Creative Spotlight | Janet Parker Smith
Published on 12 December 2022
Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make
I’m an artist and arts educator who works with the mediums of printmaking, paper and copper sculptural processes and collage. I’ve been a practicing artist and teacher in the arts since 1996.
My recent work shows a particular interest in the Urban Space, incorporating found or altered elements of existing imagery in different formats to then fragment and alter them to create dialogues around identity and the environment.
Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
I like to use traditional and analogue methods to visually interpret my work. I am constantly looking for imagery and ideas through found materials and objects. I am a lover of rejuvenating the discarded and am often inspired by images and objects themselves as they can start a thought process for a new work and new projects.
How does your personal history, culture or experience inform your creative work?
I’ve had some great opportunities for travel through artist residencies. I have met some amazing people and had some life inspiring moments that have helped inform my practice.
When travelling I don’t always have access to equipment such as Printmaking facilities or a wood or metal workshop, but, I can take a pair of scissors, glue, paper and other small materials and still make an art work. Sometimes a work will later be interpreted into a larger more accomplished piece when facilities are available.
Are there any special processes, techniques or tools you use to make your creative work?
While I am a trained Printmaker I also use a lot of other tools and equipment to make my work. But I often wouldn’t be able to complete a work without the use of my printmaking equipment such as the etching press or the One Arm Bandit for screen-printing.
What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why?
I’ve just finished working on a commission for Willoughby Council where I created a large-scale flat copper sculptural work centred around the area of Willoughby. It focuses on the buildings, parks, people, plants, animals and activities in the area. This work will be hung in the Chatswood library as a Public Arts work.
In 2016 I was involved in an exhibition titled “As far as the eye can see”, which was initiated and curated by the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and exhibited works by prominent Australian Printmakers. This exhibition travelled to many states and regional areas of Australia from 2018 to 2021.
What creative project are you working on at the moment?
I am working towards an exhibition for 2023 in Townsville at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. The exhibition will showcase the work of seven Australian artists and seven artists from Canada. The work will discuss the landscape as each artist sees it.
What’s your favourite part of working as an artist/creative?
The freedom to express ideas but power to inform through a visual media.
What’s the most challenging part of working as an artist/creative?
Finding the space to work. Studio spaces can be expensive and especially when you need to house large printmaking equipment.
Do you have any top tips for emerging artists and creatives just starting out?
Learn lots. Whenever you get an opportunity to learn a new skill, take it because the more you can do for yourself the less reliant you are on other people. And take opportunities when they come.
Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?