We had the good fortune of connecting with Jane Szabo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jane, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Choosing to become an artist is a risky decision. There is no clear path to making a viable living as an artist – and each and every one of us is forced to find a way to pursue our creative dreams, and build a sustainable career. For most artists I know, that means a “day job” above and beyond their art making practice. I was fortunate to have a creatively rewarding career in the film industry with a hands-on job, making props, painting sets, and running scenery construction projects. The job kept food on the table, and a roof over my head – but the bottom line was that what I was making at work wasn’t the same as making my own work. About ten years ago I summed up the courage to take on more risk by significantly reducing the hours at my day job to more fully pursue my artistic career. And now, I view risk taking a little differently. As a fine art photographer, the work I make is very personal, raw and honest. Each project I embark upon is an act of diving deeper into myself, and exploring my connection to the world and people around me. To make work that captivates and engages, I must take the risk to bare my authentic self, to share my true voice, to be open and honest. I know that if a project scares me, then it is worth pursuing.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being a professional artist means I do a lot more than making work. I spend a significant amount of time building the art business: maintaining an archive of my work, packing and shipping works, communicating with galleries and collectors on a regular basis to keep my audience engaged, and looking for new opportunities to exhibit my work. I also spend a lot of time contemplating how my work fits into the larger art world, and frequently take workshops that address creative thought processes as a way to stay inspired, and refine my voice.

Most importantly, I am always mining ideas, and am currently exploring the development of my next project. As a conceptual artist, my work is about ideas, and creating a narrative to tell a story. A unique thing about my artistic process, is that each project I create is visually different from the series that preceded it. One series leads to the next, and the ideas are the common thread, but visually, each body of work has its own unique style. From portraiture, to still life, to hand made constructions within landscapes, every series investigates a new way to explore ideas of self, identity and our place in the world. The skills I learned in the film business, from fabricating props for venues like Disneyland Paris, to creating budgets and coordinating crews for set construction projects, have significantly helped me as a self-employed artist. The bottom line is I work hard, and I am always learning. I pride myself on being self-reliant. If I need a prop built for a photo project, I know I can make it myself. Being an artist isn’t easy, but it is so rewarding to be able to create meaningful personal work. I hope your readers will continue to follow me to see where the next series leads.

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?
What are my favorite spots in the city? Well, covid has sure changed how I might answer that question! Chances are, if a friend was visiting me, that person would be an artist, and I would take them to see an array of art exhibits in galleries, visit local museums like the Norton Simon, the Broad and LACMA, or perhaps see a crazy production by the Pacific Opera Project, or other live event. Now I am spending my time at home, or in nature, and I am not hanging out with friends! Safe outdoor trips would definitely include a visit to the Huntington Library or Descanso gardens.

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 people and organizations that have helped me along the way. First, the non-profit art centers that both support my goals as an artist, and provide a connection to community: Three cheers to the Los Angeles Center of Photography, the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, CA, Building Bridges Art Exchange, The Irvine Fine Arts Center, Art Share LA, Los Angeles Art Association among others. Additional appreciation is due to the galleries that represent my work: Susan Spiritus Gallery in California and Foto Relevance Gallery in Texas.

Website: www.janeszabophotography.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janeszabophoto
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jane-szabo-798b15b/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneSzaboPhoto
Other: Represented by: Susan Spiritus Gallery, CA 2070 Business Center Dr., Ste 290 Irvine, CA 92612 http://susanspiritusgallery.com/ susan@susanspiritusgallery.com (714) 754-1286 Foto Relevance Gallery, TX 4411 Montrose Blvd C, Houston, TX 77006 https://fotorelevance.com/ info@fotorelevance.com (713) 505-1499

Image Credits
©Jane Szabo

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