For CofC Systems Analyst, Art Comes Second Nature

For CofC Systems Analyst, Art Comes Second Nature

You might expect John Skosnik, a computer programmer by training, to gravitate toward technology in his free time.

But, while the digital realm dominates his work as a systems analyst in the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, Skosnik prefers to spend his weekends drawing and painting animals.

“I actually prefer the more traditional medias — the pens and the paint — not so much the new-fangled Photoshop,” says the Michigan native who came to the College last May. “I spend enough time in my day job looking at a screen.”

That’s why, most weekends, he’s creating art in his studio or scouting out inspiration on Lowcountry beaches. His passion is natural science illustration, which blends scientific exactitude and creative expression.

Skosnik has always loved art, but it was the art courses at the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Washington that really nurtured his creative sensibility. While formal art training taught him about structure and technique, he also found the experience a bit intimidating.

“The worst is when an art instructor will look at a piece – a piece you have worked on for hours – and there’s a real awkward, pregnant pause,” he says. “It really helps to check your ego at the door. Still, this is like your baby.”

And Skosnik has developed a habit of naming his “babies” along the way: There’s his vibrant watercolor of the red wolf, Reginald; his acrylic of the scarlet lily beetle, Lily; and his graphite pencil drawing of the crow, Harvey.

He’s become particularly fond of painting birds – especially seagulls, since they allow him to get close enough for snapping photos or sketching thumbnails to use as references back in his studio.

Though pleased with his progress as an artist, Skosnik’s not yet ready to show his work in an exhibit. “I’m shy about that,” he says. “I like to build up my craft first.”