What inspires you to create?
I usually approach my artwork with an idea and then find techniques and materials to capture the concept. Experimenting with various techniques and materials is part of the lure of art for me. Discovering techniques with a new product is especially inspiring and exciting. I enjoy the process of creating – the journey – as much as the end product.
I cannot remember a time when I was not creating. I grew up in a large family and we used reclaimed and salvaged materials for our arts and crafts. I think that is why I find much satisfaction when I use found objects in my art today. Since these materials often cost nothing or very little, it feels like I am making something from nothing or giving something of little value some worth. I am certain that not making art is not a choice for me. Whether I pursued art or art pursued me, I think it is a symbiotic relationship. I had rather live a pauper’s life than to have the ability to create taken from me.
I have managed a bed and breakfast and know the importance of the customer. Managing an arts and crafts co-op and an antiques and collectibles shop, I learned how to display product and how to do store window displays along with many other skills.
I was a general contractor in the building maintenance and remodeling industry for many years in Alaska. That work exposed me to all kinds of tools, crafts and skills that I use to this day in my art.
I spend more time at flea markets and garage sales looking for objects that I can use in mixed media assemblages and collages. I usually go to flea markets to look for scrap items (ephemera, old metal, fabric, jewelry and junk) and for old boxes to use in assemblages and to hold my collections.
I took one class in encaustics, but at the time I decided it was not for me as I thought the materials were too messy with all the other materials that I use. But every time I see a piece that I love, I get the urge to try it again!
Okay, that is too much to accomplish in the real world.
So for now with the inauguration coming up, if I could write the portion of President-elect Obama’s inauguration address about the arts and its importance to society, here's what I'd have him say:
Jeanne's Version of Obama’s Inaugural Address on the Arts
The importance of the arts in our lives must not be overlooked.
We must encourage, support and, yes, fund the arts. Art enriches our lives.
It enlightens us. It entertains us. Artists across this nation contribute
daily to our economy, our homes and our communities.
The arts are as important as building roads. A road can transport us and our possessions from one location to another, but the arts will take us to places of the
imagination, emotions and beauty. A bridge can make the journey a shorter
and easier path, but the arts can bridge the differences in cultures and
pave a road to peace.
Good health care is a necessity, but with good health comes the opportunity and time to enjoy more of life. Hospitals attempt to heal and care for those in need, but the arts can also enrich, nurture and comfort the sick. Just as the body is fed with food, the arts can feed the spirit.
We want the best education for our children. Children studying the arts learn to explore, analyze, ask questions and learn many skills that will serve them well in adulthood. They can discover their passion or their passion can find them. The arts
will expand their horizons beyond our borders. With global awareness, our children will be more able to contribute to society and to the world. The arts have no less importance than science and technology. The creative mind is necessary to enhance the curiosity that science requires. The imaginations of those who study the sciences propel us to new frontiers.
The arts can make our hearts sing, open our eyes and show us our humanity. It records our visions. The arts are a record of our civilization and complete our view of the world.
So to each of you, I ask that you consider the value of the arts to society. Let’s make our nation a better place to live and let us fund the arts.