A friend recently scrolled through pictures of a few of the pieces in the “Gobstoppers” series by the preternaturally gifted artist, Tina Scepanovic. “So they’re just balls glued to a plank or something?” he inquired, perplexed. “Are they made of the Gobstoppers candy?”

On the surface, these might sound like the questions of a philistine with no understanding of the complexities of modern art. Yet stripped down to its material elements, that’s what these wry pieces are: a series of balls, set in straight parallel rows, with the rows organized in roughly quadrilateral shapes, and captured in different materials with different finishes. But if the afore mentioned friend’s observations sound a bit callow, it seems likely that the artist would be thrilled by the simplicity and candor of his questions. As she explained in an interview with SSS Edit Magazine: “My Gobstoppers were born out of a desire to make sense of time during the rinse and repeat of lockdown life in 2020. The Gobstoppers represent an attempt at tracking time in the absence of an external reference. They are abstractions of calendars, but clearly inaccurate ones. The series is meant to be funny as each piece boils down to a blaring mistake. I hope that conveys an underlying sense of optimism and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.”

Scepanovic’s detailed and frequently astounding wall installations often play with a mixture of the austere and the absurd. Her work is both a testament to art forms that are many centuries old, and an attempt to imbue a little chaos, humor, and spontaneity into those forms. She has been trained by some of the true gurus of her craft, having studied at the famed Isabel O’Neil Studio in New York and under the tutelage of Master Glider Charles Douglas. Yet she has traced the roots of her modern work back to her childhood in Silicon Valley, “Surrounded by apple orchards and the spirit of innovation.” In those earliest halcyon days, Scepanovic described the joy of putting imagination to whatever materials she had at hand, making hair dye from pebbles and adolescent couture from cork board and recycled polyester.

Her modern work also retains this sense of play. No matter how much dedication and expertise lies in her work, you can still feel the ebullient ideas beneath it. The titles of her pieces reflect this interplay between hard-labored perfection and a kind of peanut-gallery cheekiness (“Pillow Talk: What Will We Pack The Kids For Lunch?” and “Pillow Talk: Should We Get The Kids A Nintendo Switch?” for example).

Perhaps the best expression of this push-and-pull is found in her piece “Equal But Not The Same,” using vintage curios, German cabochons, and 24K gold. The five pieces are attached to the wall in a falling pattern, with each individual element turned somewhat askew. It’s not unlike what you’d expect to see if you watched them fall from above all at once. The pieces are fixed but seem wobbly and precarious, tension that’s clearly by design. It’s reflected in the brief summation of the piece by the artist. “Most parents claim they love their children equally, with the caveat that equal does not mean in the same way. To the recipients of these inconsistent forms of love, however, it can feel deeply personal… This piece explores the complexity of perceived family favoritism – the dynamic of a parent giving what they feel is best and the perception of their efforts in the eyes of observers.”

Scepanovic’s work has been displayed in galleries from coast to coast and in private collections worldwide. In 2023 alone, her work appeared in five different collections in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York, including exhibits at the Painting Center and NYCxDesign in New York City, and the artist hopes to expand viewings throughout the country in 2024.



Tina Scepanovic