Behold the fabulous art work of Janine Kelleher at her JaLu Gallery/Studio in Sayulita!
The concept behind Janine's beautiful art work at JaLu Gallery in Sayulita is daily contemplation captured; which moves and transforms onto glass in the form of heartfelt words, poetry, oil based paint and mixed media. Her expression is a style of word/visual art, that imparts a lot of movement, light and emotions, all layered into her original and well curated pieces. Her earthy, abstract style ranges from byzantine-esque-ish Italian vibe to artisanal functional forms to playful whimsical flowers and the requisite array of hearts. Not to mention this run on sentence. Whew! Yet her work feels so much more than even that. Her palate is primarily earthy, steeped in copper tones, along with unexpected pops of color that work so well together that it looks like dance choreography, but with paint....and a wand.
What lies behind the magic? Answer: A woman who has been in the Arts all of her life and stays true to the undertow of her calling. Janine has put in her dues; she was a dancer in NYC, and due to an injury she started painting. This led her into classes in NYC, Visual Arts college in North Carolina, followed by studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. She studied everything - in search of that which she resonated with, along with stirrings of the soul.
Striving for new creative heights, adventure, and food for the soul, Janine decided to go to Italy to continue her studies. She took several classes in painting and art history at the Lorenzo di Medici University. It was a formative Italian journey that continues to surface in her art today. When I asked her to expand on her Italy experience, she said it was a pivotal point for her due to the brilliant instructors. She said she had a connection and a feeling of belonging with Italy. She found she could really tap into her creativity there in a way like no other in her past.
Janine started working with glass as functional and visual art about 11 years ago while she was living in Playa Del Carmen. She says Playa Del Carmen was an incubator stop in a way, planting seeds for what was to come....but where would that be? 'I needed, or we needed to find a place that held opportunities for both of us', she said. All roads eventually lead to Rome - wait. No, all roads eventually led to Sayulita, where things just fell into place for both Janine and her partner, where they were each able to hang their own respective shingle shortly after their arrival into town. No surprise then that her partner is Luca Romano, of the enchanting Miro Vino Restaurant. Italy resounds. Janine finally found her unique gallery/studio location, JaLu Gallery, amongst a row of other artists on Avenida Revolution, just half a block past the plaza. She says the gallery was inspired by the ideal locale and location, along with some divine intervention.
Sayulita embraced me' she said, 'it allowed me to tap into my creativity, tune into myself on a deeper creative level. It has been very gratifying.
I asked Janine why she left dance and what she brought to her art from her previous life of dance. She began by saying, 'dancing is a discipline, of movement and feeling...very beautiful. It is creative in the same way as painting and other art forms on a cerebral level. It requires focus, inspiration and dedication. Dance can be so beautiful, and yet, no matter how good you are you are never good enough. Competition does that.' This is actually a profound observation really...it's very hard to go deep within for your personal expression in life or art if you have to constantly be preoccupied with the competition. Her beautiful art shows that she has found her authentic expression and style.
I asked if Janine had any advice for aspiring artists? She thoughtfully replied, 'Gifts show up when you follow your heart and remain true to yourself'.
While wrapping up our tete a tete, I asked Janine to talk a little about her business and recipes for success. She explained that she believes in keeping things small and simple. 'I work to take care of my creativity, my health, my writing -all of these things must come first.' That being said, she admits that the business takes over through the winter months for high season. The days are long... from 10am to 8 or 9pm. The days are a mix of art work with customers ebbing and flowing. She continues to explain that artists are often loners and very comfortable in their own space, yet JaLu Gallery offers a place for art and human connection, which is great! The challenge lies in dealing with the flow of creativity stopping and starting as well as using both sides of the brain simultaneously.
Janine's company, conversation, and art process led to an exchange in conversation about vulnerability and intimacy. Janine offers that 'Art is connection, it's universal. Connection to people is intimate quickly due to the personal content'. (Of her art) Janine and her art reveal a strength and a braveness to me....she exposes her emotions in prose and then over to paint and so forth.
I think back to a Ted Talk that I once watched with Author and research professor at the University of Houston, Brene Brown, called The Power of Vulnerability. Brene, in that Ted Talk, discusses how we all seek to connect and yet it is impossible to do so unless we are prepared to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, reflecting on the same subject of connection and vulnerability, Brene quotes a great speech by Theodore Roosevelt back in 1910, saying that the credit actually belongs to 'the man in the arena.....while daring greatly'. In short, strive and dare and open yourself up to possibilities....even criticism. Allowing room for vulnerability is brave and creates connection. If I were to summarize what describes Janine and her art, I look wholeheartedly to the man in the arena....or woman.
JaLu Gallery, Av Revolution #48, Centro, 63734, Sayulita