Life is Art; the travels of Suffern artist Janet Dyer

BY BRIAN EDSALL

The world is abounding with art. For many, art thrives as a childhood experience but nothing more. However for Janet Dyer, art has always been an essential part of her life. The Suffern artist’s success has now reached national heights with the support of family, friends and galleries across the country – success she has accomplished by pursuing what she loves.

Dyer was born in the Midwest – an area she says was sparse with art and artists. “There were not many working artists to draw from,” said Dyer. “Luckily, I was able to take lessons from Leland Beman who was a well-known artist in my town. He definitely gave me some solid grounding.”

Dyer explained that she always had a talent for painting and drawing, even from a young age. However, there was one event in particular which gave her tremendous confidence in her artistic abilities.

“From age eight to seventeen I entered into the county fair in Jackson, MI,” explained Dyer. “When I was 13 I entered a painting – it won first prize, and someone bought it. That was the first time I had sold a painting to complete strangers. They were adults who liked my work, and that meant the world to me.”

Up until about 1992, Dyer would do all of her artwork on her living room floor. However, she decided to take a three week vacation to Assisi, Italy – a decision which would change her environment of work forever.

“I attended a workshop in Italy – that was the first time I ever had studio space all my own. I was so immersed in my art and had so much space. I have never been without a studio since then,” said Dyer. “One of my main obstacles has been affording a studio on top of other expenses, but it’s definitely necessary.”

Painting is only a small part of being an artist. According to Dyer, much of her time is spent trying to market herself. Her work can be found at Village Framer in Ridgewood, NJ, Hudson Gallery in Sylvanio, OH, and Toledo Museum of Art Collectors’ Corner in Toledo, OH. Additionally, she is featured in online galleries, including UGallery.com, where she has found great success.

UGallery, co-founded by Alex Farkas and Stephen Tanenbaum, originated as a college project in 2006 but has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. The site now has customers from every state in the United States as well as 50 different countries and has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune as well as other prominent media outlets.

“I have always believed that is it important to see art in person,” said Dyer. “But I’m really glad that I submitted my work to UGallery…they’re very good at finding marketing opportunities for their artists.”

UGallery tries to promote artists who create unique and original artwork and provide them with deserving exposure. The company receives between 50 to 100 applications from artists a week, but only about five percent of the applicants are actually accepted. Janet was part of that five percent.

“We saw Janet’s work and it struck a chord with us,” explained Alex Farkas, co-founder and gallery director of UGallery. “She has this real sense of adventure and possibility in her art. She has a fascinating gift…people can get so much out of even her simplest paintings. They have a universal sense of possibility in them”

“Janet is one of our long time artists…we’ve worked with her for about five years now,” continued Farkas. “We have seen her style evolve over time – it’s nice to have long term relationships like that…She’s a really excellent painter and just a nice person to work with.”

UGallery has recently formed a partnership with Crate and Barrel – a partnership which will feature artists who have had long term relationships with UGallery and who embodied the aesthetics of the store. Janet was one of 28 artists selected for her talented and unique approach to her paintings.

“It was a real honor to be chosen as a part of this partnership,” said Dyer. “It’ll be fun to see where it goes.”

As Dyer becomes more successful, she ultimately hopes that her art, and art as a whole, will become an important part of people’s lives.

“Sometimes people react to my paintings in ways that I never would have anticipated. I’m happy to let them feel, see or react in any way they want to,” said Dyer. “I just want people to be happy with the art I create, that’s all I ask for.”