Today we’d like to introduce you to Janis Fowler.
Janis, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I have always been an artist. When I was a child I would spend hours creating drawings of animals, people, monsters, and places and make up stories for them. The fantasy realm I would create would take over my consciousness and I would get utterly lost in it. As time went on I became obsessed with realism. I would take my Ranger Rick magazines, along with pads of paper and pencils and try and re-create the magic that I saw in the photos of the animals’ eyes.
As a teenager I would draw to escape reality and deal with anxiety. It was a world that was now familiar to me and felt safe. I was home schooled for most of my youth, and by the time I got to college I drew in my spare time to deal with the social anxiety that came from not really having been around many others my own age. I chose Architecture as a major instead of art, thinking that I would be able to support myself much better with a degree in a more practical major than the one I was truly drawn to.
However, I graduated in 2008 during the height of the economic recession and was unable to find truly gainful employment with the degree that I had struggled so hard to obtain. I moved out to Austin and as usual, I turned to drawing to help me navigate the depression and anxiety that life’s difficulties brought on. I began waiting tables and drawing religiously in the daytime, and eventually the restaurants I worked at began allowing me to put my drawings on the wall for sale. Much to my surprise, they did sell, and I finally began making a living wage.
After many years of being a waitress and selling drawings on the side, I was offered a job at the art store that I frequented in town. I took full advantage of learning about the supplies they carried and while there learned to paint, sculpt, and work with resin. I watched YouTube tutorials and talked with other artists who came into the store about their techniques and practices to learn everything I could about making art. I truly re-connected with my passion, and for the first time in years was happy. I have since been practicing art, making paintings, sculptures, and everything else my heart desires to make and then selling them locally and online.
I am truly grateful for art, it is the one thing that has stuck by me in all times of stress and hopelessness, prompting me to go on. Art has given me back everything I have put into it, and it has strengthened me rather than weakened me my whole life.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I have made many types of art over the years. I began by drawing in pencils exclusively, mainly drawing animals and people. I have gained more knowledge and tools over the years though, and now my art is a mixture of painting, resin work, and sculpture. I love painting women, and most of my art is quite “feminine”- containing bright colors and depictions of ladies in serene repose. I still often incorporate birds, animals, and landscapes into collage-like paintings, perhaps in a celebration of the natural world that I grew up in and constructed in my young mind.
I love mixing various media and see it as a sort of puzzle to construct the ideas I have onto wooden panels. I sometimes will paint a serene woman onto wood and then saw out areas to create voids, filling them with layers of resin and paint to create 3-D paintings of animals, or sometimes faux geodes. I also sometimes do life-casting, using my own body or a volunteer to create a plaster replica and then sculpt animals or fanciful additions to the cast.
I hope my artwork brings a sense of calm and serenity to the viewer, because that is the state of mind that I always strive to create in myself by creating these works.
How can artists connect with other artists?
Being an artist is a VERY solitary and lonely existence for me. I struggle with the solitude a lot but am also very introverted so that makes it a bit easier. I found a lot of connection while working at the art store and at restaurants, but I have learned that unless I have a job that requires me to make connection with others I will simply exist in my studio day in and day out. So, I would have to say find a side job that you enjoy that requires you to be around other people and connect about art or any other activity.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I display artwork for sale at the Hops and Grain Taproom as well as Art for the People Gallery, both in Austin, Texas. Art for the People (www.artforthepeoplegallery.com) has artworks and prints for sale and that can be shipped. I also have a website (www.janis-fowler-art.squarespace.com) where my works can be viewed and my contact information found.
- Address: Austin, Texas
- Website: https://janis-fowler-art.squarespace.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fowlmouthed/