Out of the Office Header  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Art/Work: Jane Wunrow

Evermore                                                                                                                   2014 ©Jane Wunrow

Art/Work is a feature of Out of the Office that is dedicated to the amazing artists who balance work, family, and all-around full lives – while still managing to find time for their creativity. This is where I ask them to share their experiences, insights, and advice.

Jane Wunrow is an illustrator and mixed-media artist who creates images that are both playful and symbolic. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband and three young daughters. I sat down with Jane to ask her how she balances being a full time parent with building her career as an artist.
Salvation                                                                       2013 ©Jane Wunrow

Sheep Among Wolves                                                       2013 ©Jane Wunrow

Can you tell us a little bit about your work and your process?

My work largely consists of intricately drawn illustrations made with various materials, such as pen, marker, graphite, gouache, and found images. After creating these very detailed images I then begin the process of dismembering the drawing, taking what they once were and creating something new, by juxtaposing them with images of stratum formations.

My inspiration for my pieces tends to develop out of dreams I have, though rarely in any literal sense. I don’t dream of a bear and then decide to create a bear. Instead it tends to be a feeling or emotion that the dream produces which I will then create an illustration of an animal to represent that emotion or human characteristic that may otherwise get lost in something too literal. Two pieces that are most evident of this are Evermore and Lead Me Where My Trust Is Without Borders, both pieces use moths in them to represent a passing moment, a metamorphosis.
We                                                                                          2013 ©Jane Wunrow

How did becoming a mother impact your art?

I graduated from the College of Visual Arts five months before my first child was born, and at that point of entering into motherhood I didn’t make any art at all. I thought I was done being an artist, and that part of myself was gone. I mourned that loss for a long time. Eventually I started talking with other artists who are also mothers. They told me not to worry and that part of myself would come back with time. That was very comforting to hear.

When I started creating art again, it was impulse driven. The pieces had to be done in one session, while my daughter was napping. The work was not particularly conceptual, but the act of creating was the most important thing. I had been pining for this part of myself.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come                                   2014 ©Jane Wunrow

You are a full-time parent with two kids (and a third on the way!) How do you balance the work of being a mom with the work of being an artist?

When my second child was about two years old, I decided that I really wanted to get serious about creating art and building my career as an artist.
My husband stepped in and encouraged me to get back into a regular schedule. I knew that I needed help in making the time to see this happen. There wasn’t a way to go about it without additional help to take care of our children. We discussed it, and with a more focused and organized mind, my husband helped me to stay on course with my goals as an artist. He has created a calendar to schedule in my workdays as well as an inventory of my pieces, sales, gallery submissions, and where they’re at, etc. A few months in to this new routine, I dubbed him my “Art Manager,” because that is who he is for me. He is who I needed in order to see art come back into my life.

With my third child on the way, I will go on “maternity leave” for a while, but eventually I’ll be back at work on a normal schedule (if my Art Manager has anything to say about it).

Lead me where my trust is without borders                           2014 ©Jane Wunrow

What advice would you give to people who are trying to balance parenting with art making?

After my second was born, I attended a gallery reception at MCAD. I ran into an old professor of mine (who is also a parent). She gave me some advice, don’t worry about making art. It WILL come back around. At that time I needed to hear that so badly. I held onto that on days I felt like it was done and gone forever. Now that I’ve been able to fit it into my busy schedule, I know it’s true, and my desire is to pass that advice on to others.

Don’t worry if you have to take a break from art for a while when your children are young. It will come back around; the passion for creating will carry you through. Be ok with being impulsive and just making “quick” work whenever you get the chance.

Love on your babies! Spend all the time with them that you can; it goes by so fast. Raising your children is an important job; don’t second-guess that. If art has to take a back seat for a few years, it’s worth it. If you ever feel like you’ve lost your identity as an artist, know that your children haven’t overshadowed that part of yourself but will enhance you as an artist, bringing a whole new element to your art making. You just have to be open to it.

Thank you so much, Jane!

These are just a few examples of Jane’s amazing work. Please check out www.janewunrow.com to see her entire portfolio, a list of her upcoming exhibitions, and to contact her about purchasing a piece.

You can also find her work at:
·  Forage Modern Workshop, Minneapolis, MN
·  Leather Works Minnesota, St. Paul, MN - April 26th, 27th and 28th for Art Crawl!

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us--both Jane and Jeni---it is very interesting how artmaking moves through and in our lives and takes on so many different venues. Now my children are grown, I have more time and I find myself still struggling with getting into the studio--with so many other demands that I could not see coming--to community and career. It is a matter of will and trust. The work is stunning Jane. So happy to see you here Jeni!