging and cool. i decided to take one of these and project it on a large cradled birch panel that i had laying around. i then took another picture that i had of him and drew it inside the large space that was his forehead. from here, the piece began to really take shape. i thought of it as if it was one of my recent paintings where i am assembling different pieces of found wood and creating a narrative through the use of text, pattern, and portrait elements. but this time instead of different pieces of wood, i utilized the different sections of his face and background that were created by the lines that connected the facial features (remember... you can't pick up your pen!).

here is what my piece looked like in stages (excuse the less-than-stellar lighting in the pics)


so this became the impetus for the new project for my (predominately) junior drawing 2 class. it has been an interesting set of challenges so far, and i look forward to seeing where they all go with it from here. i'll update with pictures of their progress soon!

as always, we looked a great deal of master artwork at the beginning of the project - and look through the same works throughout the process, to reflect on the different elements of the artists' work and how it relates to the part of the process that the students are currently digging in to. the main artist that we looked at is daniel o'toole.

o'toole's work is creative, painterly, loose and full of really beautiful surprises. you can look for a long time and get lost in them. i see new things every time. (click the thumbnail for a full page image)

there were many more artists that we looked at - including sam rodriguez, and many others that you can find on my pinterest page (specifically the illustration, painting and collage boards).

the "dear she" project

Dear She is a project created for by my former student jessi putnam, who is currently a senior graphic design major at SUNY new paltz. this is her thesis project, and is a way for women and girls of all ages to help deal with matters of body image and self confidence.

jessi writes: "Dear She utilizes the therapeutic qualities of writing as a form of self expression by writing anonymous love letters to the self. You can write a letter in the share section! Tell us anything you want, anything you want to get off your chest, it’s safe with us. You can also send us a tweet, an image of a drawing, a Facebook message, or anything that helps you work through a struggle that so many women face. These “letters” as we like to call them, will be collected into a book that you can view and purchase here on our site. Collecting the letters together, in whatever format they come in, will help create a sense of community. Readers will be able to experience the stories of women from all different walks of life, with different perspectives on the same topic. Dear She is a safe space to express yourself, seek comfort, and love yourself."

i think this is such a fantastic idea - and truly is a way to show that the struggles that women face are very universal, and seeing that you're not alone...

take a few minutes and share your story... 

artist of the week // crosshair

illustrator and poster artist crosshair marries the world of fine art and poster design in a really creative, new and unique way. the fact that these are screenprinted works blows me away - the amount of detail and variety of colors within these prints makes them really special. 

the works appeal to me because of the old/aged aesthetic along with the way that text has been applied. its not actually painted on the buildings but feels like it is - mind blowing and amazing.


where I go when I'm stuck

we all get stuck from time to time during the art making process. this is not always a bad thing, because it sometimes forces us to look at things differently or to reconnect with the artists who inspire us... or seek out new inspiration. 

I recently took some time to consider the places and people who I seek out in those moments where I'm stuck.  

whos on your list? 



welcome to my new website!

it's been almost a full year since i redesigned my 45rpmdesigns website using wordpress, in conjunction with my own web hosting. during that time i found it to be frustrating to update and it lacked some features and an appearance that i was happy with.

i heard about squarespace and as i researched a bit more, found that it was the perfect interface and hosting service for me. i have spent the last week reformatting the old 45rpmdesigns into this new site. i completed the upload of my portfolio (finally), reworked the friday wisdom page, added more links, and made some fancy new graphics. you'll find all of the information from the old site still present, but in an easier to browse format... and hopefully i'll update it more often now.

thanks for stopping by - if you have any questions, feel free to email me! tstahlart@gmail.com

narrative artists for drawing 2

we had a great discussion about some contemporary narrative artworks this week in drawing 2.

the students will be using the lyrics of death cab for cutie as jumping off points for their own narrative works.

here are some of the artists we looked at, with links to find out more about them!

