We had the good fortune of connecting with B.J. Lane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi B.J., career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
It’s funny, when you’re young everyone asks “what do you want to be when you grow up?” But nobody tells you that when you are finally done with all your schooling and venture out into the world, you might be set on a different path. A path you could have never imagined. Be assured, your goals will change as life changes around you. But there are somethings that haven’t changed for me. I remember my father saying “you’ll never be rich and famous until you’re dead, so you better take a typing class”. So I took a typing class … and an art class. When I graduated from high school I got a job as a secretary … and I kept painting. When I move to Southern California I settled in Burbank, and worked at the LA athletic club as a secretary… and I sold my drawings and taught art classes. I started exhibiting my work in libraries and buildings in Los Angeles. I painted watercolors of beautiful old buildings in downtown. And I kept working. When I met up with my husband, he said, “Maybe you should learn electricity, it pays more than being a secretary.” So, I became a telephone repair technician … and I kept creating my art. And then I became a wife and a mother, and had to learn about raising children and about autism and about family connection. And I painted my journey. I shared my work. I created art to help others … and I kept sculpting and painting and creating art about the world around me. At this point in my life it is hard to imagine that after nearly 60 years as an artist, that I would ever end my career. Creativity has become who I am, and art will be alive inside me as long as I live. Do I still have dreams and goals and ambitions? Yes! My dreams are big, and each day I move forwards toward them. Currently, I am involved in a collaborative project creating artwork about significant women and their contributions. In the past few years I’ve been involved in supporting several nonprofits. I’ve donated my artwork to the Cancer Society, PBS, and museums. I helped to bring art into schools, and support a nonprofit that helps adults with autism, plus several other organizations I believe in. As I continue on my journey, I feel it is important to collaborate with other creatives and art influencers. I am compelled to bring the world of creativity into communities, by sharing my art and encouraging people to actively engage in the art around them. Art can not only be a beautiful memory hanging on your wall, but a personal statement, or a tool for higher learning. I don’t know what my next project I will be, but I know my art will be in the midst of creating it. I continue to work at being the best I can be. Every day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My goals in life and in my professional career continue to change as I moving towards my ultimate destination. When I was very young my goal was to learn everything an artist was supposed to know. I wanted to know how to draw and paint. First I learned by copying my father as he showed me step by step how to draw a house with windows, a roof, and stairs. I copied book illustrations and submitted them with my book reports. I drew objects around my bedroom, and photographs that other people had taken. In college, my focus was on learning skills in different medium, design, and figure drawing and learning how to paint and draw from real life. I got attention for my work, and got acknowledgement for my efforts. I have, (and still do have), works exhibited in galleries, and museums, and continue to show my work in public venues. Even though I have had many successes in my art journey, I found that when got to a certain point in my life, something was missing. My art journey was very private and secluded. I love working with my private clients and love reaching our to the public to share art and encourage others to pursue their own artistic goals. Yet I feel compelled to do something more … to be involved in something truly meaningful, and bigger than myself. Nowadays you will find me being involved in more and more collaborative projects and working closer with nonprofit organizations. Currently, I am working on an exciting collaborative project with the Quad + (a forming nonprofit) creating sculpture and other art forms. Because of the pandemic, accessibility for live presentations is limited, so we adjusted and instead of a live presentation, we are creating a virtual “Women Talk” which will feature several sculptures (Harriet Tubman, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Freda Kahlo, Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Megan Retainer and Greta Thunberg), along with a verbal Q&A created for each figure. The video will also feature a quick peek at my sculpturing process. The idea is to bring “Her-story” to life through sculpture, costume, visual arts and story, to help people access Information about significant women and their contributions. As I continue on my journey, I feel it is important to collaborate with other creatives and art influencers. I am compelled to bring the world of creativity into communities by sharing my art and encouraging people to actively engage in the art around them. Art can not only be a beautiful memory hanging on your wall, but can also serve as a gift or a personal statement, and even a tool for higher learning. I don’t know what my next project I will be, but I know my art will be in the midst of creating it. I continue to work at being the best I can be. Every day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have the best of both worlds living here in Fallbrook. I’m right inside the county limits of San Diego in a rural artsy community it’s a hidden gem in a busy world. But I loved living in the city and have spent over 30 years in LA County. I raised my three daughters there and have had the opportunity to find the gold tucked in between the busyness of the city and the landscape of solitude. I got to experience Griffith Park and it’s zoo, travel town, hiking trails and the Griffith Park Observatory. I worked in Los Aneles downtown for a number of years and loved to walk around taking photos of the old buildings and have even painted in Plein air in Chinatown, and at the Disney music Hall. Not far away is the famous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion if you feel like taking a seat and watching plays . And of course visits to the LA County art museum and the J Paul Getty museum are both a must for the art connoisseur. Two of the things I truly missed this past year were our yearly visits to the Los Angeles car show at the LA convention center, and the LA Art Show. If you’ve got kids you can’t miss the day La Brea tar pits, and Exposition park where there’s tons of hands-on activities for little ones in their science museum and aeronautics museum.My newest favorite hidden museum, the Nethercutt museum, is not far from Burbank and the movie studios. It presents xtravagant antique cars, an amazing musical instrument collection(beautiful carved pipe organs and unique automatic instruments which are played on the special FREE tour, Along with Gorgeous memorabilia. What a find! Culture abounds in the large metropolitan city and when you are searching for some ocean breeze and a peek at nature’s bounty, the beaches are all pretty close by. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many different people who have encouraged me, helped me, and guided me through my journey—from my own parents and husband, to professors and mentors in both highschool and college. I am extremely grateful to get the support that kept me in a position to continue to be an artist all these years. And I continue to be supported to create my art through the encouragement of close friends, donors and collectors, and nonprofit organizations, (like yourself), who continue to reach out to shine a spotlight on my work and want to hear my continuing story. Just recently I was interviewed by a newly formed group in Fallbrook who highlights local new and businesses in our area. They offered me a spotlight in “Everything Fallbrook” and created a video which included my gallery and studio space. Here is the Facebook link: https://www.everythingfallbrook.org/2021/02/25/artist-studio-tour-bj-lane/
Linkedin: Bj Artworks
Other: https://www.everythingfallbrook.org/2021/02/25/artist-studio-tour-bj-lane/ https://bjartworks.wixsite.com/quad-collaborative/about https://www.everythingfallbrook.org/2021/02/15/and-speaking-of-susan-b-anthony/