Like many, I have lived through times of extreme joy and heartbreaking sadness—sometimes inexplicably at the same time. Only through painting and photography can I process and express the simultaneous range of feelings that words cannot explain. Organic shapes and textures lure me into subjects that often combine conflicting emotions like joy and sadness, or confusion and stability. It's the space between opposite emotions that captures my interest. Through my art, I want to create a walkway into a transcendent place where easily defined emotions don't apply. This is the essence of my personal style.
I left Chicago in 1987 and began my professional life as a writer. I took my first photography class in 1989 and fell in love with the art of the photo. In 1993, I began taking drawing and painting classes and workshops from a number of Colorado and Wyoming artists. I started painting with pastels but over the past five years have painted almost exclusively with inks. I think my foray into ink painting is an extension of my love of photography and the printing process.
Inspiration surrounds my home in Colorado, but I also travel to faraway places—always searching for new ways to express complex emotions.
I hope that through this website and my Etsy shop at schwebacharts.etsy.com, I will continue my son Jake's quest for beauty, grace, and meaning. Jake left this earth way too early. He struggled with mental illness almost his entire 22 years. But while here, he shared my love of beauty through the lens and with paint. His experiments with his art committed me to courageous exploration and daring.
A percentage of each sale made on schwebacharts.com and the upcoming jakeschwebach.com (a website still being developed) will be donated to a suicide prevention group. Schwebach Arts is currently interviewing groups to discover the best fit to carry on Jake's legacy, and to advocate for those with mental illness.
Check back to see who we have found for this partnership. If, in the meantime, you purchase from Schwebach Arts, we will set aside 10% of the sale for this future donation.
At the age of 14, Jake held his hands up to me—his mother— on a dark, sultry summer night. He used his index fingers and thumbs to make a square frame, and held this artist’s viewfinder up to my eyes so I could see what he was seeing. Through darkened low-hanging branches over Lake Madison in South Dakota, Jake showed me how he would frame a picture of the branches, coconut-white moon and crystalline water. “Look at this picture. So beautiful. When I get my camera, I will be taking shots like these all the time.” A few weeks later, Jake got his first 35mm camera, and before he passed away at the age of 22, in November 2015, he held true to that promise. He took thousands of stunning photos on three different continents, of cherished friends, family, animals and any and all objects of elegance. Jake also discovered his passion for environmental activism and social justice as many of his later photos demonstrate. Jake’s photographs speak of his quest to find grace in this often unkind world—because at times, Jake suffered great loneliness. Jake's work often reflects his search for hope, for the conviction of things not seen. We are currently developing a website devoted exclusively to Jake's photographs.
Check back on the launch date for Jake's site.