What sculptural artist Jana Booker loves most about being an artist is that it comes natural for her, she tells RAW. Be sure to RSVP to see her work on display at Elevate Lounge at the next RAW showcase on Thursday, August 12th!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a native Californian, and grew up in Orange County. I skateboarded throughout the 70’s and was sponsored by Van’s Shoes, Pepsi Team, and Gordon and Smith. In 1977, I won the title, “California State Champion” after competing in a series of freestyle, slalom, pool and half-pipe competitions . In my 20’s I owned and operated a screen printing company and then received and opportunity to work for Disney sculpting for their theme parks. Since 1991, I have worked as a commercial sculptor for the Entertainment Industry.
How did you first get started in art?
I started creating art as a child with my mother. We took ceramics, copper enameling, and painting classes in my pre-teens. In my school years I excelled in art and really didn’t think much about it. When I was in college studying nutrition, I was asked by a friend to do a t-shirt design and that began my career as an artist.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I describe my aesthetic as Primitive Modern.
From where do you draw inspiration for your work?
My inspiration comes from indigenous tribes, man in his natural environment. I am so in love with the way tribes live in harmony with the environment, how they make art, and their spiritual beliefs.
What do you love most about what you do?
What I love most about being an artist is that it comes natural for me. It is a part of my being that is eternal and my inspiration comes from that spiritual place of knowing that we are all artists of our own lives and how we choose to live it.
Do you draw inspiration from other forms of art?
I draw inspiration from all forms of art; music, poetry, dance, and philosophy. Life itself is my inspiration. I can compare my inspiration to that of a musician who hears the songs in there head and I see pictures in my mind.
Medium of choice?
My most utilized medium is leather. I also work in clay, wire, foam, plaster, and cement.
Any techniques you prefer?
The techniques I use the most are modeling, carving, molding and casting.
Are there any artists or art movements, past or present, that strongly influence and inform your work?
The art movements that influence and where my art fits best are on the ends of the spectrum, primitive art and realism.
Any accomplishments you are most proud of?
I had the honor to work on a Claes Oldenburg sculpture called “ Collar and Bow” for the Disney Concert Hall in 2006. It was amazing to work for an artist who had done so much work throughout the last century and to create something he designed. Unfortunately, for everyone the piece was embroiled in lawsuits because of engineering and faulty construction so in light of that it was never erected. In 2007, I was commissioned to create the Monkey Crest for the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles. I did the 15-foot and the 4- foot versions used by the hotel for their logo. It was designed by Philippe Starck, who is an amazing designer and world-renowned architect.
Any goals for your artistic career?
My goals as an artist are to stay true to myself and to keep creating until the day I die. I see myself doing portraits of musicians, professional athletes, dignitaries and the like. I believe once my art is out in the world and people hear about it and see it, that my audience is there. Showing my art is just as important as making it. If you write a song you sing it, showing my art is my way of singing my song.
Why showcase with RAW?
I am showcasing with RAW to fulfill a promise I made to myself, that I would take every opportunity to show my work to a new audience.
When you aren’t making art, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
My favorite thing to do outside my craft is to cultivate my relationships with people and to serve and give of myself to others.
Any current rising stars within the genre that you recommend we keep an eye out for?
A rising star on the art seen is my husband Kinney Booker. He is an amazing painter and has sold painting to be shown on TV shows. His work is on Miami Trauma, and Melrose Place. He does amazing modern seascapes and koi fish.