Jane Smith creates whole new worlds with her new characters and creations. Her collage based artwork comes to life on textiles and is inspired by her great array of interests. Read her exclusive interview with Kess InHouse below.

Kess InHouse : Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an artist?

Jane Smith : I discovered my love of paper, pattern, fabric and mixed media collage while attending the Columbus College of Art & Design, where I earned my BFA in Illustration. After graduation, I followed the love of my life to Los Angeles, where I worked as an Art Director at a novelty children’s book publisher. After creating many wonderful titles there, I struck out on my own as an Illustrator & Designer and have been happily freelancing ever since. It’s been my pleasure to enjoy partnerships with many wonderful publishing and art licensing clients (including Kess!!).

KIH : What is your first memory as an artist?

JS : It is very hard to pinpoint a very first memory as an artist! I’ve always made art and written stories and made things, even when I was small child. I remember drawing, stenciling, painting and stamping at a young age. I grew up in Ohio and in the summertime, I’d set myself up on our screened-in back porch and make art all day during those long sunlit hours. The screen kept the buzzing bugs at bay in the heat and I’d lose myself in my own little world.

KIH : What is your creative process?

JS : All projects start with lots and lots of sketching! Then I pick and choose and put together sketches and begin collaging different images and elements. I usually create a color palette from my extensive stash of collage materials, stored in my huge set of flat files & boxes and boxes and more boxes. Sometimes I add detail to the collaged elements with a black artist drawing pen. Then all the collages, textures, colors and line drawings get scanned and arranged altogether to create a final image digitally.


KIH : What common threads do you find show up in your artwork?

JS : I love creating characters—both people and animals! And I enjoy creating visual narratives around them. I also adore patterns! As a collage artist I add them into every image I make, whether it is a single illustration or I’m creating an actual repeat pattern on its own!

KIH : What is your favorite piece? How did you develop the composition?

JS : I have SO many favorites!!! But if I had to choose…I love my Indian Hamsa illustration. It’s beautifully detailed with lovely pops of pink, red and deep purples against earthy oranges and yellowy browns. I developed the composition as an exercise in symmetry. I wanted it to be a balanced image, calm to behold. All the decorative elements that mirror each other side-to-side were developed thru the inspiration of my own jewelry collection—earrings, necklaces, bracelets and charms. This lends the illustration a delightfully feminine essence.


KIH : What is your work space like?

JS : I do most of my artwork in my studio, which is a little Socali backhouse behind the beach bungalow I live in. It is breezy and quiet. I have a big “L” shaped desk made from a pair of old doors, a patchwork swivel chair, a gigantic old school set of flat files and a flying papier-mâché cupcake to keep me company.

KIH : Why did you become an artist?

JS : I don’t think I “became” an artist so much as I simply have just always been one! From a professional standpoint, my career really chose me. Being an artist is what I was meant to do and I know it to be true because I am at my happiest, in my studio creating, illustrating, designing.

KIH : What inspires you?

JS : I am inspired by a million little things everyday—cupcakes, sunshine, succulents, flowers, stickers, cartoons, novels, cookbooks, fabric, flea markets, running, yoga, fashion, toys, sewing, art museums, gardens, trees, furniture, Japanese dishes, tea, vegetables, holidays, children, scarves, the beach, the zoo, bugs, folk art…and the list goes on and on!

KIH : What artists inspire you to create your artwork?

JS : Oh, there are too many to name them all!! I’ve always felt a connection with the work of Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock. The abstract expressionists are near and dear to my heart. I’ve also always loved the collages and assemblages of Kurt Schwitters & Picasso, and the black & white photography of Ben Shahn and Edward Weston. More to the present, I simply adore the collections of artists working with Lilla Rogers Studio, Cinnamon Joe and Pink Light Studios. To be sure, there is certainly no shortage of amazing artists out there to be thrilled by!


KIH : What are your top 5 favorite products offered by Kess Inhouse for your artwork?

JS : Ooo! My top 5 Kess favs would be:
1) yoga mats
2) the darling everything bags
3) super fun cardboard animal head busts
4) classic throw pillows
5) cozy fleece throw blankets

KIH : Would you recommend Kess Inhouse to other artists?

JS : I would recommend Kess to other artists. In my experience, Kess is a positive art licensing partner in that they are responsive to questions and concerns, are consistent in providing royalty reports and payment, and are active in getting their products out in the world into the hands of consumers.

Did you find Jane Smith super talented? Did you have anymore questions for her? Please comment below to ask anymore questions about Jane.

If you are also interested in being a Kess artist please feel free to apply on our website.