Janet Crosby is a talented artist from the UK who has created many whimsical and mesmerizing compositions. I decided to ask Janet a few questions about the inspiration behind her artwork and photography. Janet has a degree in Art and Design, so I also asked her about how people studying art might want to navigate the waters with the rising costs of tuition.
1. What is your favorite art media to work with?
I like to work in all kinds of media, but I’ve found that over the years I keep coming back to soft pastels, so if I have to choose I think it must be those. I’m only just getting used to oil pastels but I love the versatility and immediacy of soft pastels.
2. I really like your latest composition Transportation for Life, which is posted in your art gallery on ArtBreak. What was the inspiration behind this piece?”
King Edward the 8th decided to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee and this so appalled the establishment that it was made clear to him that he must choose her or his crown. He chose to abdicate. He was a rather childish and weak sort of man and I don’t think Mrs Simpson really understood what she was taking on when she got involved with him but in spite of her regrets she stayed by him till he died.
Once they married they were never welcome in England again. Victorian criminals were often sentenced to transportation to the colonies as a life long punishment and I had the idea of a very Victorian establishment imposing a similar sentence on Edward and his wife. Hence the image of Edward as an infantile character in his toy car about to carry Wallis off on a journey that would never end well.
3. What is your favorite composition posted on ArtBreak, and why does this one resonate with you the most?
My favourite piece changes from day to day depending on what mood I’m in. I’m particularly fond of Little Pignose. It’s my response to all those cute kid pictures that the Victorians used to paint. I’m not very interested in pretty children as I think the ugly ones are much more interesting. There’s no reason why Pignose should be a horrible child but the response to him is usually on of repugnance; that’s why I love him. Also I think it is quite a successful pastel.
4. How did you get close enough to photograph the fox family, or are foxes less shy of people than I have heard?
The urban foxes of Britain are becoming increasingly bold and adventurous. Last summer we had a youngster that was totally unafraid of anyone. She got so used to being around us all the time that I could spend ages in the garden, taking photos of her, clicking away repeatedly until I got the best shot. In the autumn they move into new territory so we lost her. There are more foxes this year but there is a lot of building work going on close by and I think their dens have been disturbed so these animals are not as relaxed as last year.
5. I see you have a degree in Art & Design. With the rising costs of education, do you have any tips for young artists who might need to support themselves while going to school?
I’m really not sure what advice to give to any one mad enough to want to pursue a career in art. College fees are huge these days and there is no guarantee of any success at the end. I suppose mot people create because they just have to. The good thing about art is that you don’t have to get a qualification to practise so if you really don’t want to get stuck with a huge debt then just get out there and do it anyway. Join local community art projects, get your art seen and if a gallery does pick you up, be reliable. Don’t promise a whole bunch of paintings and then fail to deliver or turn in work that’s not up to standard. I’ve seen more than one would be artist mess up because they thought it was part of the artist’s privilege to be a bit flaky. Galleries hate that and news soon gets around that a particular artist is unreliable and the offers can just die away.