Feathers, Whisks, and Kitchen Utensils — This Artist's Creative Arsenal

Paige Simianer | October 19, 2023

This artist transcends the ordinary to embrace the extraordinary.

Featured Artist Steffanie Lorig is a multifaceted creative force, exploring many aspects of the creative arts—from collage and writing children's books to brand design and illustrating concepts.

Rebelling against the confines of traditional realism, she finds solace in the liberating world of idiosyncratic art-makers like outsider artists.

Her paintings, a fusion of various mediums, are a dance of motion. "As I create, I enjoy the sense of motion and the feel of paint between my fingers, often using sticks, feathers, or old kitchen instruments to create harmonies on the canvas," Lorig explains.

Deconstruction and reassembly are pivotal to her creative process, resulting in random compositions that serve as markers of her own life's path. 

Lorig's paintings, described as "energetic adventures", are not just art; they're vibrant narratives, inviting viewers on a journey through the complex interplay of color, texture, and imagination.

Artwork Archive had the chance to chat with Steffanie Lorig about her chosen artwork methods, why she uses kitchen tools in her paintings, and how Artwork Archive makes her art career more manageable! 

You can see more of her work on Discovery and learn more about her art practice below. 

Steffanie Lorig, An Imaginary Menagerie, 36 x 48 in

Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your process?  

One of the most gratifying things I've found over the years is that the more I "let go" of what I want the outcome to be—the more I open up to allow the unexpected to guide me—the more exciting the work becomes.

Sometimes, I approach the canvas with an idea, and it seems to get stilted quickly. But if I reach for something more chaotic, like a whisk or a toy, and use it for mark-making, it sparks greater freedom. This, of course, leads to more interesting possibilities.


Can you elaborate on how you choose things like whisks, toys, and other unique tools and what role they play in your creative process? 

I'm a fan of two very specific things when I paint: making chaos and making order out of that chaos.

The chaos happens when I play and the best way to play is through experimentation. So, I'm frequently reaching for things that might work to that end.

Recently, I retired a metal back-scratcher, adding it as another possible tool in my collection. I also now have my son's plastic aquarium plants after his fish (sadly) passed; they make really interesting lines when dragged across the canvas.

I try to look at things otherwise destined for the landfill with new eyes, repurposing them whenever I can. 

Steffanie Lorig, Returning to the Boundless, 8 x 8 in

You describe your paintings as “energetic adventures” operating on conscious and unconscious levels. Could you elaborate on how you navigate these different levels of meaning in your artwork? 

I'm one of those people who has always seen faces everywhere I look–in the folds of laundry or in the profile of a mountain (there's a name for it: pareidolia). Faces show up in the chaos of the painted surface all the time.

Because I have no preconceived notion of what the painting will become, I let the images take the lead.

It feels like a dance between my conscious and subconscious.

Did I make that face appear on purpose or was it there organically? I don't know. But there it is, asking to be born. It's what I think of when I see Michelangelo’s quote, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."


Your nonprofit work focused on using creative expression as a healing tool for children who have faced adversity. What inspired you to blend creativity and therapy, and how did this experience shape your current artistic practice?

I had some significant health issues starting in my teenage years, going in and out of hospitals every few months. My mom encouraged creativity—whether it was drawing, painting, or writing—and I found it suited my quieter personality.

A few years after I started the nonprofit, Art with Heart, I met a little girl who had been in and out of the hospital for most of her life, battling a recurring brain tumor. Her story deeply resonated with me and inspired my first book—a therapeutic activity book for hospitalized children.

My dad had studied psychology in college, and I used to read his textbooks for fun, so therapeutic modalities were a natural interest. Plus, my experience in the hospital gave me a perspective that super-healthy people just don’t have. The blending of these elements—art, writing, and psychology—maybe, in retrospect, was inevitable.

Steffanie Lorig, Vibrational Symphonies, 72 x 47.5 in

What does success as an artist mean to you? 

Success is many things, not just one thing. 

When I started painting in earnest, it was truly a means of self-expression—getting the stress out of my head and body. It was centering and calming.

But then people started reacting to my work and buying paintings. That was pretty exciting and led to many shows.

Success, to me, is when you give time and energy to the thing you love to do and it gives you gifts in return.


What impact do you hope your artwork will have on viewers? 

When people buy my art, my hope is they will see a new story every time they look at it—a nuanced detail they never noticed before. 

But, ultimately, my hope is that my art will inspire others to make time for their own creativity.


Could you provide some insights into your creative workspace? What about your studio (or wherever you create) deems it as productive? 

For a while, I had the tiniest workspace (basically just a kitchen table). Now, I have a 600-square-foot studio, complete with a 10x6' table. 

As a result, my art has of course gotten larger. But in both cases, it was really up to me to just show up and paint.

When I had my small space, I did a lot of art journaling, which was so freeing. So when my space expanded, I had books of experiments to draw inspiration from.

Steffanie Lorig, Dream Chaser, 36 x 36 in 

Why did you decide to use Artwork Archive to inventory/manage your artwork?

Once I realized I was not going to stop making art, I knew I had to keep track of things.

Word documents or Excel lists just weren’t going to work.

I did a lot of research to figure out what I needed and was an early adopter of Artwork Archive.

I've loved it since day one and recommend it to absolutely every artist I know. I have no idea how I’d get along without it.

The team is super helpful too and every suggestion I’ve given has been implemented into the platform. 


How do you use Artwork Archive on a daily basis? 

Every time I need anything—to show someone the visual history of a painting, to print out a new label, or to send an inventory report, I turn to Artwork Archive.

It might not be daily, but it’s pretty darn close.


What advice would you give an artist that’s just starting out in their professional career? 

Make it easy on yourself and keep track of your process and work with Artwork Archive.

Show up to your studio whether you feel like it or not, and don't forget to make time to play! 

Steffanie Lorig, Hi Bye, 14 x 11 in 

Steffanie Lorig uses Artwork Archive to view a visual history of her artwork, generate professional reports, and more.

You can make an online portfolio, catalog your artwork, and generate reports like inventory reports, tear sheets, and invoices in seconds with Artwork Archive. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free trial and start growing your art business. 

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