Jana Schirmer

The Ber­lin-based artist has re­cently turned to por­trait art, in an ef­fort to find her true style

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Af­ter fac­ing prob­lems at school and drop­ping out at 15, Jana Schirmer de­voted all her time into her paint­ing. “Art felt like the only thing that was left for me,” she says.

Jana’s art is beau­ti­ful and light, semi-re­al­is­tic but with over­tones of manga. “I used to draw and paint manga dur­ing my teenage years, and it’s very hard to get rid of these ‘trained mis­takes’ that comes with a spe­cific style,” she says.

Style and a place in the in­dus­try are sub­jects that leave Jana con­founded. Most of her clients are based in fan­tasy art, but it’s not a style she truly en­joys. “I don’t care about the fan­tasy genre, un­less it’s dark fan­tasy. But what art you do and what you’re in­ter­ested in aren’t al­ways on the same page any­way.”

That said, Jana loves the feel­ing of be­ing part of a wider com­mu­nity of artists and art lovers. “It’s great to meet the peo­ple be­hind beau­ti­ful art­work. For in­stance, the last time I went to a work­shop I met an artist friend for the first time, af­ter know­ing her online for more than 10 years. It’s amaz­ing how the com­mu­nity can con­nect peo­ple.”

Out­side of her com­mis­sioned work, Jana has be­gun ex­plor­ing por­trait paint­ing, “I love por­traits that are made up with a bunch of loose brush­strokes,” she says, adding that many por­traits of­ten feel too tightly painted. “It’s lib­er­at­ing to just paint from blobs of colour that I throw on one sin­gle layer.” But Jana’s still learn­ing: “I’m still look­ing for my lan­guage as an artist – so far I feel more like a crafts­man.”


Artist tip


“Al­ways try to keep lay­ers or­gan­ised, be­cause then it's a lot eas­ier to make changes.”

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