Jan Jahnke

Profile | Statement | Biography

Jan Jahnke • Profile


Jan Jahnke

Jan Jahnke is both spontaneous and calculated in her approach.  Dense, tangled grasses create a visual barrier preventing easy, passive immersion in the scene.  Nest-like twigs and grasses occupy a generous portion of her landscapes, causing the eye to linger as they seemingly   transform into a peaceful, subtle arrangement of texture and colors. 

Jahnke concentrates on color, texture, line and shape as she applies multiple layers of both transparent and opaque ink, editing and reapplying until she reflects the natural world with a rich surface quality, texture and spontaneity. 

Jan Jahnke earned a BFA degree in Printmaking from Milwaukee Institute of Art.  After teaching screen printing for ten years, she now works full time as an artist in her Wisconsin studio.

Jan Jahnke • Statement

My mother would tell you this all started when I was two.  The first large scale masterpiece I created involved lipstick samples I discovered early one morning in my Dad’s “Fuller Brush” suitcase.  (He ended up changing professions.)  I went on to mixed media work at age three. The underside of the kitchen table served as canvas for a peanut butter and jelly abstract.  It was cleaned off before I could sign it.

Before I knew it, I was taking every art class I could throughout grade school and high school.  After my kids were born, I began my formal studies at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, receiving a Bachelor of fine Art in Printmaking.  After graduation I found myself on the other side of the desk teaching Screen Printing at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design for 10 years.  During the summers, I traveled the art show circuit and exhibited in national competitions.  I currently work as a full time artist in an old brick feed mill in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.

My working process is a connection between myself and nature.  The finished pieces are a result of this connection.  Hiking with my Daughter in the desert of the Southwest, exploring my Son’s acreage in Northern Wisconsin, memories of living with my Grandparents on their farm are sources of ideas.  Textures of grasses, layers of drying leaves, and piles of stone, colors of sunlight, shadows, and decay, patterns of branches, tree bark, and pebbles in the sand, are all part of the natural world that inspire me.  Whether creating abstracts or more realistic renderings, I work with a combination of spontaneity and editing.  Multiple layers of ink, transparent and opaque, are applied, edited, and applied again.  Eventually the piece will reflect my love of nature with its rich surface quality, texture, and energy.

Jan Jahnke • Biography


Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, WI


Introduction to Screen Printing and Advanced Screen Printing: Bachelors of Fine Art Degree Program and Continuing Education,
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, WI                  


LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids & Douglas, MI

Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ


“Collective”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

“Perception & Intention”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

“Toast”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

"Freshly Considered", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids,

"sELECTED Works", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

"Toast", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

"Everyone in the Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

"Collective Alchemy", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

"Let's Get Started", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

"Everyone in The Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

“Lookie Here”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

“Annual Fall Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI

“Hop, Skip & A Jump”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, MI

“Total Print”, Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI

“Fresh Impressions”, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, WI

“International Juried Exhibition”, Red River Valley Museum, Vernon, TX

“Dimensions 2008”, Associated Artists, Winston-Salem, NC

"Lakefront Festival of Arts", Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI  

“Women’s Studio Workshop XXYears*A Retrospective”, Rosendale, NY

"15th Annual National Juried Show", Minot Art Gallery, Minot, ND  

"Ideas and Images", Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI  

"National Renaissance: Arts Alive in America", Bemus Point, NY

"Chautauqua International Exhibit", Museum Without Walls, Bemus Point, NY  

"Two Woman Show", Clara Kott Von-Storch Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI  

"Brush With Genius", Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, WI  

"Wisconsin Attitude", Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI  

"62nd Annual Juried Exhibition", Art Association of Harrisburg, Harrisburg, PA  

"49th National Juried Competition", Lake Worth Art League, Lake Worth, FL  

National Works on Paper, Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY  

"Watercolor Wisconsin", Wustum Art Museum, Racine, WI

"Wisconsin Update", Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI


United States Chemical Corporation, Milwaukee, WI

Quarles and Brady Law Firm, Milwaukee, WI

Medical Associates of Menomonee Falls, Menomonee Falls, WI

Prudential Home Mortgage Co., Milwaukee, WI

South Milwaukee Public Schools, South Milwaukee, WI

Art Awareness, Inc., Milwaukee, WI

Walker Point Youth Transitional Home, Milwaukee, WI

Briohn Building Corporation, BrookField, WI

JonCo Industries, Milwaukee, WI

West Bend Mutual, West Bend, WI

Marathon Engineers and Architects, Appleton, WI

Farmers and Merchants Bank, Menomonee Falls, WI

Milwaukee Access Telecommunications Authority, Milwaukee, WI

Watertown Art Association permanent Collection, Watertown, WI

Fisher, Hermans and Associates CPA’s S.C., Green Bay, WI

Laub Insurance Group, Milwaukee, WI

Hanaway, Ross, Hanaway, Weidner, Garrity and Bachhuber, S.C, Green Bay, WI

Bank of Elmwood, Racine, WI

Larson & Darby Architects, Rockford, IL

Lindner and Marsack Law Firm, Milwaukee, WI

VanDyke Architects, Green Bay, WI

Mason Chemical, Arlington Heights, IL

Kenosha Public Museum, Kenosha, WI

Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Milwaukee, WI

Michael Best and Friedrich, Milwaukee, WI