clive smith (see more here)

david bowers (see more here)

edgar jerins (see more here)

joan mateu (see more here)

maggie taylor (see more here)

margaret bowland (see more here)

new commissioned paintings at louvino

i was very honored to have been commissioned to create a body of paintings for the front wall of louvino, a new wine bar and restaurant in louisville, KY (you can see the empty wall in the picture on their website).

i created a series called WINEMAKERS, based on seven different wine regions around the world. california (napa/sonoma), washington, new york (finger lakes), italy, spain, france and argentina are all represented.

we drove the work down last week and helped set it up in the space - i am very pleased with how it came together and we really enjoyed the restaurant and the city. if you ever find yourself down that way, you should definitely stop in for some delicious tapas.

thanks chad and lauren!



over the years, i have spent a lot of time talking to my students about being present with their work... mindful of their surroundings, the marks that they are making, and the process that they are a part of at that exact moment.

i have found that in my own work, when i am totally present and aware of the process, not only does the work turn out better, but i learn more and am able to take my works further. it is a very hard thing for teenagers to really take hold of, but when we have those moments where the entire room just gets locked in to that zone its magical.

i recently saw a piece on 60 minutes where anderson cooper discussed mindfulness with jon kabat-zinn - it was eye opening and reassuring for me and seemed to hit home to my AP students when i showed it to them in class.

artist of the week // jeremy miranda

i love when i stumble across artists that i have never heard of before who are doing really interesting genre-bending things. jeremy miranda is one such artist. i first saw his work last week on COLOSSOL (check this site out - i follow them on twitter and get great updates about new artists). he's taking landscapes and juxtaposing them with pictures of interior spaces - creating worlds that are all new and forcing us to rethink how our interior and exterior spaces influence us and how those spaces can relate to one another.

check out more at his website

art on instagram!


i love instagram. not only is it a fun way to share pics of my family's adventures, but there is SO MUCH great art on there! it can be hard to navigate through to find the really good stuff... so if you're looking for some new art in your daily life, here are my favorite art instagram accounts. they provide constant inspiration for me as an artist.


  • jlperry1972 - john perry. painter and josh's future art teacher
  • msshaftway - sarah rutherford. illustrator and painter
  • mrprvrt - all spray paint animal stencil murals
  • afrancey - adam francey. the guy who did both my favorite local mural and also did my newest tattoo
  • oclevelando - chad cleveland. great painter and handsome landscape photographer
  • adammmaida - socially conscious illustrator and webster grad
  • jordantiberio - creative photographer and webster grad


  • yveslarochegallery - cutting edge contemporary gallery in montreal
  • *walltherapyny - the group that puts together all of the amazing murals each summer in ROC
  • instagraffite - street art/murals/public art from all over the world
  • *themuseumofmodernart - MoMA - best modern art museum in the world
  • albrightknox - buffalo's art museum. amazing collection
  • *juxtapozmag - contemporary art magazine. highlights lots of unique new work


  • jeremypmiranda - cool paintings juxtaposing interior and exterior spaces
  • mikedargas2014 - hyperrealistic portrait paintings
  • danwitzstreetart - paintings of buildings at night... and mosh pits
  • prozak7 - awesome super colorful abstract artist
  • rae_bk - really interesting 'portrait' painter. basquiat-esque
  • ianfrancisart - contemporary painter
  • troy_lovegates - cool surreal cartooney illustrations
  • osgemeos - world-renouned street artists and painters
  • *keepdrafting - augustine kofie/kofie one. amazing geometric abstract art. one of my faves
  • faustnewyork - calligraphy-text-based graffiti. did a piece in ROC last year. really unique
  • artofdavidwalker - colorful portrait murals. did a mural across from village gate in ROC
  • *samrodriguezart - one of my favorite contemporary portrait artists. did a fantastic mural last summer in ROC.
  • heypatyeah - pat perry - amazing artist/illustrator. you've seen his work in class before.
  • ajfosik - great contemporary sculptor - he was the basis for my studio in art sculptures
  • *hownosm - amazing street artists. did another of my all-time favorite murals in ROC, on the side of the little theater
  • pendleton - don pendelton. cool illustrative characters
  • fikosantonios - combining street art with the style of old italian religious frescos. really neat.
  • **conorsayboom - conor harrington. AMAZING dynamic portrait painter. did a few murals in ROC
  • gaiastreetart - really creative street artist/muralist working around the world
  • **marcomazzoniart - one of the most spectacular colored pencil artists i've ever seen
  • *vhils - carves away walls to create portrait murals. creative and stunning
  • audkawa - audrey kawasaki. you've seen her paintings in my classroom (octopus woman) 
  • obeygiant - shepard fairey. mural and poster artist. you know his work.

