Briefly describe the work you do.
For the past seven or eight years, I have been focused on installation work in ceramics, most often designed for temporary outdoor installations. I consider the pieces “site-particular,” because they each need some specific components to be present but one of the joys of the work is seeing how it changes installed in different locations.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
Some elements of my upbringing that have a lot of resonance in my work are my attendance and participation in theater from a young age, giving me an interest in immersive environments as well as developing a personal artistic voice. I have always loved the science fiction and fantasy genre (books, television, film), and my consumption of this has directly influenced my artwork as well as my practice and ways of viewing the world and my place in it. Additionally, I have been working in the natural foods industry for over fourteen years, and the people, products, and ideas that I have been exposed to through that employment have a strong influence on my lifestyle and perspectives.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
Due to the nature of ceramics, when working in clay I am very much the “artist toiling away alone in a room,” although generally with some nice loud music. My current studio, however, is borrowed—so along with not making changes/organizing/decorating like I would in a studio of my own, I am constantly aware of the possibility of losing the space and having to find another method/place to work.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Installing work outdoors, even temporarily, often entails permissions and negotiations with public officials or private owners. As I’ve grown, I’ve become more introverted (thus my transition from theater arts to visual arts), and finding that the work I desire to create requires this type of engagement is somewhat humorous. There are roles I hope to fill as an artist, which I think many have in mind: those of questioner, instigator, entertainer, educator, aesthetician…
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
Morning and afternoon: during the regular workday, are best for me. However, multiple jobs and having to get to and from my studio mean I haven’t been getting quite as much pure studio time as I would like… the amount varies throughout the year as other demands on my time fluctuate.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
The last five years, which covers just before and just after my time in graduate school, has seen my work distill to clearer ideas, incorporate more materials, question itself and respond, and allowed me to understand more about my process, concepts, and goals. I hope all of these aspects continue to develop as I continue to grow and change. Certain things have remained constant: my use of multiples, my desire to create work for outdoor installation in the public sphere, the amount of labor and experimentation, and my use of clay as a primary medium.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Some of the strongest influences on my work are literary: particularly writers of science fiction and dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction. The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood has had a profound effect on my work of the past 5 years, and the writings of Ursula K. LeGuin, Ray Bradbury, and others have also deeply affected me, and therefore my work.
Other parts of my life, such as my employment in the natural foods industry and interests in sustainability, as well as individuals who have introduced me to ideas and processes that I was not aware of, have also filtered through my consciousness and found their way into my art practice.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
This is an interesting question, as I do not make my living as an artist currently—I am employed as an adjunct professor, and work in the produce department of a local co-op. If I had taken another educational path when I was younger, I think I may have gone into architecture: a field that also combines elements of aesthetics, creativity, function, energy flow, and sustainability.
Jane completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2006. She moved to Albuquerque in January 2010 to attend the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of New Mexico, focusing on the Art & Ecology Area and participating in the 2011 Land Arts of the American West program. She completed her MFA in early 2013, and currently is teaching at UNM as an adjunct professor in the Ceramics Area.
Coming from the “land of 10,000 lakes” to the high desert was a huge shift, and provided as many challenges as it did inspirations. Jane has spent over fourteen years working in the natural foods industry, and this, along with her love of science fiction and fantasy, has had strong resonances in her art practice. Jane loves her sweet husband, enjoys cooking, eating, and sharing delicious food, losing herself in a good novel, and singing in the studio. Jane considers her strong work ethic one of the most important facets of her personality, but is learning to honor relaxing as a necessity for a fulfilling and productive life.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.