Artist, professor, world traveler, all worthy descriptions; however inquisitive best describes Noah Jemisin. “Curiosity! That’s my operative word. From infancy, it signified an innate quest for knowledge. I often sat beneath my grandmother’s quilting horses in Birmingham, Alabama as she made quilts, asking her questions about her life and the past. My methods for learning were inquiring, investigating, and exploring nature. I searched the water of my favorite old ditch near home to find tadpoles, frogs, crawfish, and the occasional snake. At twilight, I ran around chasing fireflies and dodging night birds and bats.

“On warm southern days, I sometimes laid on my back in a nearby meadow attempting to create images out of the passing clouds, or found quiet places to draw and paint – trying to bend pencil and brush to my will. It was through these exercises that I discovered the correlation between the lines and my thoughts. These things served to create an unquenchable thirst for discovering new people, cultures, and new worlds. “Encouraging my artistic endeavors were my musician father and two talented elementary and high school art teachers. Mrs. Carter verified that I was a gifted artist, while Mr. Van introduced me to great masters and wonderful new art materials. I was extremely lucky to have this cast of folks around me because they appreciated the importance of cultivating the imagination. Despite being an exceptional athlete and good at science and math academically, the thing that challenged me most was using my creativity to make interesting art.

Jemisin studied fine arts at the University of Iowa, earning MA and MFA degrees. After graduate school, he obtained a full-time position at LaGuardia College – CUNY. He taught at the University of Iowa, Illinois State University, Long Island University (CW Post campus), Purchase College (SUNY), and as a visiting artist at many art institutions. His works are included in a number of public and private collections throughout the US and the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC and the Montclair Museum, NJ.

We put it all together
Noah Jemisin