Ms. Krieger Shows Her ‘Sub’stantial Artistic Side

Subsitute teaching helps Ms. Krieger find the perfect balance in creating artwork


Matisse Arnone

Ms. Krieger defines herself as a representational artists, but she says that her favorite mediums are watercolor and oil paint

Matisse Arnone

Elinor Krieger walks into the main office on a dreary Monday morning. She is one of three building substitutes at City High, and it’s time to see what class she will be filling in for today. The secretary in the main office smiles as she walks in. Krieger’s hopes have come true: it’s an art day.

“[Subbing for art classes] is really fun because I usually bring all my paints anyway, so then I’m just vibing with everyone. It’s so sick to create with other creators,” Krieger said.

While she substitutes, Ms. Krieger can often be seen painting or creating art in some other way when she is not actively teaching. She thinks that the best part about making art in classrooms is the conversations that it provokes with students.

“It’s wild because the most fun part about making art during work is usually there at least a few students that are very weirdly interested in the fact that I’m painting, but then that turns into like some wild connection between us,” Krieger said. “I’ve had some wonky brain conversations about the disconnect between people and how art is a really big connector.”

According to Krieger, this job fits her interests perfectly at the moment for several reasons. She says a big thing is that being a substitute doesn’t require a lot of outside work to be put in which allows for more time to do what she enjoys.

“Sometimes I have classes where everyone’s just doing work, so I can paint in school if I’m not actively teaching. But literally, every day after I get home, I either go on a walk, garden, or paint,” Krieger said. “This job is pretty sick because since I’m a substitute, I don’t have to grade anyone, so I have tons of time after work to create.”

The idea of not having to grade people is another reason why she thinks this job is the perfect fit for her. Krieger had previously wanted to become an art teacher or professor to fund her art-making, but she has a moral dilemma with grading things.

“I have a deep issue with grading, which is why I don’t want to become an actual teacher,” Krieger said. “I can’t physically bring myself to grade someone because it’s so fake. You’re not defined by a freaking letter.”

Before having this current job as a substitute teacher, Krieger always knew that her life would be connected to art in some way.

“My mom was an elementary teacher. When she had me and my brother, she quit teaching to stay at home and take care of us,” Krieger said. “We always kind of had a classroom in our house, and we just had a big art room. I’ve been drawing since I could pick up any drawing-like thing. I’ve been selling art since I was 14, but I’ve been making art as long as I can remember.”

Krieger currently defines herself as a representational artist but doesn’t like to limit herself in the types of art that she creates.

“I do a ton of self-portraits because it’s hard to look at yourself for a long time. I try to get a self-portrait out at least once a week,” Krieger said.

Krieger hopes to inspire all students to tap into the art that surrounds their lives every day, despite any past experiences they may have had.

“I think the biggest thing that people don’t think about is that art is a learned skill. It’s just like reading or doing sports, etc,” Krieger said. “You can learn how to make art. It just takes a lot of practice and hopefully if you’re super into it, or you want to be into it, it’s just a habit.”

Krieger says being in touch with your creative side is more important than ever before, as she sees an increasing lack of motivation among students.

“I just feel like there are so many creative minds that are being smudged out. I feel like phones are like such an isolation piece right now,” Krieger said. “Art is the opposite of that. Creating is the opposite of that.”

That brings her back to having the chance to make art alongside other students in her favorite class to be a substitute.

“Having people paint with you is so sick. Having other artists around you is like so much energy just buzzing, so I’m stoked,” Krieger said. “I make art because I have to. It feels good.”

In the future, Krieger hopes to continue to sell her artwork and also do more art inspired by life and nature. However, regardless of what direction her life path takes, Krieger knows it will include art.

“I think it’ll be fun to see what I’m making in the future. Because no matter what, you’re always growing and your art is always changing,” Krieger said. “I don’t know what I want. But I think that I’ll just do it.”