Janet was awarded the second place for her intaglio print Midland Dairies.
I grew up in the rural outskirts of a textiles town in the heart of Yorkshire, England, where Gothic architecture and Victorian industrialism co-exist in a scenic tapestry of ancient natural forms and textures. My artistic statement is that of strength, expressionistic distortion, form, texture, and balance; a chiaroscuro of light and dark, delicate yet bold, organic natural form juxtaposed with urban architectural decay.
I have sketched all my life. I have three siblings and we all drew, painted, made crafts, etc. on rainy days in England. I never saw an art gallery or museum until I was about 16.
My first glimpse of artistic genius was in an exhibition in Strasbourg. Leon Bakst designed the costumes for Nijinsky in the Ballets Russes. Picasso, Matisse, Benois and Kandinsky were commissioned by artistic director, Sergei Diaghilev. I was so impressed that at age 17 I applied to the local Art College and was accepted on a two year Foundation course in Fine Art and Graphic Design. On this course, 1968-70, I was first introduced to silk screen, lithography, typography and intaglio print methods which is where my interest gravitated rather than painting and graphics. I also strengthened my drawing skills being taught classical methods by old school professors. Several of my later etchings were of Nijinsky and other dancers.
I worked in London, traveled in Europe, and lived in Kenya before settling in
San Diego in 1977 and continued to pursue a career in art. I ran a photo studio for the first few years, then in 1982 I started a business creating art in public spaces. By 1984, I was working alongside interior designer Michael Hogue in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, where we designed commercial interiors and art in public spaces. Over several years I was commissioned to create canvases, 3D multi-media paintings, murals, borders, and faux finishes for hotels, restaurants, cathedrals, and theaters.
In 1990 I moved to the classroom, where I helped develop the art curriculum and taught classes at Lemon Grove Arts Complex. I was awarded a grant to teach art to fifth grade students at Monterrey Heights Elementary School. During the summer of 1990 I was also asked to teach College for Kids printmaking at Grossmont College in La Mesa.
In 1992 I taught Art & Science Adventures, an enrichment program serving several San Diego schools. My aim was to open new windows of perception, and through selective decision-making, help the students to explore and develop their own personal style of expression and invention.
Since 2005 I no longer work in the commercial art arena and have returned my focus to creating a cohesive body of work. I recently took a master class at the University of York in order to study the techniques of medieval painting on glass. I intend to continue exploring the possibilities of this ancient technique and would like to teach this rare art form. My goal for now is to show my full portfolio of intaglio etchings, paintings, medieval paintings on glass, and drawings in galleries and art museums.
Although Yorkshire is deeply ingrained in my psychological make-up, after living forty years in San Diego has allowed me to snap into sharp focus these two diametrically opposite influences, which together form my personal perspective and aesthetic direction.
From 70-73, I continued my studies and attained a B.A. in Visual Communications in Birmingham, England. In my second year, I was juried into an exhibition at the Haymarket in London through the art college. I had submitted a series of enhanced color photos (12 step process) and a soft sculpture design of a watermelon couch with slices that zipped apart.
I have been juried into several local gallery exhibitions and many times into the Del Mar Fair Fine Art and Photography exhibitions. My farthest stretch was to show five pieces (three etchings and two drawings) in the Castle Exhibition in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, in 2018.
Midland Dairies was the very first etching I created at San Diego State University (S.D.S.U.). By the time I arrived there, I had a fully realized idea of what I wanted to create having previously done printmaking without much help from the UK professors. The professors at S.D.S.U. taught me many intaglio techniques which allowed me to further my personal aesthetic direction.
I had taken the black and white photograph of some milk bottles many years earlier when I was on a photography course at Birmingham University. I loved the strength of the image showing abstract distortions through the glass. I later enjoyed the challenge of recreating these milk bottles and distortions, first as a drawing and then as an intaglio etching.
For more information, please visit Janet’s website:https://sites.google.com/site/jleefolio/home