Behind The Brush
Jann Harrison, an accomplished artist with deep southern roots, resides in Nashville, Tennessee. Many consider Harrison a humorist who paints. Her bold and bawdy brand of humor has a strong presence in her work, but never more prevalent than when she probes the lighter side of life. Harrison enjoys combining realism with elements of fantasy, tossing in an unexpected touch of the surreal for flavor. She pushes the boundaries of her subjects to the limit. The incorporation of these unexpected elements is her whimsical trademark and the kiss her seal.
In her most recent series, The Perils of Francois, Harrison continues the adventures of the mythical Francois Andre Midas Fibian V, a rather curious-looking gentleman with a somewhat froglike appearance, yet, a man. Through his persona, Harrison explores the intricate relationships between Francois and his family, friends and lovers. As Francois travels the world in search of the quintessential element missing from his life, Maurice, his illegitimate twin brother, and Lola, an old family friend, who currently holds the distinction of being Francois' girlfriend pop up occasionally.
Harrison began her love affair with art as a child when she began her formal training in painting. Searching through the archives of her childhood, art was always a part of Harrison's life. Jann's fascination with portraits was evident in her early work, such as a picture of Little Lulu from the comic papers or sketching her mother on a small note pad. These early portraits were the beginning of a life-long passion for figurative work.
Harrison was greatly influenced by her high school art teacher, William Johnson, who gently looked her in the eye and suggested she use a camera to take a picture of her subject in lieu of using pencil and paper. He challenged her to interpret her subjects, not duplicate them. Her passion for art is a constant in her life.
Jann received a B.F.A. from the University of Tennessee where she was privileged to study with such fine artists as Byron McKeeby, Carl Sublett, and Clark Stewart. Whitney Leland, an accomplished abstract painter, forced her to leave her tight, meticulous world behind and enter the big, open space of contemporary art. A shining star in her art training was Joseph Sulkowski, a very gifted painter, and a wonderful teacher. Sulkowski comes from Pennsylvania, and studied art in New York with descendants of the Hudson River School who still adhere to the artistic principles and techniques of Leonardo DaVinci. Joseph taught her how to capture a landscape in oils and a great deal about anatomy in life drawing class. He implanted the seeds of Harrison's traditional roots.
Harrison has achieved international acclaim for the Perils of Francois collection. In the Perils series, Harrison keeps the journal of Francois's travels and becomes more than an artist; she is a travel guide, roving reporter, social commentator, and occasionally a bodyguard. Accompanying the large paintings in the collection are whimsical written interpretations by the artist. Harrison is currently working on a book of vignettes and accompanying paintings of Francois. Jann has found her niche in a venue where she can speak freely and create the unexpected in an environment of her own choosing. Her art breathes magic into everyday life; and through that magic, we begin to believe what we see as we take a second look.
Life is the journey; art is the journal of where we have been and whom we have encountered along the way.