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A World of Courage

2/15/17

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Georgia O’Keeffe wrote, “To create one’s own world takes courage.” Never was there a truer statement for artist Jane Nassano’s artistic journey and art. 

Jane grew up in the Midwest, mainly in Sterling, IL. Like many children, she loved creating art, drawing, and painting. Not surprisingly, she earned the reputation at an early age as the best artist in the class and school. Jane reflects she did have creative role models in her family. Jane had an artistic aunt who provided inspiration with her sculpture, pottery. and printmaking projects she created while working on her BFA degree. Jane also credits a cousin, close to her in age, whom she would draw and paint with when they were children. Jane’s “formal” training began when her mother sent her to art classes at the YMCA when she was 10 years old. There, she learned to work with pastels and paints. This resulted in a painting that hung in the upstairs hallway of her mother's home for the next 20 years!

Upon entering high school, Jane’s education swung to the more technical side of creation in the field of graphic arts. There, she learned commercial printing, including silk-screening, typography, and darkroom procedures, such as producing camera-ready art using a process camera. Additional skill sets were pasting up mechanicals and running a printing press. Jane also took fine art classes in watercolor, photography, fiber arts, and ceramics. All this added up to Jane earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, specializing in Graphic Design, at Arizona State University. 

Jane went into the world inspired to make the world a more beautiful place, one logo, poster, and company sign design at a time. This led her to a job as a graphic designer for the City of Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency. Later, Jane founded her own graphic design firm in Laguna Beach. Through all of this, Jane never considered herself a “fine artist.” Eventually, Jane went on to pursue a Masters Degree in Graphic Design at California State University/Fullerton. During this time, while taking an illustration class her style drifted into “giant soft pastel paintings on canvas.” The seed was planted, but she stuck to her identity as a graphic designer.

Jane spent two years in Barbados, West Indies, where she co-founded and was senior graphic designer for a neon light signage company. It wasn’t long before she found the desert calling her back, wanting to return to Arizona and just paint. The next 25 years, Jane was dedicated to working primarily in soft pastel, creating realistic floral images, figures and nudes, landscapes and still-lives. Over the years, Jane worked in both home and rented studio spaces, traveled all over the country doing art shows, and exhibited in many galleries. Jane participated in major juried shows such as The Celebration of Fine Arts and the Fine Art Expo in Scottsdale. But it wasn’t until she started exhibiting at On the Edge Gallery in Scottsdale in 2012 that she felt the influences of other artists, inspiring her to change her style and medium completely.

Jane has moved from two-dimensional paintings to three-dimensional mosaics composed of found objects/mixed media creating provocative sculptural pieces. Jane is having the most fun in the realm of recycled/found objects that she finds in thrift stores, antique shops, and vacant lots and in alleys. In her own small way, Jane is “artistic repurposing” from trash into treasure. She will be one of three featured artists in a show called “Re-use, Re-cycle, RE-CREATE" at On the Edge Gallery, on 5th Avenue in Scottsdale, on March 16, from 6-9. The other assemblage artists are Vickie Morrow and mixed media artist Betsy Halford.

To view a selection of Jane Nassano’s art from beautifully rendered pastels to mixed media sculptural pieces, to purchase a piece, or to contact Jane, visit her web site at
www.janenassano.com. 

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.