Art is a craft that takes dedication, adaptability, and a never-give-up mentality. Perhaps no one knows this better than Jason Gast, an art teacher at Chesterton Middle school and a local artist extraordinaire.
Born and raised in Valparaiso, Gast first discovered his love for art in high school. He attended Ball State University and graduated in 2001 with a visual arts education degree and later obtained his master’s degree in ceramics in 2005. He taught ceramic and sculpture art at Griffith High School from 2001 to 2012 before taking up his current position at Chesterton Middle School.
“In class, I rely heavily on the production aspects of art, which typically involve a lot of different types of projects,” Gast said. “I’m a strong believer in the idea that one of the best ways you’re going to learn something is to simply do it in practice. The self-portraits that we do in class are probably one of my favorites that I do with the students.”
Gast said that he teaches his students the principles, terminology, and historical elements revolving around art so they can have a solid understanding of projects and their contexts.
“It’s more about doing one-on-one work with students to help develop and flesh out their art skills,” Gast said. “Despite all of this, every day is going to be different. A large part of being a teacher is having a strong sense of adaptability.”
“Being an art teacher has been one of the greatest things I have done in my life,” Gast said. “I’ve had students from years ago message me now thanking me for everything I’ve done for them. It really puts into perspective the effect teachers can have on their students for the rest of their lives.”
When Gast isn’t a teacher, he operates as a local artist. The type of paintings he does are monochromatic, meaning one color only, portraits. His portraits typically serve as memorial pieces; everything from portraits of loved ones and beloved pets, to popular artists like Kurt Cobain, Tom Petty, and Chester Bennington. This past June, Gast had an art show at the Chesterton Art Center.
He states that one of his favorite pieces of art is “The Old Guitarist” by Pablo Picasso, which also is monochromatic in style.
Gast said that art commissions are open. If you are interested in reaching out to him for a commission, feel free to contact him via his Facebook page calledMr Gast Art (www.facebook.com/mrgastart/), his Instagram page mrgastart, and his YouTube page Mr Gast Art (www.youtube.com/channel/UCIeqE81QD-WbMDi1bkdk7JQ/featured).
Attached art works of his are taken from his Facebook page: Stan Lee (grey), Chester Bennington (green).