Art and science have been a driving force behind Jeff Rouse’s life since he was a small boy in Park Forest, Illinois. He began drawing seriously at the age of five and continued studies in ceramics and pottery throughout adolescence. In high school he considered a career in the arts, but chose instead to pursue a profession in the sciences. In 1971, Jeff enrolled at Albion College in Michigan to study for an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry, with ceramics and drawing as elective subjects. He graduated magna cum laude in 1975.
While subsequently studying for a degree in dentistry at Indiana University, Jeff continued his training in sculpture and pottery at the University of Indianapolis. His artistic skills served him well in his dental classes, where he displayed such a high level of dexterity that it was suggested he pursue post-graduate studies in the specialty of Maxillofacial Prosthodontics – the creation of artificial prosthesis for patients needing face and or neck reconstruction as a result of birth defects, accidents, with the ravages of disease.
“It was a specialty that would allow me to sculpt. And I knew that’s where I needed to be,” Rouse explained. Jeff then opened his own dental practice in 1983, but continue to studies at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis where he began to take an interest in casting figures in bronze sculpture.
In 2002, Rouse moved to Manhattan to continue sculpting and expand his abilities in drawing and painting. He learned the technique of “sight-sizing” as outlined in the Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course. A year of training with Andrea J. Smith from the American Academy in Florence allowed Rouse to master this technique. He then continued his studies with Wade Schuman, the director of painting at the New York Academy of Art for three years to perfect his technique in realism from earlier charcoal studies to painting in oils.
Rouse has recently returned home to Chicago and is proud to be working in the Cornelia Arts Building.