About Jan Preston
I can not remember a time in my life when art wasn’t alive in my soul and filling my senses. The eyes with which I see have always looked at life as though each day was a scene to be transferred to a canvas. My sense of observation is acute to the obfuscation of things such as chatter and background music. Art is my music. Art is my vision my focus on life. My lens find beauty in the obscure. I’m fascinated by texture and the interplay of light, shadow, and color on objects. Challenged with bringing harmony to seemingly unharmonious items, I enjoy combining the fluid with the angular and the juxtaposition of opposing lines and shapes. I’m intrigued by bold contrasts; as if replicating life itself, my bold contrasts find their compliments to become balanced. Most of all, I create to give new life to retired objects and delight in the whimsy of finding pleasure from the unexpected. It is a desire of mine that one would become transfixed and drawn in to one of my creations. I coin the term “dimensional mixed media” to describe what I do. Many pieces actually protrude from the canvas and incorporate found objects or discarded finds such as, broken jewelry. Often I take a work that appears complete and continue adding elements to the edge of being overdone, again finding harmony before going too far. As for education, I have added mixed media and collage classes at the Kansas City Art Institute to my toolbox of instruction. The media I mix are predominately acrylic and glue. I’m continually amazed at what glue will adhere and with the addition of acrylic, will transform and immortalize my found treasures forever on a board or canvas panel. As much as art is an ever-evolving process, so am I. For, “just as one does not consider why or how they breathe, my soul requires that I create.”
I landed in the Kansas City suburbs at the age of 3 having been born in Washington, DC, then on to Detroit, before arriving in KC. My father was an FBI agent. We had a small house in Fairway, KS; my mother stayed home with me and my baby brother. I was and remain a “daddy’s girl”. Daddy would go off to work each day downtown. Mommy would tend to baby Jimmy and I wandered the vast expanse of our back yard loosing myself in the beauty of flora and fauna. My creative streak seems to have followed lineage from my Mother’s side. My Mother also drew and painted and has remained creative. At the age of 5 my Mother enrolled me in a class at the Nelson-Atkins Gallery of Art, I have lived for art class ever since that time. Later we moved to Overland Park, KS. My room was the one in the house where you could find the scissors, the string, the tape, the glue, if you could find anything at all. I collected everything imaginable; everything had value in my minds eye. Art class in elementary school was something awful, like once a month. I would impatiently wait art class to art class-honestly not much else mattered. I did manage to appreciate literature also, for when I wasn’t immersed in creating something I was reading or wandering outdoors.
My Father’s family was from Indiana and my Mother’s from Pennsylvania. We typically saw our extended families once a year on our vacation; a week at Father’s and a week at Mother’s. Once, on vacation at my Aunt Margie’s home, I was struck by a fabulous painting hanging over the sofa in their living room. My Uncle Glenn was Professor of Psychology at Allegheny College, and Aunt Margie and Uncle Glenn had purchased the painting from Richard Kleeman, the Alleghany College professor emeritus of art. The title of the piece is Night Gothic. The piece is a large assemblage of found objects and boards painted in beautiful colors but predominately a rich turquoise. It’s been forty years since I’ve seen the painting but I can still vividly remember how taken I was by its’ magnificence. That painting reflects the very course that my artistic renderings would take.
Fortunately for me, in the early 1970’s my high school contained a very credible and cutting edge art department. Each media was able to be explored in a full semester class and we were taught by talented artists. In particular, I painted under the instruction of, Pat Wolf, who still paints and resides in New Mexico and also Jim Wheat, a talented assemblage artist, who has since passed away. Miriam Jenkins taught Art I and Art History and Ellis Garrison helped me explore the wonders of silversmithing. I found myself drawn again to collage and assemblage and I experimented with these and other media through my high school years. High school drew to a close and down went my paints and pencils, my scissors and glue, my brushes and pallets; until a re-birth came to me January 2007. Out of the ashes of my former self an artistic fusion the likes of Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson emerged and became me; Jan Preston, artist.
© Copyright 2008, Jan Preston, All Rights Reserved