Jane Szabo was born in Santa Barbara, raised not far from the CIA complex in Langley, VA, spent a few years in Seattle, WA and eventually made it back to California to receive an MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Her early work ranged from oil painting, to mixed media works and site specific installations.
Unlike many artists, she didn’t know from a young age she was destined to be an artist. In fact, her decision to be an artist was a lifestyle choice; she was mortified at the prospect of becoming an office drone and was terrified that she might have to wear pantyhose! To avoid such a fate Jane enrolled in a wide range of art classes in college and honed her skills. Those skills led her to a behind-the-scenes career in the film industry. After two decades of working for Hollywood, she returned to the art world as a fine art photographer. Her award winning work has been has been exhibited across the United States.
I my opinion one could substitute the word “tinkerer” for artist. For me, the act of being an artist is the act of working with my hands, creating things out of seemingly nothing or the mundane, making things look beautiful and drawing your attention to details. My work is strongly informed by my history as a painter and mixed media artist. Though I have a camera in my hands, I still think and create like a painter as I play with composition, color, and abstraction.
After a successful career in the film industry, I am now able to approach my art making with no strings attached. I can explore and experiment and take risks. This freedom to finally “play” has led me to develop new bodies of work that take me outside of my comfort zone as I explore social and psychological aspects of myself and those around me. I am deeply interested in the human condition and my work explores how we live, how we relate to each other, and how we feel about our self-identity.
Making art is a never-ending process of self-discovery and exploration. One project or idea leads to the next, and the work constantly evolves. It is the most exciting road to travel, and I will stay on it learning, growing and “tinkering” to the very end.
dis.place.ment This series of environmental portraits, which are shot in the subject’s home, have an added twist. A parent is photographed in a child’s room, a child is presented in a parent’s space, and activities occur in unusual places. The displacement of the subject makes the viewer pay special attention to their surroundings.
I recently was asked the very valid question as to why I had chosen to photograph people.
When returning to the camera after a long hiatus, the first thing I said was “I don’t shoot people.” And yet, here I am, inviting myself into people’s homes, invading their personal spaces and looking deeply into their psyches. As humans, we are drawn into the lives of others, yet we see our own reflection. I hope this project serves to allow each viewer a moment of self-reflection. These beautiful images invite you in, but once inside they force you to question your own identity, and your relationship with others.
Sense of Self After shooting many portraits of people in their homes and attempting to tap in to a psychological element, I realized that I was frequently referencing my own self-identity and issues. It was then time to turn the camera around and start working further outside my comfort zone. It was time to expose my “Self” and reveal my own vulnerability. I am currently working on a series of self-portraits entitled Sense of Self. Many of the images within the project document a process or activity. Blur, movement and light are used to add a psychological element to the work. This is a large body of work and is much more conceptual and experimental than my previous projects. These images explore my struggle to maintain a rigid sense of order upon my self and my environment (a process that is failing). This attempt and failure to contain chaos parallels my personal struggles and sense of identity. Unfortunately, this self-imposed rigid sense of order, a self that wants to grid, to sort, to map, to control, conflicts with my need to escape into freedom.
I’m with the Band Being married to a musician means many late nights in dark and often smoky venues. After getting the obligatory “live” shots that every band member craves, I began to investigate the behind the scenes moments that are so much more personal. I’m with the Band documents one short week while hanging out with The Other Mules, a nasty blues band, as we peruse the clubs of Amsterdam and its neighboring cities.
In other bodies of work I bring my eye and sensibility as a painter. Using macro lenses, and manipulating light and depth of field as a way to create painterly forms, I am experimenting with shooting everyday objects and showing them in abstracted views, emphasizing texture and form.