Sweet Sweet Jane
Everybody has a past, and if they don’t then they’re not a very interesting person. Jane Richardson Mack must have a diverse resumé filled with exotic past lives of intrigue, because there is nothing plain about this Jane or her work.
I can only speculate the roles this gifted San Francisco Bay Area artist must have played spanning time in distant existences and other worlds. She’s Michelangelo, Cleopatra, Vivian Leigh, Mary Shelley and Elvis all rolled into one.
Like Mary Shelley, the writer responsible for bringing us the Gothic novel Frankenstein in 1818, Jane breathes life into inanimate ingredients and makes something lasting.
Packed with layers of cross-cultural connotations and both natural and historical influences, her art astounds. Check out this mural on an elevator panel, above, from the 2009 San Francisco Decorator Showcase.
The sheer beauty of the pieces leaves me speechless, and believe me, that is not an easy feat. It’s no wonder the one and only, music prodigy Carlos Santana collects her art and is one of Jane’s fans, because she is so Smooth.
Chasing the Dragon
Jane was invited by Gumps’s vice president Jon Leafstedt to create art pieces for their Year of the Dragon installment. Here she is, pictured below with one of her babies. “Giving birth to dragons is a prickly painful experience. I’ve had eight of them,” she said.
Mere photos cannot capture Jane’s dragons. They are awe-inspiring.
Legendary, and Mythical
Of the 12 creatures in the Chinese zodiac, only the dragon is mythical. It’s also the only one that’s legendary. The rest of the characters are real animals–the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The dragon however, is unique and everlasting. How appropriate then, that Leafstedt would commission Jane for this job in particular.
Jane’s talent for role-playing has proven valuable in the process of creating dragons. As any worthwhile actor knows, you must understand the character you’re portraying and let it become a part of who you are. It’s the Stanislavski technique and without it the character you’re pretending to be is just make-believe–hollow and meaningless and devoid of true depth. It’s a shell of a person, a mere shadow of the character itself. Unfulfilled.
The pieces Jane has created reveal an understanding for the majestic beast. “When I close my eyes at night I am a dragon,” Jane told me. “I know what it’s like to see through the eyes of a dragon. You are a servant to the dragon. They like to play tricks on you,” she said.
Smoke & Mirrors
Each piece for Gump’s is Verre Églomisé–that’s French for ‘glass gilded’–it’s a pre-Roman art technique where a design is engraved into leafing on the reverse of glass for a mirror-like reflection.
Named after the 18th-century French decorator Jean-Baptiste Glomy who repopularized the method, it is used in doors and panels as well as freestanding art. Cleaning is like magic since the design is safely on the backside of the glass.
Above, Jane stands with one of her twins. She created a pair of fraternal dragons, one male and one female, $4,000 each, in this stunning jet display of Verre Églomisé.
There were many, many beautiful women of all ages at the Gump’s Year of the Dragon event, but it was sweet sweet Jane who stole the scene with an effortless sex appeal and casual confident kind of glamour that was authentic and uncontrived and infinitely more appealing.
Here is Jane with her boyfriend, above, an adorable guy who showed up to the fancy affair impeccably dressed from head to toe, wearing wing-tip Vans.
For a truly one-of-a-kind gift, Jane’s pieces are available at Gump’s San Francisco, priced from $1,600 to $5,100. Or you can do what the rich and famous do, and commission Jane to paint a mural in your home.
If you can’t cough up quite that much cash, Jane’s work is now on display at Gump’s San Francisco and makes a great date for you and your significant others.