Jason Van Hoose, a Youngstown State University graduate, has a love for Youngstown that cannot be tamed. His uncanny talent in art drives him to stay focused on the core aspect of what he does rather than the economics. His work at the Knox Building is displayed in the soon-to-be art gallery on the third floor.
Before going to YSU, Van Hoose went to Ohio State University. He ended up at YSU because they had a better art program.
Van Hoose got his start, he said, by drawing on his arms when he was younger. His parents always discouraged it, but after one incident in which he covered both of his arms with a ballpoint pen, they gave up.
“It has something to do with what’s in my mind, passing through my arm, in my hand onto something and into reality,” Van Hoose said. “There’s not only like a psychic feeling, but there’s this very incredible tactical sensation that’s either a pen or a pencil or a paintbrush moving across a surface. That’s very appealing to me.”
Van Hoose said his parents secretly enjoyed him doing art, but they pushed him towards going into business or the sciences. He started studying environmental science, despite not having a knack for it. He secretly took art classes on the side before coming to Youngstown and becoming a full-on art major.
“The classes were small; the faculty were great,” Van Hoose said. “The faculty were some of the best artists of that time.”
Michael Green, another YSU graduate within the art department, also does work for the Knox Building with Van Hoose.
“I was a naive kid from the countryside that just fell off the turnip truck,” Van Hoose said. “He helped me.”
The two have been friends since they were in college together.
“We had at least seven to 12 people in our class, all of them trying to make something of themselves,” Green said. “Our professors were all working artists. It was almost like an all-star team.”
Green had come from Trumbull Business College, following his true love of art when he dropped out and enrolled in the art program at YSU.
Jacob Harver, the owner of the Knox Building, is working on helping new and existing artists get their work displayed and sold in his building and in the soon-to-be art gallery on the third floor.
“We’ve been working together for years, at least 25 years,” Van Hoose said. “[Green]’s my old business partner and he’s my new business partner [Harver].”
Van Hoose said he owes his professors a great deal. Students he sees now that want to be painters are having a large struggle because painting is thought to be an outdated technique.
“It is changing, but we need it,” he said. “I think people think that it is something unto itself, but really, we are all interdependent on each other.”