It’s a Small World!
Talking to the cashier on my weekly shopping foray to Trader Joe’s a couple of years ago, it emerged that her name was Janet Fekete. Since that first conversation, I would always get on Janet’s line when she was on duty.
I learned in time that her grandfather had emigrated from Budapest to the United States at the start of the last century. He came from a family of large animal vets, and settled in Norfolk, VA, where he had a car radiator repair shop. Janet moved to New York about 20 years ago.
Recently, she informed me that she was very excited, because two of her sculptures were being exhibited at the Hammond Museum garden in North Salem, NY. I did not even know that she was a sculptor, so I asked for details. Yes, she created non-representational art, and had even received a grant for her work. Her pieces would be on exhibit until early October.
One gorgeous August afternoon, Éva Wajda of our Editorial Board and I drove to the museum. Located in very rural surroundings, the museum has a large Japanese style garden where Janet’s pieces were on view.
One of them, A Conversation with Nature, is a smaller version of a piece that has been permanently installed at Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY. When asked about it, Janet replied: ”The u-shape to me is found throughout Nature: the shape of a petal, outline of a cloud, etc.
"My large-scale piece has the u-shapes representing the four elements in Nature: Earth, water, air and fire.”
Her other piece exhibited here was titled ”Ubacus”, a twist on the word ”abacus”, which the work resembles. We once again find the u-shapes here, instead of the plain counters.
Janet explained that she grew up around the Norfolk Navy base, and was greatly influenced by the large ships, dry dock and railroad activity that provided her with creative inspiration. Her husband, a Vietnam veteran, encouraged her artistic endeavors. He was a drug and alcohol counselor, and his work brought them to Brewster, NY. He passed away ten years ago and to keep busy, she joined the Art Students’ League. Her sculpting career took off. Since then, she has had numerous exhibits of her work, including one at the Absolut Spirits Museum in Finland in 2012.
Four years ago, Trader Joe’s was looking for an artist to make signs, and Janet was hired. She has stayed on as a cashier. In her private life, she is now working on pastel drawings, and experimenting with magnetite, magnets and steel which does not require welding, and for which she received another grant from the Art Students’ League of New York. She will apply for additional grants, hoping to study in Paris.
It’s not only a small world, but also a surprising one!
We wish Janet Fekete continued success in her artistic career! Her website is www.janetfeketebolton.com