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Jan Owen~ Maine

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Jan Owen

Jan Owen: “I was born in New York City, grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York and loved to draw and read as a child. Now I live in Belfast on the coast of Maine with long winters to write and beautiful summers. I walk to the beach to watch the sun rise and the tide come in. My day begins with brushstrokes to music, on to lettering and then to the words. “My first books were long, hanging accordion fold books, large pieces that could be seen all at once and then folded away. I played string bass with a symphony orchestra for many years and the music always kept moving forward. I wanted my art to be still and include brush strokes and layers of words all visible at once. Amanda Degener of Cave Paper gave me a large, already bound book of her walnut paper which forced me to think about progression and it became Requiem. Now I like planning the pacing and arrangement of pages, words and images. “

Black White
By Jan Owen
Belfast, Maine: Jan Owen, 2022. Edition of 3.

10 x 19 x 4 inches open, 10 x 6 x .75 inches closed. Accordion flag book. Hand lettered with acrylic and ink on paste painted paper. Paper case. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Jan Owen: "I wanted to make a similar book but an intentional one and started making the decorated paper. In 2020, the New York Times decided to capitalize Black as they did in1930 for the designation, Negro. But Black and White is hardly a description of the many shades of skin tones so I made shades of pinks and browns, ochre, and red to make the faces.

"The words in ‘Black White’ are about racism said by writers, preachers, Congress. I don’t think there’s one way, there are many ways that we can learn to give up our prejudices.

“ My feeling is that –

Laws change actions. Stories change hearts. History records. Arts make visible. Music crosses cultures. Sport makes teams."


Black White book
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Click here for the link to Instagram


The Mind's Eye
By Jan Owen
Belfast, Maine: Jan Owen, 2022. Edition of 3.

10 x 19 x 4 inches open, 20 x 6 x .75 inches closed. Hand lettered with acrylic and ink on paste painted paper. Paper case. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Jan Owen: "During the pandemic, like many artist friends I worked with what I had and the Mistake File came out. I selected papers to cut circles and then combined to balance text, colors and patterns. These faces were filled with words, thoughts, ideas and I imagined walking on a busy sidewalk wondering what each person was thinking, what words had filled their eyes. The faces became 'The Mind’s Eye' artist book."
$500 (Last Copy)

The Mind's Eye book
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Jan Owen SOLD / Out of Print Titles:  

Hannah's Song
By Jan Owen
Belfast, Maine: Jan Owen, 2021. One-of-a-Kind.

13 x 9.5 inches closed, 13 x 19 inches open; 20 pages. Codex structure. Acrylic, sumi and walnut inks on Katie MacGregor handmade paper and colored polyester. Text from 1 Samuel with layered writing of 'Hannah's song in early Semitic, Greek, Latin and binary translations. Early music notation. Paper cover. Laid in drop spine case with ribbon closure. Signed and dated by the artist.

Jan Owen: "Hannah’s song’ in 1 Samuel was written around 550 BCE, repurposed in the Gospel of Luke around 85 CE and continues today as a theme for social justice and musical compositions.

"Hannah was barren so without status and bullied by her husband’s other wife. Bereft, Hannah went alone to the temple to speak directly to the Lord, something only priests did. She pleaded that if He would give her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord. Her prayer reminded me of when my twin daughters were infants and I too bartered with god. At 2 a.m. I would beg, 'Let this child sleep and I will never curse again,' and promised more into the night. Hannah’s prayer was answered and she gave birth to Samuel. Her song of praise is one of the earliest inserted into the narrative of a Bible story.

“'He casts down, He also lifts high. He raises the poor from the dust, Lifts up the needy from the dunghill, Setting them with nobles, Granting them seats of honor' was an inspiration for 20th century Liberation Theology in Peru. ‘The Magnificat’ was set to music in Gregorian chants, by Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and many more. ‘Hannah’s song’ has been an inspiration for centuries."

Hannah's Song book
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Page last update: 03.21.2023


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