by JM Leotti on 1/5/2009 8:48:19 PM
I've compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions, since, well, they are frequently asked, and this is the easiest way for me to answer a number of you at the same time! :-)
Q) Can anyone use your images?
A) No. Most of my images are licensed by a few companies who have permission to use them for specific purposes, for example, cross-stitch designs. In order to use my images you must write to me first for permission, and I will send you the guidelines. Not all permissions are granted due to certain licensing restrictions.
Q) If I own a painting or print of yours, can I reproduce greeting cards or stationary from it?
A) No. I own all copyrights to my artwork. In other words, you own the original piece but not the rights to reproduce it.
Q) How do you pronounce your name?
A) My name is spelled Janîce, with an accent circumflex over the “i”. This makes the “i” a long “e” sound, so my name is pronounced: Janees, with an “s” sound at the end, not a “z” sound.
Q) You do both paintings and sculptures. Do you like either one better than the other?
A) I like them both equally, however, painting for me is more of an immediate gratification as I can paint faster than I sculpt. I’ve been painting for a longer time than I have been sculpting, so maybe I’m more practiced at painting!
Q) Why do you paint fantasy subjects? Did you ever do anything other than fantasy?
A) Yes. When I first started painting, I painted portraits for a living and didn’t like it very much. What I should say is that I loved painting the faces, but after that I wanted to go wild with the background instead of painting someone’s home interior. I just needed more breathing room. I also did some hideous romance covers, jobs I’d gotten through an agent. Then I left the painting world for a while to work at a publisher and do some writing. It was during this time that I sort of stumbled into Faerie. When I was seventeen I remember I received Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s book “Faeries.” I read it cover to cover throughout the school day, hiding the book in between my textbooks. But it wasn’t until quite a few years later, while I was working in New York for a children’s publisher that I even attempted a faerie painting. However, once I started I couldn’t stop. And I actually can’t answer “why” I paint fantasy. I’m just driven to it.
Q) Do you paint or sculpt every day?
A) No. But when I’m not painting or sculpting I’m sketching, and when I’m not sketching, I’m thinking of new ideas. And when I’m not thinking of new ideas I’m reading. Not much of a social life, really!
Q) Where do you get your inspiration?
A) Everywhere! It could be a film, a trickling stream, the way sunlight makes a dewdrop glisten, a beautiful face, an odd looking face, a word like “snowfall,” the way something makes me feel (like the Weepies song “All That I Want”), a poem, a myth, a lie, a faerie whispering in my ear, really, it could be anything!
Q) Do you use models?
A) Yes, most of the time. Sometimes I make things up out of my head, but that is rare. I have friends who patiently pose for me, and my relatives have been putting up with me for years. Oddly, I use models less while sculpting. I usually make those up out of my head. I use anatomy books constantly for both sculpting and painting.
Q) Who are your heroes?
A) I have many, most are painters: JW Waterhouse is one of my favorite painters of all time; Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Kinuko Y. Craft, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, NC Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Maxine Gadd, Amy Brown, Jessica Galbreth, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Misty Benson, Blonde Blythe, Shakespeare, my husband and painter Paul Bachem, Norman Rockwell, Emily Dickinson, Tim Burton, my father, mother, sister and brother—It’s a very long list, but there’s a start!
Q) Since you and your husband are both artists, is there a lot of competition between you?
A) No, not really. We sometimes have arguments about whether a certain picture is good or bad—we both have our favorites of the other’s work! And of course, we have our own opinions on what is “good art.” But these things usually don’t get in the way of our discussions about art. If you ask my husband, he will tell you I’m always telling him to put more wild flowers in his paintings (he is a landscape painter). Which is true. I can’t help it, I love wild flowers! But mostly we are encouraging of the other’s work, and happy when the other does well. It’s great to live with someone who was trained the same way I was (we both went to the same teacher, although not at the same time) because we both speak the same “art language.”
Q) Where did you study art?
A) I feel art is a life-long study, but when I was about nineteen I studied with a man named Harold Ransom Stevenson and his wife Alma. They had a school in their finished basement, which was a haven for artists interested in studying realism. The school was in the town of Sea Cliff, Long Island. Harold was an apprentice to Norman Rockwell at one time, and told many great stories about him! Both my husband and I studied there, although I also studied privately with Nasa artist, Attila Hejja and for a short time and unofficially at Pratt with Jos. A Smith. I also attended some classes with portrait painter, Daniel Greene. My art training has been pieced together, as you can see. I’ve had no official training in sculpting. This I learned from books and practice. My years at the Stevenson Academy are some of my fondest memories! Both Harold Stevenson, and one of his students, Attila Hejja, are now deceased. Attila was both a mentor and friend, and Harold a mentor and father figure, and I miss them both terribly!