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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Verve: Hess continuously seeking new themes, media

Janet Hess is an artist whose themes often come from Asian art and culture, sometimes including Japanese or Chinese script and birds. (Jesse Tinsley)
Janet Hess is an artist whose themes often come from Asian art and culture, sometimes including Japanese or Chinese script and birds. (Jesse Tinsley)
Jennifer Larue

Janet Hess exudes the kind of joy a child experiences in a toy store; she is curious and constantly inspired by the world around her.

“I want to do unpredictable art,” she said. “I want to evolve with my art, to be a better person as I become a better artist. I want to view the world around me in new, unknown and incredibly beautiful ways. I want to surprise even myself with interesting art that reflects those views.”

Hess’ drawings, paintings and mixed-media pieces include a goddess series, a bird series, a nude series, a three-dimensional “ambiguous” series and a Zen series. From realism to the abstract, Hess describes her art as “play” in her artist’s statement. It is “a never ending journey. It employs emotion, perception, discovery, and on good days, a bit of wit.” Her work flows with imaginative imagery.

Hess grew up in Pocatello, Idaho, where her older brother excelled in the arts and she in sports. In her early 30s, Hess visited the Spokane area and fell in love with it. She moved to the area and found work as a graphic designer. She attended Spokane Falls Community College and earned a degree in graphic design and illustration. She later worked at the school as an adjunct professor and occasionally still does.

She owned Goodworks Art Gallery for four years and is a member of Avenue West Gallery, 122 S. Monroe St. She continues to work part-time as a graphic designer.

Four years ago, she moved from the South Hill to north Spokane, where she has a beautiful garden that has an Asian feel to it. Her newest works are inspired by that feel; peace, serenity and a bit of mystery. Much of Hess’ work hints at the mysterious and contains bits of history, legends and myths. Titles of her work are also thoughtfully considered. “How things are named is somehow important to me,” she said. “I can’t help but think it’s an important part of the creative process.”

On Friday through Sunday, Hess will be participating in Yuletide at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. She will be exhibiting original paintings, prints, cards and bookmarks. She will be sharing her booth with her daughter Jennifer Phillips, who will display jewelry.

“I’ve often thought that all people are artists, it’s just that some have never found their medium,” Hess said, “That may not be true, but I do think everyone is creative in some way or another. I agree with the quote that ‘all children are artists, but some grow out of it.’ ”

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by email
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