I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, and attend public schools through the 1950s and 1960s. I received scholarships and teaching assistantships at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Chicago, where I received both my Graduate and Undergraduate degrees in 1975 and 1972. After teaching for one year at New York State University in Oswego, and spending a year as a visiting artist at Auckland University and Christchurch University in New Zealand, I accepted a teaching position here at USD in1980, and have taught here ever since.
I am interested in Photography as a personally expressive and creative medium. I have been using it as my own artistic language and medium since 1969, and have been teaching it since 1971. I feel that I am a tenacious teacher. I stay with my students for as long as they need me. Teaching the mechanics, and technical processes and operations of the medium is woven into a larger and more significant fabric of personal design and emotional color. I am, in the end, more concerned about who my students are as human beings, than simply what they do. I strongly feel that an artist is not able to make a visual piece that is any more sensitive than they are as a human being. My classes are constructed with assignments, slides, and demonstrations that I feel have potential to open up new passages of growth and self understanding, but ideally I want my students to find, for themselves, personally significant themes and issues that may be wrapping their own lives, and I want them to try and invent and design a visual language that will personally present and interpret the meaning and significance that lies near the deepest roots of their lives. Why students learn, I feel, has much to do with the need for self understanding and the desire to grow. I try to provide a nurturing environment for this to take place. Photography's big challenge is to somehow infuse a personal and emotional truth into the camera's mechanical reflection of a physical truth. I make sure that my students know that what is physically there is important, but what else is there, metaphorically, or symbolically, could be something beyond the surface of understanding, and more within a stratum that reveals a more personal significance.
I feel that creative research is essential to my evolution and development as a human being, and subsequently, as an artist and educator. The subject matter that I choose, the medium that I use to describe the subject, and the presentation of the work, are all about reinterpretation from the physical into the emotional. As I investigate the subject that I have chosen, I investigate myself as well. What I learn along the way expands my understanding of the subject, myself, and the medium that I have chosen as a tool of expression and excavation. All that I learn from this activity is reflected in what I teach, and what I present as my Art.
- Holographic Workshop, Holography, New York Holographic Inst., 2001
- Photographic Workshop, Digital Photography, Rochester Inst. of Technology, 1995
- Master of Fine Art, Photography, The School of the Art Inst. of Chicago, 1975
- Summer School, Cultural Studies, The University of Krakow, 1973
- Bachelor of Fine Art, Visual Art, The School of the Art Inst. of Chicago, 1972
- Summer School, Visual Art, Ox Bow Summer School of Art, 1972
- Summer School, Photography, St. John's College, 1971
- "Views from the Halls of Purgatory", The South Dakota Arts Council, (2013 - 2014)
- "Researching the Creative Potential of the 19th Century Kallitype Process", USD Office of Research, (2012)
- "Place and Identity", The South Dakota Arts Council/Artist Project Grant, (2010 - 2011)
- "Vermillion in Blue", USD Office of Research/Research Excellence Development Grant, (2010 - 2011)
- Banasiak, J., (2013), "For Christ's Sake, Vermillion, SD", Blurb Books, iss. first.
- Banasiak, J., (2013), Mojacar, Spain, Fishing Line Press, iss. first, p. Cover and back cover.
- Banasiak, J., (2010), "Moorish Lookout - Mojacar, Spain", The Photo Review, vol. 29, iss. 3.
- Banasiak, J., (2010), "Curtain", Se-Tsu-Ko.Blogspot.com.
- Banasiak, J., (2010), "Scenes from the Dreams of a Fortune Teller", University of South Dakota, iss. Spring 2010.
Awards and Honors:
- South Dakota Arts Council Project Grant 2013-14, South Dakota Arts Council, 2013
- Professional Photographer Award, Creative Quarterly Magazine, 2012
- The Sean Owen Newman Memorial Award, P.M.P.E. Gallery - New Hope, PA, 2012
- "Inside Track Research Grant", USD Office of Research, 2011
- "USD Research Excellence Development Grant", USD Office of Research, 2010
- South Dakota Artist Project Grant, South Dakota Arts Council, 2010