Some might say Joe Lastomirsky has done it all. He has served in the military, worked for Boeing, assisted with set design for the film industry and successfully opened his own countertop business, all while pursuing his own creative passions— painting and furniture design. But according to Lastomirsky, the best is yet to come.
“My greatest accomplishment has been being able to work as an artist for the past 26 years,” said Joe Lastomirsky. “Because of my art, I’ve traveled throughout the United States, including Hawaii. My furniture is in households across the country, and I've been able to build a studio on my property here in Portland. I acknowledge that I've enjoyed some successes as an artist, but I'm still striving for the rest.”
Since 2008, Lastomirsky has focused on painting with occasional sculpture projects on the side. He recently installed a sculpture at the Lewis & Floetta Ide Healing Garden at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin, Oregon, and has exhibited paintings in group shows, including the annual Au Naturel show at Clatsop Community College, Astoria, Oregon, and Unclad, The Art of the Nude in Stanwood, Washington.
"I began as a figure painter and only recently started painting abstract landscapes and seascapes,” he said. "A few of the paintings still have figures in them, creating a definite link between the past and present. I have a solo show of my new work coming up at the Firehouse Gallery (Rogue Community College) in Grants Pass, Oregon.”
After serving in the military during the 60s, Lastomirsky registered for an art class at a community college in Detroit. He had enjoyed drawing as a child and wanted to pursue art as a career opportunity. His instructor helped him put together a portfolio to present to the College (then the Society of Arts and Crafts), where he was quickly accepted.
“CCS taught me the necessary discipline to complete my projects, provided me with a great foundation in drawing and painting, connected me with successful working artists, and, most of all, expanded my vision of what qualifies as art,” explained Lastomirsky.
“One of my fine arts instructors, Joe Bernard, would explain an assignment. Then we would spend the rest of the class looking at work that he felt met the criteria, everything from Rauschenberg to Egon Schiele to Schwitters. As a young man from the lower east side of Detroit, I never knew the art he showed us existed.
“Professor Russell Keeter taught me the basics of drawing, anatomy and painting. We maintained a close friendship right up to his passing. I’ve also kept in touch with John Ganis (photography instructor) and regularly run into two other CCS alumni, Mike O'Keefe, a glass artist, and Mark Hooper, a successful commercial and now fine art photographer.”
After graduation, Lastomirsky has worked on the sets of “Curly Sue,” “Groundhog Day,” “The Babe,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Maverick,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Practical Magic,” “The Postman,” “The Miracle On 34th Street” remake, “Hoods,” and “The Chamber.” He later started making concrete tiles, which led to creating furniture and countertops under the name Mud Pie Studio.
Lastomirsky's furniture has been included in the book 500 Tables published by Lark Books and he has been written about in Portland Magazine, the Oregonian and the Columbian newspapers. The artist participated in the annual art exhibition at the Portland Japanese Garden that has since ended and has had pieces accepted in several local competitions including the Wenatchee, Washington annual sculpture show and the bench competition in St Helens, Oregon.
He shared, "Over the years, I've learned that a part of being creative today is finding alternative ways to get exposure for your work. This involves connecting and networking with others as well as entering competitions. It definitely takes work, but you should never give up on your dream."
For more information, visit Lastomirsky's blog at www.joelastomirsky.blogspot.com.
- Graduation Year: 1976
- Major: Fine Arts
- Employer: Mudpie Studio
- Title: Owner
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