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Meet Jan Roy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jan Roy.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My interest in art started when I was very little, tagging along with my Mom to fashion showrooms in NYC where she whipped up perfect drawings in record time. If she finished work early, we would go to her favorite art galleries. As a result of her influence, I dove into art at an early age but shied away from any formal training. So, two days after taking a night-shift job in a local factory in my early twenties, I said the heck with this and gathered designs that I always did on the side and turned them into a silk screen note card company. That led to a commission from the Portland Symphony Orchestra to do a poster for their 1979-1980 season and I was on my way. An international fine arts distribution company picked up my work, more commissions followed from a wide array of cultural organizations, and these resulted in shows throughout Europe, Asia, and the US. After twenty very successful years I sold off my silkscreen equipment and turned full time to painting, mostly in oils.

Please tell us about your art.
I paint mostly in oils, and mostly in the studio where there is little distraction. The inspiration is always from an emotional state I am in, and that defines the palette which evolves after putting down layers of paint. So, color is number one in importance. Because I start a piece with no idea where it will go, my paintings tell me what is in my mind. I lay down color, more color, scrape away revealing new color. The boundaries are totally open and there is a wonderful feeling of release. As I am working, I sense that I am tapping into a hidden part of my brain that is holding a place I very much want to get back to, or an idea that is wandering about and needs to be captured. When I get to this point, like cracking a shell, there is a grounding and a direction to follow. Because of the way I create, there is often a dreamlike quality to my work, and always room for a person to contemplate the meaning behind an often mundane or recognizable subject.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
Success comes in two forms that are, in my mind, at opposite ends of the spectrum. One is reaching that place artistically where you are truly involved, excited and pleased with the outcome. You’ve come to an accommodation, in a way; you’ve had a wonderfully private affair with your creation, and there’s almost nothing better than to feel it in your soul. However, and here’s the rub, that notion can be fleeting. Not long after the euphoria, you may well fall back into a state of self-doubt, a nagging voice that says you will never reach that special place again. The other piece that spells success is more obvious but less satisfying, except as a practical matter that’s hard to avoid: making a living, cashing some checks, seeing your work reach a larger audience, with attendant financial rewards. The best scenario is to have the former and not need the latter.

Speaking personally, I feel isolation is the key to success. I don’t mean that you need to be a hermit to create, but a place of quiet reserve is a real necessity for me. Given the distractions that surround us in this frenetic world, finding that kind of space, both physically and mentally, is quite the challenge. I was fortunate to have already established a name for myself when I turned to painting. If one has to keep a separate job that is not art related, the best thing is to lay aside a specific time when, away for the Internet especially, an artist can just concentrate on the task at hand. And if they are successful, then maybe that “day job” can be chucked, just the way mine was when I walked away from that factory many years ago!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I have several galleries in New England that I encourage people to visit. All have websites. They are:

Gleason Fine Art, in Boothbay Harbor, ME.
The Lakes Gallery, between Meredith and Laconia, NH.
Paula Estey Gallery, in Newburyport, MA.
Scott Bundy Gallery, in Kennebunkport, ME.

Other galleries that show my work are;

The Charles Gallery, in Gloucester, MA. Dedee Shattuck Gallery, in Westport, MA. I also welcome visitors to my studio in Haverhill, MA. It is an exciting space that encompasses an entire floor of an old shoe factory.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jan Roy

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