MY NAME IS JANA, AND I’M THE FIRST “DIGITAL FOLK ARTIST” !
I’m from Chicago, but happily moved to sunny L.A. over 30 years ago. (I still love Chicago, but hate the freezing winters and muggy summers.) I was in adult education teaching English as a second language for many years, but along with millions of others, was laid off when the economy tanked in 2008. One of the only good things about losing my job was finally having the time to explore new interests and discover hidden talents.
In late Nov. of 2010 I was exploring the things my new laptop computer could do, and by accident opened the MS Paint program that came with it. I had absolutely no idea what the program was, or how to use it, but the little girl in me who once loved to finger-paint and play with “coloring books” saw the palette of colors and different kinds of brushes and became curious. I experimented with all of the various brushes, clicking on a different color and brush size for each stroke I made. Soon I had filled the screen with long strokes of bright colors and slashes of black and white. After my curiosity had been satisfied I was about to close the MS Paint window and return to what I had been doing, when I noticed something odd about what I had randomly created. There on the screen, (to my eyes anyway) were 2 stylized people dancing around in a rainbow-colored blizzard! I was amazed at what I had inadvertently created and really enjoyed looking at it, so I hit the ‘save’ button. I later titled this experiment in digital finger painting “Ecstatic Dancers – Original Version”, and it became my first abstract.
Although I’ve been a fan of abstract art for many years, I never studied it because my areas of creativity have always been performing on stage, singing, and writing. I had never in my life created anything that could be called ART, and point of fact, nobody ever wants me on their team when we play Pictionary because everyone knows I couldn’t draw a realistic object to save my life! However, what I had created on that computer screen definitely looked like abstract art to me. I was intrigued. I began exploring what I could do with the tools this program gave me to work with. Since that day three ago I have painted more than 100 abstracts, using only the MS Paint program.
My abstracts are all original concepts, but I don’t seem to have any one particular style. When they’re completed I see aspects that remind me of other abstract artists, but while I’m painting I’m not trying to be reminiscent of anyone in particular. When I look at a blank screen the ideas seem to flow from whatever mood I’m in that day. I finished some of them in minutes, while I worked on others for many months to get them to look just exactly the way I wanted them to look.
I’ve had no formal training in either art or in computers, but I’ve always had an intuitive ability to blend colors and shapes harmoniously. Up till three years ago that ability was limited to the amateur interior decorating of my house, and my wardrobe choices (both of which always get raves). I’ve looked around the Net enough to know there are very few people who use MS Paint exclusively to create art. In fact, I may be the only one. Artists who are savvy with computer art are mostly using combinations of much more sophisticated software, and of course they are producing some fabulously creative work. But I believe I have a place out here as well. My “finger-on-mouse painted” abstracts have gotten nothing but positive feed-back from the other artists here on Red Bubble, and 48 of them (and 2 written works) have been featured! I now believe that I actually had this latent talent all my life without knowing it and couldn’t express it until I discovered MS Paint. Since my work is created using a simple program, I’m not a trained artist, and it literally doesn’t exist in the “real” world, I’ve decided to call what I do “Digital Folk Art” or “Digital Primitive Art”. Who knows, maybe I’ll birth a ‘Movement’… the first entirely virtual Folk Art!
© Jana Gilmore ~ All work is copyright protected. Unauthorized usage, altering, redistribution, duplication, production, displaying, or reproduction without prior written consent is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. All images in this portfolio do not belong to, nor are in the public domain.