Jantzen Earns International Reputation for Art and Design
As an artist and internationally known designer, Michael Jantzen (B.S. ‘72, Art and Design) has been featured in prestigious publications like Architecture Magazine, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, House and Garden, House Beautiful, Wired, Newsweek Domus, L’Arca, Popular Science, World of Interiors, Blueprint, City, The New York Times, The LA Times, Architecture Now Volumes 2 and 3, Brave New Houses, Architecture in the United States, Architecture in The 20th Century and many more.
Born in Centralia, Ill., and growing up on a summer resort near Carlyle, Ill., Jantzen began experimenting with structure design, which eventually brought him to SIUE. “Everyone at SIUE was very helpful in allowing me to be creative and create my own curriculum,” said Jantzen. Art & Design faculty Paul Atkins and Dan Anderson were two people in particular who helped Jantzen to pursue his dreams. After graduating from SIUE, Jantzen went on to receive his Master’s of Arts Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Jantzen now lives in Los Angeles and has his own business called Jantzen Studio. Here, he focuses his creativity toward developing a greener environment by integrating nature, science and technology with architectural design and art. “I was first inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller at SIUE. Fuller, a visionary architect, philosopher and inventor, designed the SIUE Religious Center, which sits astride the Earth’s 90th western meridian of longitude.
“At the time, sculpture was my focus and my projects continued to become larger until they were so big they were habitable,” noted Jantzen. Some of his creativity is informed by science, technology, nature, avant-garde electronic music and he continues to be inspired by his wife, Ellen Jantzen, who is also an internationally know artist. Jantzen has established a non-profit organization called The Human Shelter Innovation Institute. The primary mission of the institute is to explore designs that make use of alternative materials, technologies and manufacturing techniques, explained Jantzen. The research and goal of this program is design, engineer, and prototype alternative eco-friendly human shelter systems for all of humanity, without the constraints of conventional thinking. Jantzen would like to see his work at a university.
Jantzen has made his life his work, but he does not consider his professional obligations to be “work” because he loves what he is doing. “No matter where I am, my mind is always thinking about different ideas that I could use in my art and design,” said Jantzen. “Whether I am listening to music, traveling or working on pure art, I am always exploring different possibilities.” Jantzen advises anyone, no matter what the career choice, never to jeopardize their values and goals. In any line of work, Jantzen feels that creativity and reinvention are the keys to self success.
Janzten’s M-House, made from the M-vironment system, consists of a series of rectangular panels that are attached with hinges to an open space frame grid of seven interlocking cubes. For more information about Michael Janzten, go to www.humanshelter.org.