Interview: Janet Mait
Luca Curci talks with Janet Mait, one of the winners of ARTIST OF THE MONTH – OCTOBER 2020.
My collection of paintings ‘New Shoes’ began as a challenge. I had been a sculptor all of my life, working from the figure exclusively. After many years of working in clay, I yearned to experiment with a different medium. I had dabbled briefly with painting and so the canvas felt like a natural choice for a new beginning. This time it felt free and wonderful. I went from the figure and terracotta to the world of acrylics and abstract expressionism. When I paint, I think about space, color and balance. Canvas size varies but I prefer the openness of large-scale pieces. I try hard not to plan in advance. If I think too much before I begin, I am not able to work. In order to be free and spontaneous, I simply let the brush go. The white spaces and their importance helps me to define the composition of my work. I dream about color combinations and often integrate these visions into my work. My paintings express my feelings. I believe that art comes from within and my use of vibrant colors is reflective of the sense of optimism I have about the next chapter in my life.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Janet Mait – Art is my passion, my motivation and my satisfaction. Pre-pandemic I went to studio everyday and I worked and played. I like to dabble with new ideas and while my work has evolved there are basic components that have not changed.
LC – What are you currently working on?
JM – Well, typically I work big and so now the challenge, since I am working at home, is to work small. I am trying watercolor and dabling with pastels. However, my favorite medium is acrylic and I am trying to paint everyday, although very hard without studio and all my materials.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
JM – I think the artist is the reflection of society. I notice that there are many who are painting or drawing narratives that illustrate life.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
JM – I am inspired by color…I dream about color combinations and often think about natural objects that I see…I also learn about color from Bonnard and Matisse…often their combinations are unusual. ie green and orange..both have a lot of brown in them and I love it!
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
JM – I find it challenging to retain something of my older work and at the same time grow and change. I love to look at the work of some of the greatest and also never, ever copy. I know people that do and there isn’t anything wrong with it but for me it is more challenging to close my eyes in a way to what I have seen and just integrate.
LC – What is your creative process like?
JM – My process is hard to explain. I use lots of gesso , even paint with gesso and often to change things use gesso. I work a long time on most pieces and usually realize when the process is over.