Jane Caminos

Born 1947, Brooklyn, NY
Brought up in Pompton Lakes, NJ
Graduated BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, 1969
Collected internationally

The artist speaks with a sable’s tongue,
In cadmium shouts, alizarin murmurs, sienna whispers,
Tears expressed by ultramarine, melancholy by Payne,
Joy is gathered in a bouquet of yellows, of orange, and reds.
The palette is an album spread with memories,
A promise of capture yet to come.
Her story is an emotion brushed on linen.

From the first scribbled walls, I’ve always wanted to be an artist, a character wearing black with a beret on my head, paint smeared, unusual in personality, working through the night on a masterpiece. Life didn’t quite come together as smoothly as I’d wanted, but whose does? At 68, I find myself a disabled cancer survivor, holding my brush in a hand curled by neuro damage, but determined to get back on the horse, my easel, and to produce the narrative portraits of women upon which I built my reputation, first in Boston, then in Tribeca, and now in Central New Jersey.

After trying on ill fitting corporate careers, mostly in publishing, I ran my own Illustration and design business for a number of years, and this allowed painting time once the clients were satisfied. Exhibiting came late in life, and I’ll admit to you that my first show frightened me so badly I didn’t attend, but instead sat in my car across the street, peering through the gallery window, stretching to see if those who did come were smiling or having intense conversations about my work. Since that exercise in cowardice, I’ve grown braver, and now exhibit on a regular schedule. My work has been collected internationally; my women are enjoying life in Columbia, Venezuela, Argentina, France, England, and Italy, with a loyal collector base living in New England, New Jersey and others of our states.

My father, filled to the brim with the genes of the Irish, was a storyteller, and he passed the spirit of the raconteur to me, his only child. My paintings will tell you the stories about the women you meet in my art; sometimes they’re humorous or nostalgic, and more recently, they are women who are the victims of abuse, from all cultures, around the world. After watching news about the young Delhi woman, Jyoti Singh, who was raped by five men and died two weeks later, a tight fisted rage overwhelmed me, seemingly out of nowhere, and I knew I’d discovered my life’s true work., which I call “On Women Bound”. Research has brought forth statistics that seem unbelievable in this 21st century, yet each fact as a suffering woman or little girl to back it up. Here we tend to ignore such truth, it’s easier to turn the channel, yet the very same horrors of abuse that victimize “those other women” happen right here, perhaps in your town.

So I paint the stories for you to look at, maybe talk about. I believe that those of us who are artists have a responsibility to change the world for the better when we can. Sometimes it’s easier to communicate visually than it is verbally, and that’s how I spend my studio time now. I’m not going after glamorous art openings or prizes for my technique and content, but I’ve got to say I’m thrilled to have been awarded Manhattan Arts’ coveted “Featured Painter” award by its founder, Renee Phillips, and I hope this honor will serve to open more doors for me as a storytelling, activist painter of women so my message will spread. To have helped one hurting woman go from being a victim to becoming victorious will mean the work to which I’ve dedicated my artistic focus is worth the emotional difficulty.

And yeah, I still paint humorous nostalgia or commissioned portraits in between working to complete On Women Bound. I don’t believe that series will ever be completed as long as gender violence exists in our world.