Creative Spotlight | Jean Kropper
Published on 12 December 2022
Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make
I have taught purpose-driven art workshops internationally for over twenty-five years in the USA, Canada and around Australia. It is a joy to work with students face-to-face in classrooms or at events and since the COVID-19 pandemic - online. During the pandemic, I taught myself how to shoot and edit video and how to teach on Zoom. What a learning curve! I teach meditative drawing, cartooning, and making things out of paper - such as paper lanterns for Ryde’s Moon Festival. When teaching online, it is exhilarating to be able to bring people together around the globe and share inspiration.
I am an internationally published author of three books, which together have sold over 30,000 copies. I am an expert at providing clear instructions so my students can succeed. That has helped me move online since you can’t pop around to their desk to help.
How does your personal history, or experience inform your creative work?
I was married for 19 years, then towards the end of that, my husband became a volatile alcoholic. My son and I had to leave our home; we both developed PTSD. My husband created a lot of chaos in our lives for twelve years before he died. My teaching now includes insights from my journey of healing with my years of teaching art.
What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why?
Over the past 18 months I have been developing eight modules of the MEDITATIVE DRAWING WORKSHOP that helps people quiet a busy mind and lower their stress levels. It makes mindfulness accessible to a whole new audience. It brings a mix of creativity and wellbeing to people.
In May this year Whittlesea City Council, (Melbourne) VIC, invited me to run a session with their staff who had worked on the frontline through the COVID-19 pandemic. The council was running a major debriefing session to review which of their systems had worked and which had not, through the pandemic. Whittlesea was the worst hit part of Australia for COVID-19 related deaths. They asked me to lead the staff in a Meditative Drawing session at the end of the debriefing event to support their staff in letting go of the stress of the day. Their CEO, Craig Lloyd, understood the powerful role that the arts can play in healing. It is terrific to see how the arts can genuinely improve productivity in a business setting.
Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
I get my ideas from wandering through the Art Gallery of NSW, trawling through art books and from other artists online. Often the work is in a completely different media; an asymmetrical basket, an abstract painting or a vivid contemporary quilt might inspire a drawing.
What’s the most challenging part of working as an artist / creative?
The most challenging part for me is balancing running the business systems and software that is behind it all with the teaching and making art that I love. When students learn new skills and create something they never thought they could create, they radiate joy and pride in their work. It is wonderful to give them that. That keeps me going.
Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?
Contact: 0414 980 081
Find out about Meditative Drawing
Book a Zoom Conversation
What is a paper engineer?