Magic way with everyday items
ONE person's rubbish is indeed another's treasure for artist Jane Perkins, who produces distinctive pieces made entirely from everyday objects like toys, buttons and marbles.
The handicrafter, from Kenton, near Exeter, has depicted Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, the Queen, David Beckham, Nelson Mandela, Madonna, and Boris Johnson in collages made out of items from car boot sales, second-hand shops, junkyards and recycling centres.
Now Jane, 52, is showcasing her latest collection — Plastic Classics — at The Cafe, in Topsham, as part of Devon Open Studios.
Jane's body of work gives old masterpieces a contemporary twist. Using items found in every home, she has re-created Vincent Van Gogh's famous Sunflowers painting, along with Claude Monet's Water Lilies, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and a particularly unusual version of Henri Matisse's The Dance, featuring strategically placed naked Barbie and Action Man figures .
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"Reinterpreting work by previous artists is nothing new," said Jane, who is married to John, a GP, and has two children Matthew, 16 and Charlie, 11. "Centuries ago, artists learned their craft by reworking the paintings of their predecessors.
"I love art which is fun and which has an element of the unexpected."
Jane's innovative work has caused quite a stir, with exhibitions in London and New York, and pieces fetching up to £2,000 each from buyers across Europe.
After featuring in national newspapers, Jane was whisked off to appear on the Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV.
"The interest in my work was quite sudden and unexpected," Jane said. "It was very exciting being on TV. My eldest son joined me to help carry all the pictures.
"Alan Titchmarsh was really friendly and down to earth. I presented him with his own portrait as a surprise."
Jane, a former nurse, achieved a first class honours degree in Interior Textiles at the Somerset College Of Arts and Technology in 2006. "I had always enjoyed art and being creative," she said. "But my degree really re-awoke my creative side.
"On the course we did a recycling project, which I think is where the idea for my portraits stemmed from."
Jane has found a local art group to be a big support.
She said: "Devon Open Studios has been a great help. It is perfect for networking with other West Country artists, and it often puts on group exhibitions."
Jane's work is on display until Saturday at The Cafe in Topsham.