Briefly describe the work you do.
I work in a variety of mediums creating work that interacts with the human figure. I’m very interested in our relationship to the body, how it informs identity, and how these issues can be expressed through materials.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I don’t like sameness. I grew up in a multicultural household and changed schools every two to three years. I’ve always felt that there is nothing more important to personal development than the challenge of new experience. Consequently I’ve spent a lot of time in my life and work concentrating on how we form identity, and how that identity changes or is affected by your physical and emotional environment.
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.”
“Out of sight out of mind” is big for me. While this doesn’t usually contribute to the most organized or minimalist environment, I end up surrounded by everything I’m thinking about. The project’s biggest influences are always at hand. The walls are usually covered with notes, bits of fabric, images torn from magazines, or past work. I like to be able to take a step back and look at the big picture. I get into trouble if I start putting things in folders.
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?
A contemporary artist is essentially a small business owner. This is one of the biggest lessons you get smacked with once you leave school. Obviously the most important thing you can do is spend time developing your craft and enriching your mind conceptually. But in order to make your art sustainable you need to understand some of the basics of marketing, accounting, writing, and a whole lot of administrative organization. Everyone I know who is still making art a couple years out of college can write a charming professional email from their phone while managing an excel sheet.
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?
For me its early in the morning or late at night. I think you can split up the day into hours you are acting on your own initiative versus hours you are reacting to other people’s needs. Even if your alone it’s something you can feel in the air.I can’t make art if I’m in a reactive mindset. I’m very productive while other people are sleeping and having their morning coffee. But once my inbox starts chiming all hell breaks loose.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
In my experience artists develop in the same way everybody does. They don’t really change; they just become more the way they are. I think that five years ago as a young artist starting out in school I didn’t have the confidence to present the art I wanted to, so I’d always present it from some other angle or gift wrapped in theory. These days I understand what I want to say and have given myself the space and confidence to become more direct and aesthetically eloquent.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
When I’m not paying attention everything has an impact on my work.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
Comedian. Comedians get to approach emotionally charged existential issues in a seemingly non-threatening way, but can end up really changing people’s outlooks through something beautiful (laughter/aesthetics). I always thought that stand up comedy and visual art where two sides to the same coin. But stand ups get to have a direct relationship with their audience. And they instantly know when something works.
Born In Asuncion Paraguay in 1989. Janina Anderson Attended the Maryland Institute college of art before Graduating with honors from the University of Oregon. Anderson’s work has been shown in galleries, museums, and artist run backyards in Washington DC, Eugene Oregon, Portland Oregon, Los Angeles, and Cádiz Spain.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.