Painted paper cut art with colored paper inserts, 10 x 30 in., 2016
BIO Janelle’s love for art was formed at an early age in her parent's home in Richmond, Virginia. She pursued her love of drawing in high school and continued in college where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University, concentrating in Children’s wear Fashion Design. Janelle furthered her fashion education at The Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, California and was selected to participate in the Britex Fabric Fashion Show.
Janelle worked in New York’s fashion industry, designing for several major children’s wear brands. From there she moved to California and then to Wisconsin to continue work in the fashion industry. While working, she was presented with an opportunity to display her other artistic talents, during a company show and tell presentation. Designing with paper proved to be quite an interesting concept and after extensive research she designed and made her first paper cut. All her paper cuts and silhouettes are cut using an exacto knife and one piece of paper. As a self-taught paper cut artist, Janelle is intrigued by the negative and positive spaces created and the boldness that each of her pieces delivers.
Janelle’s art explores the history, identity, family and beauty of African American culture through paper. Adinkra symbols are incorporated into her art to express messages that convey traditional wisdom and to express aspects of life or the environment. Further inspiration for her art comes from historical events, children’s stories, quotes and beauty found in the female face. Janelle recently started to experiment with several mediums and techniques, such as watercolor, cyanotypes and collaging. Her art has been featured in a interior design vignette for a book signing at Room and Board in Washington DC., she has hosted the Make your Mark station at the Baltimore American Craft Council, and had a miniature papercut series exhibited at the Ghost Gallery in Seattle, Washington.
Currently her work is being exhibited at the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum in Spotsylvania, Virginia and she also created silhouettes that will be placed on the label panels in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Slavery and Freedom gallery.
Statement "Positive messages influence the way people see themselves and strengthen their self esteem. “I am Me”, aims to nurture the soul and remind the spirit of all the positive attributes that it has or can have."
"To Love, Hope, Joy and Laugh are gifts given to all of us to actively participate in. “Four Words” gives permission to the viewer to focus and think about the meaning of each word and how they are incorporated into daily life."