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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Janice Urnstein Weissman

United States

Janice Urnstein Weissman is an accomplished artist. Her journey through life is that of a serious fine art painter and teacher. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri after World War II, during a time when her life consisted mostly of searching for truth and beauty. Her education was directed toward the achievement of a BFA Degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA degree from the University of Cincinnati. She was selected from her undergraduate class to receive a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and the University of Cincinnati graduate program.

Janice started her artistic career as a classical painter utilizing Impressionistic techniques. She has evolved since the 1960’s into a style of Realism. For the past eleven years, she has been exploring tattoo sub-cultures for the purpose of documenting the phenomenon she refers to as “Living Canvases.” She does in-depth research into the messages that many of the full-bodied tattooed models are trying to convey with their body art. She is considered a pioneer in conveying the philosophical and mystical stories of the body on her canvas. Janice has shown her work in Los Angeles, Toronto, Israel, Milan, Paris, San Francisco Miami, Chicago, Missouri, and New York. Her work has been acquired by serious collectors and museums. Further, her art has been reviewed? by major art periodicals such as Art Week, Art in America and American Art Collector.

In addition to being a serious painter, Janice has devoted a major portion of her career to teaching at the college and high school levels. Currently her teaching has been centered on helping high school students strengthen their portfolios in order to get accepted by art schools and universities with major art programs. She has been very successful in getting her students accepted by some of the most prestigious art programs in the United States. Janice Urnstein Weissman has dedicated over 40 years of her life to perfecting her craft as well as being a beacon for future generations of young artists. She is married and resides in Los Angeles, California.

Feminist Artist Statement

Since 1996, I have been searching for the perfect tattooed female model and as a result have found some of the most enchanting tattooed women to be inspired by. The women who have modeled are professional women working in multi-faceted positions such as tattoo artist, massage therapist, and communication specialist. Within this body of work, we see a series of unique paintings that reveal beautiful and complex designs that tell personal stories. For example, Sarah, one of her models has the image of St. Teresa tattooed on her leg in tribute to her Mother whose name is Teresa. In another painting, the model Jennifer, tells us that her tattoos are a reflection of her inner power. They are a projection of where she wants to be in the future. Jennifer considers her body a well-adorned temple. As an artist in the feminist world, I am more aware that the art of tattooing a woman’s body has become a personal statement to her body adornment. Much like wearing jewelry or designer clothes, tattooing has become a personal message about a woman’s identity.

Historically, tattooing was socially acceptable for men, although some experienced negative reactions. Men with tattoos have certainly received greater social acceptance more so than women have. However, in today’s society, women have made a strong female statement by creating heavily designed tattoos on their bodies. I have been fascinated to watch the story unfold on the skin of my female models. It is important to note that the images displayed in their tattoos could have a peculiar impetus such as a secular or religious motivation. I am the re-teller of their stories. The pain and the exhilaration of their statement compound the freedom of expression that my female models endure. This process has led me down many paths of exploration and thought on the significance of why these women decorate themselves with beautiful designs and stories that unfold their life as an illustrated woman.

“As curator for the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs, I have had the opportunity to exhibit Janice Urnstein Weissman’s tattooed figures in the exhibition “Inspired Vessel”. Her work explores the unique approaches to figure painting, and expresses the explosive tattooed Cultural movement in our contemporary society.”

-Scott Canty

<p>The Three Graces</p>

The Three Graces

Three women with tattoos

The Three Graces

Three women with tattoos

Tattoo 1X

two figures with tattoos

Royal Kimono

Figure with tattoos and Kimono

Tattoo V11

Two figures with tattoos

Tattoo V111

Two figures with tattoos

Tattoo X1

Male and female figures with tattoos


Figure with water and clouds


5306 Valleyview Rd
United States



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