Jan Mapes Art Talk January 2000

Artists Worth Watching: Jan Mapes

Published online courtesy Art Talk, January 2000

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SUGAR CITY, COLO. – This sculptor ranches on 15,000 acres in western Colorado, and her loosely textured art shows it. Jan Mapes and her husband raise and train cutting horses, and the sound of cattle is never too far off. Her subjects range from mounted cowboys to chickens to cattle to a pack of dogs chasing a flat-out jackrabbit. 

Jan Mapes, Cottontail Resort, Bronze Edition of 15, Set of Three

Jan Mapes, Cottontail Resort, Bronze Edition of 15, Set of Three 

Jan’s style is loose because that helps her create what she’s most interested in – movement. “I use a lot of texture, and I consciously try to put a lot of motion into the clay as I’m putting it on. My goal is always to try and create movement along with the expression of the moment.” 

Jan Mapes, Keepin' the Distance, Oil on Canvas, 11" x 14"

Jan Mapes, Keepin' the Distance, Oil on Canvas, 11" x 14" 

She doesn’t want to be known for one subject only, and is working on large commissions now that include fountains and groups of figures. Mapes only did a piece or tow of sculpture a year for many years. Her ranching life kept her too busy for anything else. Then not too long ago she decided she would put what she calls “a valiant effort” into her art. Gallery representation, sales and increasingly, commissions, have come along nicely since then. “The market has been good for me so far. I feel lucky. It’s scary to go full time. At first I felt like I was sticking my neck way out there building inventory, but so far it’s been worth it.” 

Jan Mapes, Escalarta, Bronze Edition of 21, 11.5" x 11.5" x 5"

Jan Mapes, Escalarta, Bronze Edition of 21, 11.5" x 11.5" x 5" 

At the time of this interview Jan was packing up for a three-week trip to Texas for a cutting horse show. While there she said her art would be on a display table in a booth right in the middle of the action. That’s where this artist seems to like it best – close to the people, the animals and the life she knows best and sculpts with spirit.