First Lives – Artist Janis Sanders Growing Up

All of our artists have fascinating stories of growing up and what eventually leads them to the path they are on now. Artist Janis Sanders is no different. As a child growing up in Syracuse, he found pleasure and inspiration in every part of his world. Diversity makes a creative man, and for this artist, it certainly holds true.

A list of shared stories from Sanders…

As a boy, I built model cars and hotrods, detailed to the nth with paint and decals. Was it an art? Absolutely.

I played touch and tackle football with no pads but with a helmet. All the neighborhood kids joined in, sometimes including a brave one from the fairer sex. We played through all four seasons, including upstate New York blizzards. This build character if nothing else.

Once, with scrap wood slats and hand tools, I singlehandedly built a small boat that had a float time measured in seconds. Impressive, I know. Not the career path I chose, but certainly helped build a love of the craft. 

As a child, I had a friend, who now is a big TooDoo with NASA and a published author on aeronautics. Together we invested our hard-earned allowances in buying 8mm film and set up and shoot slow-motion reels of assorted scenes set up in the lawn in the backyard. The Artist and the Astronaut. We certainly needed nourishment after all that hard work. So, we’d hop on the bike and with a couple of other buds ride off to the local Carvel for a chocolate milkshake to keep the energy going. We did this twice daily for a summer or two. It was a great workout in the hills of Syracuse, and a great chance to take in the steamy bright summer days in the upstate. Did it fuel my artist heart? Undoubtedly.

Along the way, I’ve had stints with men’s a cappella, light opera, musical theater, and rock opera as a singer as well as a dancer. Yes, definitely fueled my artistic side.

For respite, however, even as a child, I would just lay back in the lush lawn and gaze up at the forms in the billowy clouds, pure white cotton set against endless blue summer sky. The sky’s the limit! In your imagination, in absorbing nature in its full summer bounty! 

Did I immerse myself in daily life? Did I live creatively? Yes. I still observe my lavish surroundings, and through osmosis, processing is set. To this day, my reverence for a place called home has not changed one iota. It may have even become stronger.

Take care of home. I have intended to express and implicitly convey the beauty of this cherished, precious, delicate place where I grew up, in the process, gently remind people to treat Her well and concomitantly treat ourselves well. You get what you give.

To see the end result of this driven and creative man visit Maine Art Hill anytime, but especially in the next few weeks for his summer show. From August 8 to September 3.  This show also features works from Ingunn Milla Joergensen and Jill Matthews.


Virtual  2020 Summer Show

Janis Sanders Complete Collection of Available Works

Janis Sanders -Stories and Insights