Recognition for Janet Amiri's work, The Mystic Queen

The Tempe Artists Guild (TAG) is a vibrant community of artists who enjoy improving their skills, meeting fellow artists, and sharing their enthusiasm for art.  TAG artists regularly win awards and recognition for their art.  We want to share some of those moments with you.

The following interview features a TAG artist who recently won recognition for an artistic accomplishment.  Our first interviewee in this series is Janet Amiri who was recognized for her bronze portrait, Mystic Queen by the Arizona Artists Guild. Her sculpture, selected through a juried process, is on display now at the 12th Annual Statewide Exhibition.  You can see Mystic Queen at the Mood Room, at Park Central, 3121 North 3rd Ave., Unit 100.  It’s a big space with a lot of beautiful art on display and plenty of parking. The exhibit is showing from July 20 – August 11. The Mood Room is open Wednesday- Friday, 11 AM – 4 PM as well as during First Friday (Aug 4, 4 – 7 PM) and at the closing reception (Friday, Aug. 10, 4 – 7 PM).  You can also visit Janet’s work at her page on the Tempe Artists Guild website at:

Please tell us a bit more about this accomplishment- what inspired you? How did you choose the format and materials? 

I created MYSTIC QUEEN at a weekend workshop for art enrichment educators, where I was asked to be one of the guest instructors. The sculpture was inspired by a serious amount of yoga/meditation I’d been practicing at the time, to become a Hatha yoga instructor. Needing to complete 2 full days with sculpting, I designed the workshop to include those elements. The retreat center was in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean, perfect for an early morning outdoor yoga vinyasa flow and meditation practice! The meditation mantra offered to the participants was: If you could look inside your soul and clearly see your “true self” – not just the physical body, what would that version of you look like? The work produced in that weekend was remarkable, with no two sculptures looking alike.  I created my sculpture first in clay, then created a mold and employed the “lost wax process” to produce a final copy in bronze.

More broadly, what draws you to making art?

Art making is something I have always done for as long as I can remember. My grandmother gave me art materials every Christmas, and when I was fourteen, she enrolled me in a series of Saturday classes at The Minneapolis Art Institute. One of the group projects was to paint a large plywood panel of images representing our home state, which was then shipped to Washington DC, to be part of a temporary fence enclosing the “under construction” Kennedy Center for the Arts. I painted the state bird – the Loon – and that solidified my future dreams of being a professional artist.

At some point in each day, I find myself lured into my studio. Whether it’s sculpting, painting, sketching or calligraphy – or it’s my favorite day, once a week, making art with my grandchildren – being in my studio is a daily habit.

Do you have any favorite media?  

My favorite media is, you guessed it, working in clay, and producing either a ceramic or bronze finished piece. My love for sculpting resulted from a college degree in studio art/art history at a mid-western private college with a small foundry and stone quarry attached to its art building. I further studied the Masters on location in Florence, Italy.

About 30 years ago I took a calligraphy class at a local community college – and got hooked. Once you learn the basics, it’s easy to teach yourself other letterforms. I practiced and soon began to teach adult classes in the Roman Uncial hand and Illumination.  Currently I am working on illustrating a children’s book my daughter has written, and I’m having a blast!

Are there themes you like to explore?

Themes I like to explore vary from classic realism to expressionism to modern abstract, usually representing the portrait or human form, in 3D or relief. I also love sculpting dogs, birds, and cats in less traditional ways, experimenting with form, surface texture and color.

How do you hope that a viewer will respond to your work?

One of my favorite quotes is by Amedeo Modigliani –“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal, but rather the subconscious; the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.” To me, that means seeking the underlying emotional, spontaneous, impartial yet true, free flowing, intuitive human response – and that is how I hope the viewer will respond to my work.

The Tempe Artists Guild is a 501c(3) organization based in Tempe, Arizona.  Please visit our web page at:  If you are an artist, please consider becoming a member.  You do not need to be a Tempe, Arizona resident.  Most of our meetings are on Zoom and we welcome participants from anywhere.  Membership benefits include a personal web page, monthly speakers’ meetings, workshops, opportunities to exhibit your work, and participation in a virtual (online) gallery.