Harold Zisla was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He was educated at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Purdue University; University of Notre Dame; received a diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a major in painting; and a B.S. in Art Education and an M.A. in Art History from Case-Western Reserve University.
After school Harold worked as an industrial designer before becoming the Executive Director of the South Bend Art Center in South Bend, Indiana. He left the Art Center to become Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University at South Bend (IUSB). At IUSB he was appointed the first Chairman of the Fine Arts Department; received the All-University Teaching Award (Amoco Foundation Award), was the first Eldon Lundquist Faculty Fellow and became a Professor of Fine Arts.
“After many years spent in accumulating a more or less advancing and expanding experience through rather restrained experimentation, I believe that images are now being released with a new desired authenticity and aesthetic weight appropriate to the process. This personally evolved method, or process, or technique could, perhaps should, be explained, may even be of interest to some; but technique, no matter how unusual and dramatic the “how,” is only a means to continue the ongoingness, which for me, sums up the essence of all creative endeavors but does not exclude many other challenging concerns and considerations. Discovery through imagination for the artist is also a prerequisite for the seriously committed viewer. Congruence with a sympathetic, sophisticated viewer, even though I have found it, or sense it, to be rare, is a hoped for gift, making the doing well worth the travail.
l am satisfied that I have attained simplicity through complexity and the obverse. How much more does one need? Obviously complexity and simplicity are relative terms, and the true definition resides in, and is revealed in, the reality of the work itself, not in words. The best of explanations, of analysis by whomever is always ever incomplete, ever inconclusively tentative; and the artist in speaking of his or her work is, or should be, sorely pressed and cautious in order to prevent self-serving rationalization when seeking a truly objective justification. But why should one have to justify? The work itself is justification enough. Even though I did it, there are others no doubt better qualified, able to effectuate a richer decipherment; and I accept their reactions as valid for them but in no way binding on me or as an impediment to my expanding the continuing experience of making images with all of the attendant ambiguities, frustrations, and infrequent moments of partially healing satisfaction.”
– Harold Zisla
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