by Jane d’Albert Wilcoxson
My work is a series of vignettes about life; a commentary on the quirky, bizarre, funny and muddled up human existence on this planet. I’ve always been a watcher of life, and much of what I see is collected in sketchbooks in the form of gesture drawings. These drawings are then spun into compositions using strong design and color elements, which I make permanent through acrylic paint or oil pastel. Animals tend to take center stage in my paintings and have human personas. They wander through my work looking for a purpose and a place to belong. Often the presence of people is implied, through the animals, buildings or vehicles. An idea started in one painting may continue into a series of work until a whole story evolves. These stories are how I process the thoughts and feelings about my own existence.
I fell in love with art at the age of three, after a serious bout of meningitis. The illness damaged my eyesight and made reading and writing difficult; following a line of writing was frustratingly hard work, as my eyes would spasm, and I'd constantly lose my place on the page. To adapt I learnt to take in everything that was going on around me and to listen well. Creating pictures in my mind helped me to remember things and it also became my method for composing paintings, back then these imagined works were rapidly transferred to paper through tempera paint, pencil and crayons. If my eyes spasmed when I was creating it did not matter, I could work on any part of a painting or drawing at any time. An early interest in history and anthropology kept me busy through my youth sketching artifacts and making utensils and jewelry from found materials that would later inform my adult work. The human story has always interested me.
Born in 1963 in England, I grew up in the small rural village of Endon at a time when the back to nature movement was in full swing. Clothes were handmade, food home grown and self-expression encouraged. Village life was rich in history and folklore. Our little valley was surrounded by lush green farm fields and rolling hills. Kids were free to roam and everyone kept an eye out for each other and cared for the old folks. At the age of ten I attended a Saturday art program for talented youth at Leek College of Art and Design and at 16 I was enrolled as a full time art student for their college prep program. I went on to complete my B.A. in Fine Art Painting at Loughborough College of Art and Design and then my Post Graduate Certificate in Art Education from Birmingham Polytechnic. I’ve exhibited my work extensively in Europe and North American and won many awards. My art is in college and private collections on both continents.