Name: Janet Bell
Company: Janet Bell Gallery
Sum up your business in a sentence. Hard bloody work!!!! That was my first answer…… No, I am split in 2 halves, I am an artist, painting for my own gallery, publishers and other galleries. Then I am a gallery owner, sourcing and buying and selling the work of over 60 makers and artists.
When did you start your business? I started painting in 2001 whist managing an interiors shop in Brighton. There was a gallery next door which I took some paintings into and they sold them within 24 hrs. That continued for a year and gave me the confidence to give up working full time and concentrating on painting whilst working part time in Habitat. I also own a children’s shop with my best friend Zoe called Tinkers and Belles.
What & who inspires you? Everything….Living 30 seconds from the sea inspires me enormously. Most mornings we have coffee sitting on the beach or overlooking the water with the Snowdonia mountains as a back drop. I quite often pootle around the Island in my VW Campervan painting. Surrounded by all the work in the gallery inspires me too.
What sets you apart from others? I can’t possibly answer that. I think deep down having a background in retail and understanding the business side of it has helped with knowing how to price my work and sell it. How to deal with publishers and large companies too.
What did you do before setting up your business? I was a visual merchandiser for a large Interiors shop straight from college, then I managed a shop of 25 staff aged 23, then Brighton then Chester, and now I am well and truly settled in Anglesey.
The best part of your day/ running your own business. I love having coffee every morning with Zoe and my husband Sean between 9 and 10 catching up and making a plan for the day. As I said before, more often than not its sitting outside the local deli or the hotel on the seafront overlooking the sea and beach.
Why did you start your business? I have quite a strong work ethic and always took my jobs very very seriously. I figured that if I worked that hard for myself rather than someone else I could achieve anything.
Your favourite product & why. Ooooh so many…..Jane Ryan’s automata make me so happy. Ken Eardley ceramics and Liz Scrines lamps. Of my own work I am most happy with my Bluebell paintings I have done recently.
Your greatest business tip. Stay true to yourself, from a gallery point of view only sell things you love.
Your favourite colour. Aaaaghhhh, hardest question. Blue for painting but my home is mainly White and pale grey, influenced by my Scandinavian background.
Star sign. Aries
Your biggest weakness. Impulsiveness, not thinking things through and taking too much on.
Your biggest success. Finding my husband and having my Son.
Funniest moment. My husband and my first kiss, I’m saying no more. Lifting a tin of paint from a shelf in B&Q, the lid was off and pouring said tin of paint all over my head, funny now….not so then.
Favourite quote. “Having nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris and “Today you are you, that is truer than true. there is noone alive who is Youer than You” Dr Seuss
Favourite motto. Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”
Your favourite colour. My first thought is blue, but my home is all white and pale grey influenced by my Scandinavian background
Favourite artist. Emma Brownjohn, Yoshitomo Nara, Sasha Harding, Mary Fedden and Monet. I am influenced as much by Scandinavian designers like Bjorn Winblad and love Marimekko designers.
Favourite season. Summer, I love to be outdoors, bbq’s and picnics are my thing and Summer flowers are the best.
Star sign. Aries
Business dream. Corny but I think I am doing it.
Favourite flower. Cannot possibly say one, not in order but my top 5 are Peonies, Hydrangea, Anemone, Poppies and Ranunculus
What are you listening to right now. the new Empire of the Sun album, the new Camera obscura album, beth orton and Haim.
Your simple pleasure. Picnics and reading bedtime stories to my 2 year old son Rafferty
What’s your brew. Coffee but only before midday.
Tell us a joke. A horse walks into a bar and the barman says why the long face.
Well I must say I’m a bit excited by this interview, I am about all the fab artists that are so kind to give up their time to answer my questions and be on this blog to be honest. But I have loved Janet’s work for years, long before I even knew Facebook did business pages. I first saw her work as a card on a holiday in Cornwall and I have been smitten since. I stumbled across her gallery on a separate holiday and am now very lucky to have as a cyber friend. Her work just makes me happy. The bold colours smack me and face and scream be happy damn up and it is the best way to wake up in the morning. Thank you Janet for taking time to do this interview it is a total joy to me, and the paintings I own by you provide a constant sparkle in my home.