Jan Huling was born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis. After attending the Kansas City Art Institute she started her career in greeting card design at Hallmark. She now works in New York City as a product designer, children’s book author and beadist. Neither sketched nor planned, Huling‘s three-dimensional works draw inspiration from her travels to India and Mexico, as well as imagined, playful scenes reminiscent of childhood fairy tales and fantasies. Her work is approachable yet evocative, incorporating spiritual iconography alongside humorous artifacts of contemporary popular culture. The armatures for Huling’s sculptures are an unpredictable mix of forms ranging from Kewpie and Munny dolls to birds and giant insects. In addition to seed beads, Huling’s colorful sculptures incorporate a variety of found objects, such as buttons, coins, tokens and costume jewelry. Huling’s slow and meticulous beading process, the intricacy of her swirling, hypnotic patterns, and the spontaneous manner with which Huling approaches each new project results in sculpture that is both delicate and alluring – simply put, she transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. Huling recieved a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in 2015.
About Jan Huling
A self-proclaimed “beadist”, Jan Huling coats the surfaces of found objects with brightly colored seed beads. Through surface design and elaborate patterns, she recontextualizes familiar objects, masking original forms to add whimsy and transform the mundane into something special. Inspired by a fascination with indigenous cultures, mythologies, and pop culture, Huling’s patterns echo tessellating African textiles, Southeast Asian Buddhist architectural ornamentation, and Mexican embroidery. Working with an air pen to place beads, as well as buttons, coins, tokens, and similar found objects, Huling adorns any object that catches her eye, and creates approachable, evocative objects that elevate the everyday.
American, b. 1953, Chicago, Illinois, based in New York, New York