Artist Spotlights Series:
Jan Murphy, Mixed Media

Welcome to Simply San Juan's Artist Spotlights Series, a collection of interviews with local artists and artisans. I am pleased to introduce Jan Murphy, a mixed media artist, and current resident of San Juan Island Washington. I sincerely thank Jan for her participation in this series, and appreciate this peek into her view of art in the world.

If you like this page, read more interviews at Artist Spotlights.

Please share a brief biography, including where you’re from and how you got started as an artist.
I was born and raised in Anacortes but spent most of my adult life until recently in San Diego. I've lived on the island for two years and love the energy and beauty here - not to mention all the amazing artists! My grandmothers were both very artistic and encouraged us all to "create", so I think I got my love for all things artsy or craftsy at a very early age. I started Wild at Heart Studios when I moved here in an effort to bring Art Instructors and Students together in a retreat setting, as well as to keep myself inspired by other artists.

Why do you do what you do?
Jan Murphy, Mixed Media artist, San Juan Islands Washington. I love the creative process. Love it when an idea becomes something creating something that might make someone smile, or remember something using bits and pieces and found objects to make something "unexpeted".

What jobs have you done, other than being an artist?
My passion has always been animals. I've owned and operated a pet sitting business for the last 20 years and have been actively involved in the animal welfare movement for over 30 years. I currently work at both Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and The Friday Harbor Animal Shelter.

Jan Murphy, Mixed Media artist, San Juan Islands Washington.What role, if any, does an artist play in society?
I think artists remind us that there is an artist inside each of us and that art can be found EVERYWHERE if you know how to see the world around you with an "artist's eye".

What do you like/dislike about the art world?
I like that the art world now includes so many different mediums and I dislike that art can often times be pretentious and un-approachable.

What is “creativity”?
To me, creativity is a spark. An idea that takes flight and challenges the imagination to go someplace new or different.

What motivates you to begin a new project, and what keeps you going?
I get motivated by the art of others. When I see a beautiful painting or sculpture, or even a play or musical performance, I tend to start getting itchy to get back to my studio and "make something".

How do you describe your style?
Jan Murphy, Mixed Media artist, San Juan Islands Washington.Chabby Chic meets Steampunk.

How much time do you spend doing your work every week?
I try to spend at least a few hours every day working on art. Doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes I don't make it into the studio for weeks at a time, but when all the planets align, I start every day with an hour or two of art-making.

Has your work changed over time? How?
Like a lot of other artists, my work has gotten more free and less restrained. I don't worry so much about getting it perfect - I just try to get it right for me.

What artist(s) would you most like to be compared to?
Laurie Mika has had a huge influence on my art. I'd love to be compared to her. In my wildest dreams I'd love to be compared to Jaime Ellsworth!

Jan Murphy, Mixed Media artist, San Juan Islands Washington.If there was no chance of ever being paid, would you still do your work?

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Creative, Kind, open.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Teaching art workshops in Europe.

Any advice for aspiring artists?
Try to make art every day!

This interview with Jan Murphy for the Artist Spotlights Series was completed on May 7, 2012. For more information about Jan and her work, please visit Wild at Heart Studios.

Read more Artist Spotlights:
Robin Atkins, Patti Barker, Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso, Cinda Sue Dow, Beth Hetrick, Peggy Sue McRae, Kevin Roth, Tom Small, Lewis Spaulding, Nancy Spaulding, Margaret Thorson, Virginia Van Camp, Paula West

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