MAKER STORIES // JANEVA OF JANEVA FAIRCLOTH
Studying for my BFA, I was very openminded and undecided about what media I wanted to pursue, I just knew it wasn't drawing. However, after a year of mandatory foundation drawing courses, I changed my tune a little. Even though I despised labouring over the same piece of paper for hours, I learned the importance of drawing in expanding my creative practice. While tedious, practicing this discipline formed the style and general mood in my work that extended to all mediums with which I experimented.
My “small business” began after this first year of art school. I created a body of work for a local summer craft show I’d been attending since childhood. I produced a range of craft items but primarily pen and ink watercolour drawings. Most of them featured girls and women (and dogs) facing away, communicating relationships between subjects with body language and subtle gestures in natural environments. The subject matter of my drawings appealed to the cottage show clientele, but this style also really made me happy, and that was clear in the paintings. The mood they conveyed was tangible and nostalgic. My first show went really well, and while I loved to produce at my own peaceful pace, I also loved seeing people admire my work, ask me questions and enjoy the space I created.
I loosely label what I do as a small business because it’s really just me (and my mom). It’s always nice to profit from your work but knowing that it brings joy and has purpose motivates me to continue my small business venture. My commercial and artistic practices connect through common themes and concepts I consistently explore. I always connect my work to the exploration of women’s representation in art and society, and our relationship with the natural world. Recently, I've expanded what I do and where I sell work. I’ve added embroidery, handmade cards and household items, as well as photography. Now that I've graduated, I’ve started to exhibit in more shows, and receive a consistent stream of commissions to keep me busy.
I think the most meaningful part of this process has been seeing how many people are willing to help and support each other. My customer base extends directly from people I know and I’m always looking for inspiration from other artists around me. I owe a lot of my success to my mom who goes to great lengths to promote my work. It can be really difficult to be an artist as it is a constant test of commitment and skill. Having a support system is what gets me through difficult stretches and enables me to continue to create.
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