I’m Jane Laurie.
I’m an artist.
I’m based in Hackney, London, UK.
I am an a specialising in painting, wildlife, nature and scientific subject matter. Although I paint animals of all kinds, I have lately been depicting endangered species. I work in ink on paper, as well as acrylic and oils on canvas, and I have also been working on murals and street art using acrylic and spray paint.
What path did you career take to get where you are now?
I was trained as an illustrator at Falmouth College of Arts (now Falmouth University). This was home from home for me- beautiful coast and countryside where I continued to study nature along side my art, with an ever growing interest in science, and this is where my two big interests merged for good.
Have you found it difficult to enter this profession as a women?
I would say that every woman has a struggle of some sort when finding a career because it has always been this way. Women have been constantly battling against men in the workplace, and it is sadly still a very unequal situation today. But the creative world is definitely very rich in talents from both sexes. A lot of women I’ve met over the years are incredibly skilled. Both men and women bring different things to the creative table.
Did you have any help during your career?
My husband, who I have been with for 11 years now, has helped me immeasurably. I met him when I arrived at University, and since then he has been guiding and encouraging me with my work. Although he is also an artist, he works in the digital/ installation realm of art, very different to my work. Being ten years older than me, he also has a few more years experience, so he has been a very helpful council over the years. I also guide him whenever he has questions about his work, because he values my input as much as I value his. There is no right or wrong answer with art, but critique from a person whose opinion you trust is immeasurable.
What do you wish you has know when you started out?
I wish I’d known how to ask for money properly! This is a big problem with artists-no-one wants to pay for art! I wish I’d known how to put my foot down and not get taken for a ride. It is a job just like any other, so art should be paid for just like any other work.
If you could talk to your younger self now, what would you tell them?
I wouldn’t say anything. And this is not because I don’t know any different now- I most definitely do- but I wouldn’t have gotten where I am now if I hadn’t gone thorough learning the hard way first.
Who has most inspired you and why?
I’m very inspired by the artist Ralph Steadman. He worked for many years alongside the eccentric journalist Hunter S Thompson, and together they made some astonishing work in the 1970s and 80s. Stead man worked as a satirical artist, drawing politicians and famous figures for news articles. His messy inky style caught my eye when I was studying on my art foundation course in 2003, and so I started to use ink in the same way. He has recently worked on a fantastic book dedicated to extinct birds which he has illustrated, along with birds he has invented too. To me, this is the perfect book! It would be my dream to meet him one day.
What tips would you give to someone just starting out?
I would say trust yourself, and do what you love- don’t do what everyone else is doing, or try to be something you are not! I tried this once and it made me very confused, lost and frustrated. There’s a reason you love to create in a certain way, so stick to it.
What was the best piece of advice anyone gave you?
ALL the advice given to me by my art teacher in school, Mr Potter. I would not be where I am today without his wise words over the years.
What inspiring quote do you love and where does it come from?
‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”- Albert Einstein.
Do you use any useful apps, systems or websites that you would like to share?
Instagram is a really excellent way to quickly show the world what you are working on. I prefer it to Twitter purely because it is visual, and ‘visual’ is the way I think.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Each day I work on my art, I am excited by the prospects of what is ahead of me. There are many more collaborations to do, events to take part in, animals to paint, words to spread and connections to be made. I’m excited about the future.