Janet O'Neal Demo on High Gloss Resins at Artisans Santa Fe 2015
http://artisan-santafe.com/working-high-gloss-resins-janet-oneal/ Janet O' Neal Featured Artist
October 2015 Eldorado Arts and Crafts Association
Click here for Interview
Janet O'Neal has been seriously
working in art since 1986. She began as a water color painter and has
branched into an artist with a mastery that spans more than half a dozen
genre. For the 2015 studio tour she classified herself as working in
photography and mixed media. In reality the “mix” of her media includes
printmaking, clay and resin sculpture, collage, photography, painting,
recycled art, and combinations of all of the above. She felt a love and
connection to color as a child, and this love continues to shine through
in all of her art.
Janet started out to
pursue a career in law. She got a degree in criminal justice and even
worked for a time as police officer. She found little satisfaction in
the path she was on and decided to become involved with art. Janet
studied art for two years at the University of North Carolina . She also
studied under a number of well known artists including Rudy Pozzatti,
Glen Bradshaw, Maxine Masterfield, Carole Barnes.
Janet set up a studio
in Florida, and became commercially successful but she felt the need for
a more open, spiritual, environment. She chose Santa Fe, moved here,
and again, built a studio and began working. Her art began to evolve
into more three dimensional, mixed media . She attributes some of this
change in direction to a trip to local antique stores in Oklahoma City.
Whatever the reason, her mixed media art now has a level of refinement
and sophistication that easily places it in the "fine art" realm.
Janet is a well
established artist. She sells in shows and exhibitions throughout the
United States. Keeping creatively active is as important to her as
producing sales. She feels blessed to be able to create beauty. Her hope
is that, her art changes the world a little bit for the better. The
creative aspect of her work is tied closely to her spiritual and
personal growth. She has an altar set up in here studio with pictures of
spiritual leaders she admires and spends time in quiet meditation. At
this point in her life, Janet feels a need to give something back to the
art community. She holds classes to share her knowledge and hopes that
she is able to help people move in new directions.
Goddard Center review by Sonja Hannon
When I walked into the Goddard Center for Visual Arts in Ardmore, Oklahoma, I was instantly attracted to the large display of framed black and white photographs displayed about the room. Photographs of flowers and vegetables many of which were almost abstract with their hazy, nebulous forms beckoned to me. The photographs were those of Janet O’Neal who is renown throughout the United States and Canada for her dynamic works of art that range from black and white photographs to brilliantly colored abstracts full of joy and energy.
I had seen much of Janet ’s artwork on her website and loved it—especially the brilliant colors and whimsical shapes and feeling of joy! I was especially attracted to her statement that “my journey to self-knowledge has provided me with inspiration for my most successful art. Should I attempt to provide insight for other artists, I would suggest that they look within and the work will come.” I admired her statement that “…my work is constantly changing. For me this is quite natural because my life is constantly changing...I feel stagnant trying to copy myself.” I was anxious to meet her in person.
I made arrangements with her that I would come to Ardmore on the final day of her exhibit at the Center. I found her to be a vibrant, beautiful woman full of enthusiastic energy. She was teaching a workshop to a group consisting mainly of artists and art students and she was showing them the different techniques and procedures she uses in her work and giving them advice on being successful artists.
Janet grew up in North Carolina. Her dad was a realtor; she too became a realtor and then later a deputy sheriff. She was preparing to go to law school when her dad advised her to “do something you like to do.” As a child of six years old she had been intensely attracted to color. “I always felt I could touch color. Color had vibrations I could feel—both physically and spiritually.” Her mother would tell people, “She’s going to be an artist someday.” So Janet decided to “do what she liked to do” and she began to seriously work in her art again. She went to Florida, began showing her work in Florida, and then drove all across the United States showing her work in art festivals all over the country.
Today Janet lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and goes to her studio every day to work and play with her art. “Sometimes taking a couple of months off is good,” she said “but many people who have talent don’t become successful artists because they don’t have discipline and know how to work.” She says that she works on four to five art projects simultaneously and really recommends it! “If you keep trying to push and push on something, it loses its excitement.” When a work is easiest and fastest, it is her best work. It is spontaneous and free. When she struggles with the work, she feels it isn’t her best.
She would often say during the workshop “this is fun” as she painted or explained her methods. Janet was profoundly influenced by Carl Jung’s work with the collective unconscious and by Joseph Campbell’s writings on mythology. The archetype of the Divine Child that Jung and Campbell often talked about is an important part of her being and of her work—the ability to play, to fool around, to be willing to experiment. If you don’t like a work, “be willing to destroy” she advised us---but don’t throw anything away (thereby adding more junk to the city dump). Recycle! She’s still using some work she did in college by cutting it up to be parts of her collages.
Janet feels that it is the artists’ responsibility to expand the consciousness of the world and that her art has the very positive task of transforming the subconscious part of us, an archetype called the Shadow by Jung and Campbell.
Her works radiate a lot of energy that “ results from the combination of the colors vibrating with each other,” she said “but I want more void, silences, and rest in my paintings.” Perhaps that’s why she became interested in the black and white photographs in which the “essence” of a subject rather than color was the focus. She has only been working with photography for four to five years, so she felt very encouraged when she recently won 2nd place in the Georgia O’Keefe Photography Competition in which there were 3,830 images from 930 photographers from 47 states and 17 countries!
Recently Janet traveled to various countries including India, Jerusalem, and Jamaica where she took many photographs of people. She plans to soon start working with these in her studio with the goal of showing how all people are connected.
Janet told us that all her experience—as a realtor, as a sheriff, ALL of her life has contributed to her being a successful artist who can express herself and her spirituality and make a living with her art. She told us that once someone asked her how long it had taken her to do a painting and she had answered “56 years”.
Her spirituality is an intrinsic and important part of her art; many of her art pieces are named after inner spiritual experiences. Many of her ideas come in dreams so “keep a dream journal”, Janet advised us. When the Spirit flows through her, she said, that is when her work is the best. “Go to the well within” she advised us. The Spirit is the “juice” we’re looking for.