Artpace Teen Council: An Interview with Artist and Educator Michael Stoltz

The Artpace Teen Council is a nine-month, paid program designed for San Antonio area high school students (15–18 years old) to become advocates for contemporary art and young leaders in their community. Teen Council members work with Artpace staff and artists to develop teen programs, support Artpace events, and create community-based projects throughout the school year.   
 This year, Teen Council members will research and write an Artpace blog entry about the innovative art and artists that make up the thriving San Antonio community. 

Interview By Teen Council Member Cris Fuentes

In 2018, I was a freshman at Jefferson High School. My art teacher was Mr. Stoltz, and he introduced me to the Artpace Teen Council. Because of Mr. Stoltz, I have been a part of the Teen Council for almost three years. I wanted to show my gratitude by having him be a part of my blog for Artpace. I reached out to him via email and asked him some questions about being an artist. 

Cris Fuentes is a senior at Jefferson High School. This is Cris’ third year participating in the Artpace Teen Council. 

How long have you been making art? 

I decided I wanted to be an artist in elementary school. I’ve been making art since then, but only in the past few years have I started to make art in a more intentional way.  

What kind of art do you make? 

I’m working on a few projects that are parts of a whole. Like a few different ways of saying the same thing. I’m using painting, collage, text, and sculpture. Some of it is abstract and some of it is very straight forward. 

What is your main inspiration? 

Death and one’s process of dealing with the understanding that one’s life here is temporary. 

Is there a certain audience you aim for? 

No, my work is intended to be universal.  

Do you feel like San Antonio or its culture has had an impact or influence on your work?  

Yes and no. The San Antonio art community has definitely been there to inspire and encourage my work, but there are also limitations there. Time and place always have an impact no matter where or when.  

How have you developed your art career? 

I’ve tried to be active in the arts by going to shows and meeting other artists, curators, and patrons. I read about art and artists. I stay close to art. I look for it. Most importantly, I keep producing work, and I keep trying to make my work better. Of course, I want to sell my work, but that’s not why I make it. I make it because I want to. If I weren’t making what I’m making now, I’d make something else. 

What is your favorite part about being an artist? 

I love making art. I love the process. I love having the idea, figuring out how to communicate that idea, and then finally, that thing or idea becoming more than I thought or could have thought of. I feel like my truest self when I’m making art. 

To read more about Michael Stoltz, please visit stoltzworks.com and @stoltzworks on Instagram.  

Photos courtesy of Michael Stoltz.