Multidisciplinary Artist Jani Duerr Lets Us Into His Creative World

What’s your sign?

I’m a double fire. Aries Sun and Sagittarius Moon. 

You have a background in film, music and art. Where did your art journey begin?

I have been making things since I was very little. I used to fill journals with short stories and would doodle on everything. I would make art films with the family VHS camcorder in our house when I was 10 years old. I started drawing a lot when I was 16, but by then I was going to a technical high school for Film and that was my primary focus. 

Who are some of your biggest influences in the film world? 

I was mostly inspired by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) when I was a teenager, and of course Tim Burton (mostly Big Fish), David Lynch’s movies, Zach Braff’s early indie films. Indie films were big during the 2010s.

What are some of your biggest music influences?

I have a lot of music influences… and they are all over the place. I really have the closest connection to Bjork. I always wanted to express myself in an authentic way, and Bjork is probably one of the most authentic performers/songwriters Ive ever seen. I was able to see her in 2012 which was one of my life goals. I like how she blends all aspects of her life into one creative universe that is uniquely hers. I’m also inspired by traditional songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, etc. Recently my favorite singer is Jahnavi Harrison, who sings Hindu spiritual music. 

Who are your favorite artists?

My favorite artists are mostly from the post-impressionist/divisionist period of the late 1800s/early 1900s. This era has my favorite three artists: Andre Derain, Edvard Munch, & Olidin Redon. My favorite historical painter is Delacroix. My favorite modern artist is Kusama.

Digital or film?

I personally like the look of film more, but I think the medium of video is more expressive and has more potential creatively in my opinion. 

Acoustic or synth?

That one is really hard lol, probably synth lately. 

Acrylics or oil?

Oil all the way. Acrylic is great though and I usually use acrylic as a base coat before starting in oil after.

What has been the most challenging project you’ve taken on in your career? 

Even though film is one of my favorite art forms, it’s also the most involved and takes a lot out of you. My second film that I produced was filmed in five days, and each day was 14 hours long and required a team of 10 people that I also had to manage while directing the actors. Producing is one of my favorite things to do. I learned that I don’t have the stomach for the film industry. For me, I always felt like I had to put in a lot of work to move forward slowly. Its also one of the most collaborative art forms and you have to rely on a lot of people (who are probably underpaid). 

What project do you think was most successful (in any art form)? 

Painting, commissions and selling prints are already the most successful thing I’ve done creatively. It’s also the thing I enjoy the most. I’m not sure if it’s a single project. It’s more like an ongoing endeavor.

Tell us about your go-to food joint.

I’m probably one of the luckiest people because my boyfriend has made food for me for the past ten years, so I never really go out to eat. But my favorite food is probably Korean or Indian. 

Would you rather live in a beautiful house with a bad view, or an ugly house with a great view?

I’d rather live in a nice house with a bad view. I always think of houses like spaceships. Since I spend so much time working from home, it doesn’t really matter to me what the surroundings are.


Tell us about your pets.

My cat is my daughter. I only have one, she’s an only child.

Would you ever live in a commune?

If it were up to me, I would be living in a commune now. Hopefully, people start living in communes in the future. I’m not sure what the point of living in a house is. It’s just more debt.

How important are titles to your works?

Titles are very important to me because they not only describe what the painting is about, but also how I feel about what I’m painting. I have a painting called “Morning Empire” which is of cars driving on Rt. 95. But I called it that because it was painted after spending an entire night in the hospital last summer I wanted to express how thankful I was to see the sunrise.

What do you do to get in the mood to create?

I’m always in the mood to create, but sometimes when I need inspiration, I go on a walk in the woods or the city. There’s always so much happening to be inspired by. I also find physics to be really inspiring. Einstein was actually who inspired me to start painting two years ago. I wanted to show how the theory of relativity might work in paint. Light bends around the curves of space-time, so an artist can also bend light (the image) on a canvas because the artist has the ability to manipulate reality in a thought provoking way. A lot of my early paintings when I started a few years ago were very inspired by relativity – so that’s why many of them look almost psychedelic. 

What are some upcoming projects you have in the works for 2021?

I have several. The primary goal is to have a themed art show somewhere in Wilmington or Philadelphia this year, Covid permitting. I have never had a serious public art show before and I think it would be a great event. I’m also slowly but surely working on a solo digital album and a collaboration album that should be done sometime in 2021.