welcome to the art room

its open house tonight, and since we changing format this year, i may not be able to share with each and every parent of my students exactly what i'm all about and a bit more detail about their kids' daily art life than they may share (i've learned that even the things that my 1st grader loves in school many times get 'forgotten' by our dinnertime conversation)... so i wanted to post a formal introduction and share some info.

i have been teaching in webster for my entire career - i student taught at schroeder under the tutelage of suzanne brunner and bill stephens. suzanne retired and i was offered the job. after one year there, i was lucky to be then be hired at thomas where i have been since the fall of 2003 (which i guess makes this my 13th year teaching!). this is my 3rd classroom at thomas and hopefully will be my home for a long time to come. room 57 is my studio and home-away-from-home, as it becomes for many of my students. its a place built upon two main tenants - RESPECT and HARD WORK. these two things come together to make an environment that is both welcoming and productive - and produces amazing artworks. i could not be more proud of the work that my students do. it is great to be able to teach all high school levels - studio in art, drawing 1, drawing 2, and AP art/portfolio prep. this allows me to grow with the students and get to develop relationships that are far deeper than what we could otherwise... and it becomes a fantastic learning environment because the 9th graders can be in awe and inspired by the seniors (and vice versa - trust me - it happens!).

i hope that your kids are enjoying their time with me and in our fantastic art department. we are lucky to have them with us (sometimes for multiple hours every day) and look forward to another great year.

please take a moment and check out the information packets that i put out for each of my classes. if you were not at open house, you can find them here:
studio in art
drawing 1
drawing 2
AP art/portfolio prep

also, if you'd like to know more about me - take a minute and explore my site - lots of good stuff to see - my teaching/life philosophy, favorite weblinks, artists of the week, personal art portfolio and all of the friday wisdom flyers.


new painting // "sold my soul for"

this painting was created for the october show at 1975 gallery, "the devil's in the details". it is the gallery's 6th anniversary and i was asked to show with around 60 other artists both local and national. i am so honored to be part of this show and display alongside my former student austin keppeler and friends adam francey and john perry. lots of fun details in this painting. check it out in person at 1975 starting on october 11. the opening reception is from 7-10pm.

sold my soul for
sold my soul for
2014 sold my soul for (detail 2)
2014 sold my soul for (detail 2)

artist of the week // adam maida // webster grad

its rare to forge an art career the way that adam maida has. its a totally DIY (do-it-yourself) story, one that is highlighted in Rebecca Rafferty's story in CITY mag. he is creating his own personal work, has designed album and movie covers/posters, and is now doing freelance illustration for the New York Times (and another example here). his work has a unique aesthetic - one based on collage, a unique hand-drawn style and digital touches. i respond to his work for these reasons, as it seems that my inspirations come from a similar place, but adam takes his work in a slightly different direction, one which i admire. and i love that he is using his power as an artist to make a statement - this makes the art even better. some of the more political work may not be universally popular (but thats the point, right?). regardless of the politics of some of the work, if you love or appreciate creative art & design, his work is worth checking out.

and it's a career that i will continue to follow with serious interest.

here are some of my favorite works. for his entire portfolio (and contact info), check out his website (he is also on etsy and twitter, if you're into that sort of thing).