Jeff Ostrowski

The world was once a place of magic and mystery…. from the earliest marks on a cave wall, Art’s main purpose has been magic; be it hunting, healing or appeasing the gods. It’s only recently we have separated the ideas of magic and religion. In our time of being able to Google any trivial fact, or instantly stream a TV show from decades past, I love the fact there are still questions for which we don’t have the answers.


Why was Stonehenge built?

What really happened at the Oracle of Delphi?

How are there similar symbols all over the ancient world, created by cultures that had no contact??


My work juxtaposes images from art history and mythology with graffiti, with nods to the writings of Joseph Campbell and Jung, as well as the work of the Surrealists. The stories and myths associated with certain objects and places is what gives them their power.  Why are we entranced by the Terra Cotta warriors…?  Not because they are life sized, or buried, but because an insane emperor had them created to protect him in the afterlife!  Artists of the ancient past created art to tell the story of their world and its myths; graffiti artists paint to remind the world of their personal story, hoping to leave their mark.  The ancient artist’s name fades with the march of time; the graffiti writer is anonymous by choice. Even if we know the chosen name a graffiti writer goes by, we rarely know their true identity.   The pairing of these two very different types of images is extremely interesting to me.


Part of my exploration as an artist is attempting to visually document the experience of the mystical or surreal, putting the inner world on canvas.  The objects (relics, artifacts) I paint were never only *things*.  They were imbued with power. I hope my paintings hit a spiritual vibration, like finding evidence of a long forgotten magick. I want to inspire curiosity, about the artifact, its story and the culture that created it; hopefully spark something inside the viewer themselves. All over the world, and deep within our own consciousness, there is more that we have in common than we know.