One of the ways we discover art is through artist submissions. A recent one came from Jane Wunrow, an artist who caught our attention because of her daring mix of various types of media to create her art. She received a BFA from the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
We reached out to her and found out so many interesting things not just about the artist but also her thought and creation processes. She describes her works as “surrealist abstraction through the lens of collage and mixed media.”
She has an interesting mix of gouache, pen and ink, charcoal, graphite, and a variety of withdrawn library books or magazines, among others. It’s interesting to find out, though, that some of her works aren’t exactly planned out.
“When I approach a new project I don’t always have a plan in mind but often will have a new way of using my materials that I will think out beforehand to consider any possible issues I may run into. Sort of problem solve before the problem,” she explains. “I will consider a dream of mine to interpret and approach the new piece from there. I focus not on the literal of my dreams but the feeling I get from them.”
Yes, a lot of Jane’s work gets inspiration from dreams. “My work is inspired by dreams that I have through the feelings they elicit and concepts that feel prominent throughout. A lot of times I have dreams that feel like there’s more to them than just the usual ‘I dreamt I fell out of bed’ kind of dream,” she says.
To keep track of these ideas, she keeps a dream journal, and will “tap into those when I’m approaching a project,” she says. “Sometimes I have the opportunity to work on a piece based on a dream right away and other times I save them in my journal and choose one as I feel drawn to it.”
Jane is one of those who grew up exposed to art, and says she was always very interested in it. “My dad would use found materials to make his own art. I found it so curious and odd and I loved it,” she recalls.
Interestingly enough, her mother also does a different type of art! “My mom is a quilter and I was so mesmerized by the structure and order of it all and how she put it all together,” she says.
As both parents did something differently, Jane says, “I enjoyed both sides with the lack of structure and being bound to one. I feel both of my parents guided me onto the path I’ve taken through collage and mixed media. My interest in piecing the work together as my mom does and the use of various materials as my dad does.”
Beneath the veil of being an artist, Jane is also a mother of three beautiful girls, which in a way affects how she works. “Currently I have a small home and a very child accessible studio so I take my work to coffee shops,” she explains. “I have two or three bags full of art supplies, paper, books, and magazines, I call it my mobile studio.”
“Currently the scale and materials are driven by their mobility and ability to dry fast while I’m out at coffee shops. However, I have found that this has only challenged me and only pushed me to further understand myself as an artist and has pushed my material choices,” she furthers.
“I’ve had to learn to see my material and scale ‘restrictions’ not necessarily as ones keeping me away from other possibilities but being rich in their own possibilities,” she continues. Very awesome, especially considering she didn’t even see collage work as something she would do!
“I … actually heavily resisted it for a while. I thought it was too trendy and I didn’t want to lose my hand in the work,” she recalls. “I’ve since chosen to use my collage as another medium and less about the image that is being cut out but more about the shape of how I cut, thus I feel what has been removed has more focus on my own hand than potentially the image itself.”
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So, what’s next for this massively talented woman? “I plan to push my work this year by scale and materials. I’m constantly trying to find something else to change or add to keep me and my work growing. Someday I hope to return to sculpture and installation. There’s so many great sculpture artists out there that gets me excited to give it a go again.”
She also has an upcoming show:
June to August, North of the 45th, DeVos Art Museum, Marquette, MI
Thanks for reading!