Janine Breck's initial entry into the art world was fairly common: fingerpainting at age two. Then in elementary and high school she gravitated towards the projects where students got to make things and paint stuff and decorate.
But after that she didn't get heavily into art again until 2014, when her receptionist signed her up to take part in a live painting competition called Art Battle.
"I picked up a paintbrush again after a long time and I fell deeply back in love," recalls Breck on the phone from her Kitsilano home. "And I kinda didn't stop from there."
Nowadays she's got a studio at Eastside Atelier, from which she'll be showing her work at the Eastside Culture Crawl this weekend (November 19 to 21). She has no trouble getting motivated to create.
"It's probably my own personal therapy, to be honest," she says. "I've always used it as an outlet of expression, of energy, of just fun. I never really had an intention with it, it's just whatever made me feel good. I never really married a style, either. I'm doing a certain style right now, but I'm very open to changing with how I feel. I've always kind of put myself first with art—it has to feel right and, yeah, it keeps me sane."
Nowadays Breck specializes in alcohol inks and resin, and describes her style in two words: very fluid.
"I think, especially through this COVID stuff, I was very drawn to art that just makes you feel calm and is just loose. So I gravitated a lot towards fluid painting in general, where it's beautiful and it's peaceful to look at. It's very therapeutic to create."
The 35-year-old's favourite artists these days include James Nares, a British transgender woman artist living and working in New York City.
"The main thing that she's known for are these big, beautiful, fluid brush strokes," raves Breck, "and I could just stare at them for ages."
The painter also finds much joy and inspiration in the work of her fellow Vancouver creators.
"Jessica Craig, who's my studio mate, is constantly inspiring me. I think she's got an incredible work ethic. And another artist I really love is Tiffany Blaise. She's in a studio not far from ours, and she does some really cool watercolour and ink undertones. And then William Higginson—who was the first artist that encouraged me after my live painting—I just love for his talent and mentorship. And for just being a great human."