“It is the darker elements of fairy tales that inspire my work, alongside topical news items and other sources of literature. I love storytelling.” Explains London-based artist Janet Brown of her fantastical, bizarre and sometimes creepishly, monstrous scenes depicted in her acrylic paintings — currently on display at The Fuse is Lit‘, a multidisciplinary exhibition presented by Black Rat Projects in London.
Brown’s paintings showcase the sort of visuals that evoke chills, but in a frighteningly good way. “My father gave me a book of Grimm's fairy tales around the age of 10 years old. Within this book, the story of "Bluebeard" horrified me! And has remained imprinted upon my memory ever since. The beauty of fairy tales for me is that they are still as relevant today as when they were first conceived. Many of the stories highlight fear or mistrust of strangers/outsiders or reveal the desire to be something other than ourselves, usually with tragic consequences such as the story of 'The Little Mermaid'. One of my paintings "The Strange Musician" Is my reinterpretation of the Grimm's tale of the same title.”
Brown’s astonishing ability to pluck raw emotions from fairy tales and translate them into scenic art is what earned her a spot alongside urban artists such as Swoon, Banksy, Candice Tripp, Butch Anthony, Giles Walker, Josh Cole and Connor Brothers - all regulars on Black Rat’s roster.
Diving deeper, the artist plays with notions of societal hierarchy. “I am interested in the roles we play, and the acts of dominance we display towards others and upon the external environment.” As a response to her curiosity, people and animals are shown caught in discordant landscapes, highlighting human folly and implying rebellion or illicit activity. Here, visual stories explore notions of morality, community, magic and myth.