Janine Crum Explores The Relationship of Landscape and Sky.
Carry On: A Journey Though Hope opens January 14th — February 4th
Tell us about your title “Carry On”?
“Carry On — A Journey Towards Hope” encompasses the overall experience I’ve had as a person and artist. Dealing with anxiety and depression, I’ve had to learn to “look for the light.” I’ve had to learn to look for the things that give me hope in hard moments like the kindness of strangers, support from loved ones, and moments of beauty around me. All of these things point me towards the ultimate source of hope for me which is the belief in a God who knows me and sees all parts of me and chooses to love and guide me each day. In the darkest seasons of my life, it’s this light, this hope that has carried me, and in dealing with the weight of what has happened in our world over the past 18+ months it has been absolutely critical to my wellbeing to process things on a day-to-day basis. Painting storms, capturing dark and layered feelings, and looking for ways to infuse hope and light into them gave me the ability to visually vocalize the journey I was and am on — a journey towards hope.
What advice do you have for artists who are curious about selling and marketing their work?
I still feel quite new to this arena in so many ways, but maybe there are artists who are just getting started or are a step or two behind me that can benefit from this advice. When it comes to selling work, honing your craft is key. Focus on being the best version of yourself, creating artwork consistently, and sharing the process with others. What I have done is share pretty openly and vulnerably about my own process on social media (specifically Instagram) and along the way have found that there are people who resonate with my story and therefore grow connected to the work I’m creating. Naturally, that has formed into people who are interested in owning my work, so I tried to make it as easy as possible to do that. At first I only sold pieces on Instagram because that’s where my audience was, but as things continued I built a simple website using Squarespace to try to keep the process as easy as possible. On my website I offer prints of a few of my larger paintings and typically list smaller original works for sale in a price range that keeps my artwork accessible to collectors of all walks of life. As my career continues, I’m sure I will add to and adjust my process for selling and marketing my work, but I believe I’ll always hold true to sharing my story honestly with others and creating personal connections so that my art is more than just something to hang on a wall, but the reflection of a connection that has been made.
What is your biggest influence?
Honestly this feels like a really tough question because I find that I’m influenced by a lot of different things. The act of painting, the physical dance of it all is something I’m “addicted” to in my own way and influences the way I show up and spend my time in my home studio. I think about painting all the time and am constantly translating what I see around me into paintings I can re-create in my mind and hopefully capture on canvas. Beyond that, I’m always looking at other artists’ work to gain insight and perspective on how people see the world and filter little nuggets of what I learn through my own process. But what really fuels me and influences me is this idea of hope as light. I’ve managed depression, anxiety, and a panic disorder for much of my adult life and there have been times that were really dark and scary. Times where I wasn’t physically functioning well without assistance. And being a mom, having other people relying on me to meet their basic needs of survival meant that I had to decide whether or not I was going to look for the good things in my day to give me fuel to continue on or allow what I perceived as bad, sad or overwhelming to bury me alive. It was the little thing; laughter, a hug, a beautiful sunset, a single fluffy cloud in a bright blue sky, the sound of rain, an unexpected bloom of a flower that helped me focus on the reality that even the tiniest pinprick of light can illuminate the darkest room. So, light is what I choose.
What keeps you creating in Columbus?
3 years ago my family and I moved here from the San Francisco Bay Area for a change of pace and the ability to be closer to our family. I grew up near Cincinnati and have always loved the feel of the midwest along with the changing seasons — especially thunderstorms. Now that we’ve been here for a couple of years and I’ve begun getting connected in the arts community I’m learning that Columbus is a vibrant, diverse collection of artists and art-lovers and the arts truly seem to be celebrated here, which is so refreshing and affirming to who I’ve always been as a person — an artist.
Tell us about the materials you use and why.
I am primarily an oil painter and probably always will be. I have an insatiable curiosity for understanding and trying all art mediums, but always come back to oils because of the way they move. The first time I was introduced to oil paints I was a sophomore in college at Eastern Kentucky University studying to be an art educator. But, as soon as I dipped my paint brush into oils and began exploring what they could do, the buttery texture, the complex color, and the movability locked me in for good. (And I also changed my major!) There is something so special about not having to rush a painting and having control over drying time. With oils you can speed it up or slow it down. You can scrape back, paint over, or start from scratch, and the history of a painting seems to show through, which I love.
What draws you to landscapes?
Initially, I began painting landscapes as a way to process and capture what was happening in our lives near the start of the pandemic. When the public school system shut down it was very difficult on my family and we made the very hard choice to keep our four children home and homeschool them to offer them some much needed consistency in their lives and our own. Part of what emerged in our home-educating was a desire to be outdoors, but we had to find a way to do that safely. So, the children and I explored remote outdoor locations, tiny nature reserves, outdoor play areas, and parks within about a 45 mile radius from our home. I knew in my heart (and hoped) that this would potentially be the only year we chose to homeschool the children, so I began painting some of the places we explored together as a way to capture these important memories. It turned out that this process was so deeply therapeutic that I began exploring the entire range of emotions I was experiencing through landscapes and the sky.
Where do you want to take your work next?
In so many ways I feel like I’m just getting started. I took nearly a decade “off” from painting after I graduated with my BFA to raise my children and have been back at it for the past two years. I feel like skies, clouds, storms, and exploring my inner landscape through them will always be a part of my personal art practice in some way, but I’m looking to really dig into some specific ideas I have on light and dark and what that means in terms of the sky in my next series of paintings as I prepare for two more solo exhibitions, which will be at Emergent Art in June and Fresh AIR Gallery towards the end of the year.
To see more of Janine’s work visit : https://www.janinecrum.com/