Sisko Gallery, Seattle Washington

Jay Steensma

Jay Steensma



Steensma was a Northwest artist, primarily a painter, who was a student of the Northwest School of artists. He was extremely prolific, and explored alternate media and materials; he was known for painting on brown paper shopping bags. Chalices, snakes, houses, clouds, birds, and fish are frequent subjects in his work, which often achieve a glyph-like symbology. His artwork resonates with established Northwest imagery, and, at the same time, is deeply personal and often disturbing.


Steensma was born December 8, 1941, in Moscow, Idaho, the eldest son of John and Oliva Steensma, and was raised in nearby Belmont, Washington. He moved to Seattle in 1959 to attend the University of Washington School of Art. While at the UW, he won a prize in the Northwest Printmakers Annual at the Henry Art Gallery. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1962, he studied with Morris Graves, and befriended Mark Tobey, Guy Anderson, and other artists of the original Northwest School. He briefly worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, then in 1965 returned to Seattle, where he taught at Cornish College of the Arts




B.F.A. (1962) University of Washington, Seattle, WA