I grew up in the Midwest and attended college in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where I studied sculpture. I decided to take a break from college, and joined the U.S. Army as a cavalry scout one week after 9/11. After serving in the United States Army and being deployed to Iraq, I faced new challenges dealing with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was not sure what to do with my life.
I was fortunate to get back into art and start learning the medium of glass. My interest in sculpture stems from my experiences as a soldier. I have a new appreciation for life and how I look at it. Being wounded and dealing with the pains of combat (both mentally and physically) takes a toll on a person. These experiences have led me to search for passionate and creative means of exploring my emotions, political beliefs, personal views of the world around me and psychological distress. I feel art is not meant to fix problems, but to make others aware that they exist. This awareness may lead to change or at the very least comfort and understanding through conversation.
Creating art is an escape for me. It is my outlet from within, from the confines of my own mind. The experiences I had in the military and particularly in Iraq, shaped who I have become as a man and as a person. I do not always know how to interpret my thoughts and memories of these experiences in words, so my art becomes my medium.
Art has changed my life by giving me focus and helping me begin to heal from those life changing experiences. Learning how powerful art is and the impact it can have on a person's life has been the one major reason I am where I am today, driving me to learn more and to educate others about art.
Jeffrey Stenbom is a sculptor who primarily works in glass. Shaped by his experiences in the military, Stenbom uses his art as a medium for interpreting his thoughts and memories. Stenbom has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including finalist for the Stanislav Libenský Award in 2015. He was awarded the Silver Academic Award in Bullseye’s Emerge 2016. Stenbom received his MFA in Studio Art, Glass/Sculpture from Tulane University in 2015 and his BFA in Glass/Sculpture and BS in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2012. His work has been featured in galleries and exhibitions throughout the United States, and he has taught and assisted with workshops at museums, universities, and art centers, including Pilchuck Glass School, Museum of Glass’s Hot Shop Heroes project, The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, and Pittsburg Glass Center. He has held residencies with The Corning Museum of Glass (2016), and Bullseye Projects (2017), where he explored the creation of powerful and impactful artwork using symbolism and iconography through kiln-form techniques in glass. He has also taught as an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He currently lives in Apple Valley, Minnesota.