Who ART YOU? 20
Long before I became an artist, my good friend who was an artist herself, gave me some valuable advice. She said buy original art. And when I lamented that I didn't think I could afford it, she said she would rather see me buy just one piece of art for my house than a bunch of random reproductions from a random store. So with her help, she took me to an art exhibit of one of her favorite artists, Trine Bumiller. There was a piece I absolutely fell in love with and bought. The cool thing about this art piece, is 12 years later I still love the art as much as the first day I bought it. (unfortunately I can’t find a photo of it in time for this post) but…. , I have other photos of Trine’s work and I know you will admire her work and her story as much as I do.
Who ART You?
How did you grow up?
I grew up in Ohio with a fairly normal family, although my father traveled internationally a lot making travel documentaries (and we sometimes traveled with him) and he traveled all over the US to screen them. My mother is from Denmark, which is how I got the spelling of my name. I am the second of four girls.
I became an artist because…
I honestly couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do. I was lucky to have parents who told me to study what ever I was passionate about.
What brought you to art? My parents both appreciated art and design quite a bit. My father had an architecture degree and made beautiful architectural renderings, he taught me to paint and draw very early. My mother taught me to sew and encouraged me. I thought I was good at it and I loved doing it so I pursued it.
Describe your favorite art piece that you had trouble letting go.
I don’t really have trouble letting go. I am just glad when they find good homes. I’m lucky to have some major pieces in public collections here so I can always visit! I always think my best work is work I haven’t made yet so I’m always looking forward, not back.
If you could come back and live as any artist, (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
I think Georgia O’Keefe or Agnes Martin. They both found a connection with the land and were able to maintain their isolation and privacy while having a larger audience for their work during their lifetimes. They pursued their own work relentlessly.
Who, what influences your art?
Nature, the outdoors, and the environment.
What has art taught you?
How to see the world, how to see history, how to travel.
Favorite/best resources as an artist?
I use Dick Blick for most materials and their wood panels allowed me to switch from canvas to wood. Locally I go to Meiningers. Art books from RH Hamilton.
What becomes a magical instrument in your hands?
I’m pretty in love with my large watercolor brush right now.
What medium do you use? Why?
I use oils. They are by far the most versatile in terms of a range of modes of application, and range of color, also range of transparency to opacity, thick to thin, shiny to matte.
What is your favorite subject matter?
I am interested in connectivity and finding meaning beyond the surface. Natural forms with concepts of memory and time.
What are you still hoping to learn?
How to really express myself in a passionate and powerful way.
When I think of art….
I think of my whole world, from what I do every day, to ho I make decisions about where to go what to do, what to read and what to see. Who to talk to and listen to.
How do life, business, creativity and art intersect?
For me they are indecisively mixed. Business is the least fun, but it helps you to reach an audience, to allow you to keep making work, to expand your reach.
A defining moment in my life was ……
when I went to RISD. Everything I thought I knew about art was completely different that what I learned, but what I learned was that it was much greater and more amazing than I realized.
Best advice I ever got about art or being an artist was …
to find my own voice.
Do you have a ritual or practice any creative activities before you make art? If so, what is it?
I like to start with a clean studio; I keep notes in a journal that I write in every day: I do a lot of research and make studies before I start paintings. I gesso my panels with 20-40 coats of gesso and sanding in between.
Is there a quote that inspires you or that you try to live your life by?
Is there anything new you are planning to introduce in the future?
I am currently working on paintings of glaciers on sheer fabric to hang in an installation at the University of Colorado Art Museum in an exhibition about climate change. While I have worked on fabric before and with site specific installation, the scale of it (it will fill an entire gallery) feels new. I am excited about seeing something so solid and substantial rendered in a material so fragile and light. I am hoping the message is inherent in the work, even without knowing the subject.
If you aren’t on my newsletter getting the lastest uptodate information, you may be missing out. Sign up here. Not only will I be offering some really rad online art workshops in the future that I know you will like, (say yes!), but I will be hosting a random drawing in the weeks to come! But only my subscribers to the newsletter, (not just the blog) will be eligble to win.
Follow me on IG ( @janmccarthy ) to get the lastest photo ops from my neighborhood (whichever one I happen to be in)