Saturday, September 19, 2009

Janice's first international one person show in Oaxaca, Mexico

In March of this year, Janice and I were in the middle of a series of tests on her liver that would ultimately lead to her cancer being diagnosed in early April. In the middle of all that, Janice had been contacted by the MUFI Museum in Oaxaca about doing a one person show of her "Stamp People". For those of you not familiar with this aspect of Janice's art, this was something she had started doing rather informally in her journals several years ago. She would take vintage postage stamps, usually of a person, and then draw the rest of their body and perhaps an environment, using the stamp for their head. People started to see them, and they became wildly popular. Janice created quite a few of them over the years for various U.S. gallery shows, as it was a way for her to create affordable Lowry art. They sold out every time she exhibited them. Somerset Studios Magazine asked Janice to write an article about them, and the article caught the eye of Gallery director Eduardo Mendoza and his right hand man Edu Cabral when the two of them were traveling in the US looking for artists to exhibit.

The MUFI was founded with the idea of celebrating the art of the postage stamp. While the gallery showcases a wide variety of art beyond just postal works, they are always on the lookout for anyone using stamps in a modern context, so they actively sought out Janice and asked her to do a show for them.

Janice didn't really know what to expect, but we figured it was a great excuse to visit Oaxaca together, which is a town Janice dearly loves and one we had not been to together before, so she agreed to do the show.

It turned out to be quite a triumph for her. They treated her like royalty, picking us up at the airport in a private car, wining and dining us, taking us out sightseeing, and then hosting a wonderful opening reception. They did posters, postcards and magazine ads promoting the show, and arranged for her to give a lecture with a translator provided. They also covered all the costs of shipping the art, as well as framing all 30 pieces. Janice really was made to feel like what she was-a visiting, internationally recognized artist.

Janice, being the charmer she is, made friends with all the guests in the boutique hotel we stayed at (Casa Oaxaca, HIGHLY recommended!) and invited them all to the opening. They came, as did the owners of the hotel, and Janice sold quite a few of the works at the opening. As a final coda to our stay, MUFI agreed to buy the entire remainder of the show for their permanent collection, making Janice's first international show a complete sell out.

Janice had nearly canceled going to Oaxaca in order to get her liver biopsy scheduled sooner, and I convinced her that the liver biopsy could wait a week for her to do the show. Given what was soon to come, I am so, so glad we made that decision.

Here are some photos of some of the works, as well as the show opening.

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