This month’s featured artist, Janice Weiss, has taken her love of her city and its local surroundings and transformed it into unique pieces that create a one-of-a-kind version of some of Winston-Salem and North Carolina’s most memorable sights.
Janice Weiss | Collage artist
How would you describe your work?
It sounds a little simplistic, but as a collage artist, I tear paper and recreate beautiful spots around Winston Salem by putting those pieces of torn paper back together. For me, the fun of doing a collage is deciding which pictures to tear and use on the piece. I don’t want to be too literal and make it just like the actual spot I’m capturing. I want to choose colors, designs or patterns that give the piece interest and provide a bit of unexpectedness. I like to strategically place meaningful words within the collage, yet at other times I use random words that have no connection.
What influences your art most?
My eyes are drawn to places or things within our local area that are colorful and awe-inspiring. When I look around, there’s so much beauty at our doorstep, especially in nature. Specifically, I’m drawn to photographs of mountains with varying degrees of sunlight. In contrast, I also appreciate the beauty of man-made architecture, both modern and historical. Just like the view of a mountain, I love the big view of a cityscape with its familiar profile. Since most of my art is focused on places in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area, I must mention that this place is dear to my heart and it makes me smile to create art that showcases my home town.
How have you evolved, personally, as an artist?
I’ve always considered myself creative but didn’t begin identifying as an artist till Covid. Like many people, I felt off balance and a bit lost during that time. Between my husband and me, we lost 3 of our 4 parents during this time. I saw a counselor who suggested I find a distraction or something different to occupy my brain. Together, we decided on art and I enrolled in an in-person Sawtooth class. It’s hard to explain but the class unleashed a new (or simmering) love and I haven’t looked back. As I revisited this renewed love for creating and learning, I came to life. I started dreaming and scheming. I became brave and less fragile. And I’m doing things that I never thought I would ever do…like, having a business and being in a magazine!
How do you carve out time to be creative?
As a recently retired, yet ‘refired’ person I don’t struggle to find the time to be creative. I struggle finding the space to be creative! My husband and I live, minimalistically, in a small house on a few acres of land. There is only one table in the house and it’s better known as the kitchen table. Thankfully, I have a somewhat understanding husband who tolerates my messes… up to a point!
What are you working on that excites you right now?
I created a community art collage for Art Crush, an event that happens downtown every third Friday of the month. I started the project while the Art Crush visitors added to it and I finished it. I’m excited about doing more interactive projects where others get to experience the fun of tearing paper and deciding what to include on the project. Their tiny voices came through in little pieces of paper and it truly was a collective masterpiece.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists?
Creating art is not just creating a piece of art. It can be therapy, an important voice, a source of hope, the birth of a smile or a spark of creativity which becomes contagious for others.
If you are interested in learning more about Janice Weiss you can follow her on Instagram @outlandishly.unique as well as find her work online on Etsy at OutlandishlyUnique.etsy.com. You can also contact her directly for information regarding bookings and commissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.