Jane Burrows Interview | From Muse to Master

Posted by Kim Soep on

Jane Burrows is a painter and printmaker who creates abstract compositions of the female form. From a small studio in her flat in Hampstead, London, Jane creates bold and beautiful hand-pressed monotypes that derive from life drawing. In this interview, Jane shares her personal journey from muse to master and why she chose fine art over graphic design.

Kim: Where did your journey as an artist begin?

Jane: My father was a very dominant figure while growing up. As the middle of three daughters, I was the only one to stand up to him and was subsequently pegged as being the rebel of the family; the difficult child with ‘an artistic personality.' I was the least academic of the ‘Burrows girls,’ but I was creative and original, and this gave me a sense of purpose and focus. Despite opposition from my father, I decided to go to art school and there my journey as an artist began.

Kim: At what point did the female form take precedence in your work?

Jane: While I worked on building my portfolio to get into art school, I took a part-time job as a model in a life drawing studio. This is where I discovered my love for the female form. I quickly moved from one side of the easel to the other! The individualities and peculiarities of the female figure were particularly interesting to me. Since then, observational drawing has been the main focus of my work.

Kim: Who/what are your main influences?

Jane: The main artists who inspire me are the St Ives group, in particular William Scott. I love his use of space, form, and colour where landscapes, still life or a simple tabletop can become something else entirely.
Kim: You mention studying Graphic Design at Chelsea School of Art; has this informed your art practice?
Jane: Although my work was and is very graphic in style, I didn't think like a graphic designer. I didn't like the restrictions of working to somebody's brief and found that I was far too independent and feisty! I completed my first year and then transferred to Middlesex Polytechnic, where I studied Fine Art. There, I was able to explore and develop my ideas and keep up my life-drawing classes in the evening.
Kim: Tell us about your plans for 2020. What have you been working on recently?
Jane: At the moment, I’m working on a series of double sized prints where the figure is divided across two sheets of paper. I like that they can be separated or mounted together as a diptych, as each variation tells its own story whether on its own or in a conversation with the other. Currently, I'm using mainly black and white (with the odd red dot!), a palette I really love!

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  • Jane has always worked independently, and her abstractions of the female form are very succinct and humorous.
    Now, having read this interview, I understand a little of how and why she developed that style and came to that place. Thumbs up from me!

    Theresa on

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