Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Artist Spotlight Jan Francoeur

This is the first in a series of interviews we'll be doing with artists. For this first one I've decided to interview myself!

How did you get started as an artist?

     I've told this story in this blog before but I was going to go to college didn't know what I would study, but knew I had to have a foreign language. They only taught German at my high school and I was not really interested in that, Spanish seemed to be a language I might be able to use more.
     So I signed up for an exchange program with another school, 15 miles away. We would be going there two afternoons a week and take 2 classes, so for my second class I signed up for art.
     I soon discovered I had no aptitude for Spanish but the art class changed my life!

     I went to Siena Heights College and got a BA in Drawing and printmaking. Throughout college I spent weekends going to art shows selling my work. 
     Then I worked in the commercial printing industry in the art department and began doing architectural renderings.

Who or what has influenced you the most?

     I can say a lot of people and circumstances have influenced me. 
     When I was young I loved the intricacies of steam locomotives, as I traveled around looking at them I discovered I really loved the style of railroad depots. That got me started drawing architecture.
     When we came to New Bern I was blown away with the color in the spring and it caused me to want to learn to paint.
     When we bought our first house in New Bern we wanted to put our mark on it and started working with clay so I could do a backsplash.

Describe for us a breakthrough moment in your work:

     Since I have worked in many different mediums I have had at lease one in each.
     One breakthrough moment came when I was at an art show and a young man asked me if I ever used a Rapidograph, I bought one and used one for the next 40 years.

     Another was when I was trying to paint after working in black and white for 20 years. I just couldn't seem to "get it". I saw other artists working wet in wet in watercolors but all I came up with was a mess. Then one day I thought, ok lets approach this like an ink drawing. I sketched out my idea and started coloring it in. So just changing my mindset did the trick!

If you weren’t a painter and a potter, what would you be?

     I might be a psychologist, I have always been interested in how people are affected by their surroundings, how they were brought up, why they do the things they do. But more likely I would be working in commercial art or the printing industry.

Where do you find your best ideas?

    Since I like to paint architecture all I need to do is drive around town!

What do you love most about being an artist?

    People often tell me that my art makes them feel good.

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