Janelle W. Anderson is a Denver-based artist whose work is currently featured in our all-Colorado show, Hometown Heroes. Below, read about her path to becoming an artist, the work that currently inspires her, and how she views and processes her own and others’ art:


Helikon Gallery: Did you aspire to be an artist, or did you fall in love with making art? 

Janelle W. Anderson: Kind of both. I enjoyed drawing when I was a kid, but I didn’t realize that being an artist was something I could pursue until I was in college. I first went to college as an English major, but switched to Art my second semester. It was definitely the right choice for me, and I found great joy in improving my skills and problem solving to execute an idea in the way I envisioned. I still get that same joy in the act of creating something new, and if a piece is really working out the way I want, there is a point in the process where I have this feeling of pure elation. That tells me I’m on the right path with that piece, and with making art in general.

HG: What does your perfect day look like?

JWA:  Sleep in, paint all day, eat tacos and drink beer with friends.

Alone with You

HG: Who are some of your current influences or inspirations? Have they changed over time?

JWA: Thanks to the internet, I’m constantly finding new inspiring artists. I’ll find an image on Instagram, check out that artist’s profile and immediately receive 10+ suggestions to artists who are doing similar work, and just go down the rabbit hole from there. A few artists I’ve been consistently inspired by for the past few years are: Chloe Early, Juan Travieso, Ali Cavanaugh, Colin Chillag, Joram Roukes, Mary Iverson, and DJ Rice. All of those artists are at the top of their game in terms of both concept and skill. I don’t know that I’ll ever even come close to the level of those artists, but looking at what they do always inspires me to make smarter, better work.

HG: What do you look for in the art of others? What would you hope people look for in your work? 

JWA: I think art should make you feel something subconsciously, as soon as you see the work, before you even have a chance to process it. It’s a visceral reaction, like getting goosebumps when you hear a certain song. I like work that makes you feel that immediate reaction to it, and then invites you to stay longer. I hope to achieve similar feelings through my work. I hope there is something that catches your eye and draws you in, and something that makes you stay, look, and think a little deeper.

HG: How long do you usually take to complete a piece? Do you work on multiple pieces simultaneously?

 I consider my process to be very slow, but I think I’m getting faster. I do work on multiple pieces at once and usually come up with ideas for new pieces while I am working on another piece. I like to give myself 3-4 weeks to finish a painting, and for larger works I want to give myself at least 8 weeks. I usually am able to paint 15-20 hours a week, and sometimes I’ll reach 30+ hours in a week if I’m really ambitious or if I have a tight deadline.

Thank you to Janelle for participating in our interview! See her work in Hometown Heroes, on view through September 1, and online at https://janellewanderson.com/home.html.

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