Stefan Janoski is a self-taught painter, sculptor, writer, and professional skateboarder. Born in 1979 in Berkeley, California, he grew up exploring the natural surroundings of rural northern California, later applying this curiosity and playfulness to painting and sculpture. His work, which can be richly comedic, often revisits accepted wisdom about universal themes of life, death, money, power, language, and religion to bring overlooked questions to the forefront.
Stefan’s paintings and sculptures in bronze, aluminum, and clay have been shown around the world. His work has been in solo and group exhibitions in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Berlin, Kansas City, Sacramento, and Portland.
From 2009 to 2015, Stefan created from his studio in Brooklyn, bringing to life ideas collected in the sketchbooks he kept on him over years of international travel. His early works often focused on larger than life paintings, like “Wolfmouth Necklace” — which investigates the consumption of consumerism — and “Soothed from Self Sounds” — which examines the reciprocally de- and constructive nature of the human desire for chaos and order. These works and more create a space to reflect on the inextricably primal nature of humanity, uncovering connections often obscured through modernity. Meanwhile, “Off Duty Jesus” and “Horrorscope” approach archetypal religious figures with even more playfulness, imbuing base human instincts into holy beings and gaining a personal perspective into the divine.
Today, from his painting and sculpting studio in Los Angeles, Stefan continues to explore familiar narratives of popular culture and religion and investigate the motives and influences that narrators, authors, and audiences have on both the telling and reading of history.
Stefan often approaches subjects with a disarming levity, allowing viewers to access the sense of humor he finds inherent to life and the natural world. “Relax…Jesus” is a meditation on crucifixion, where stately, polished bronze suggests a reverence to history and tradition, while the tongue in cheek depiction of Christ lounging on a cross-shaped pool float—sunglasses affixed and cocktail in hand—simultaneously betrays fealty to anything beyond the relatable human experience. Stefan’s interests often stem from this point of accessibility, as in the bronze sculpture of Sisyphus pinned under his unyielding boulder, entitled “Fuck It.”
These existential interests extend into Stefan’s video work, notably the stop motion film, “God I Need a Girlfriend,” in which creationism is shown in both humorous and brutally realistic terms by a lonely bachelor named Adam. The film received awards from 13 film festivals and won Best Animation at the 2019 Beverly Hills Film Festival.
Somewhere between surrealism, parody, and self-exploration, Stefan’s work captures the everyday and eternal in a space they rarely otherwise meet.