With a deep passion for the arts and a unique talent for entrepreneurship, Janet Sirmon founded Janet Sirmon Fine Art more than 20 years ago as a vehicle through which her vast skill set could be most optimally applied. In the more two decades since she became owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art, the fine art photography dealer has enjoyed immense success while specializing in 19th and 20th century photography as well as American Social Documentary photography.
Based out of Los Angeles, California, Ms. Sirmon has earned a reputation among peers and clients as one of the most knowledgeable and hard-working professionals in the industry. Ms. Sirmon’s vast understanding of photography’s long history is quite comprehensive, covering the full range of the medium and including everything from daguerreotypes to C-prints and beyond. Due to this vast base of knowledge, Ms. Sirmon is considered one of the foremost experts on a number of subjects, including Czech photography, especially the work produced from the 1920s through the 1940s.
Ms. Sirmon’s academic career accurately foreshadowed her professional future as the owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art: After securing a degree in economics from James Madison University, Ms. Sirmon went on to study photography and sculpture at the Pratt Institute, where she earned her MFA. She worked her way up in the New York City gallery world eventually going out on her own in 2005. Sensing the new exciting energy happening in the Los Angeles art scene and wanting to be a part of it, Janet Sirmon Fine Art relocated to L.A. in 2010.
Do you know what steez is? If so, how do you express your steez?
No, but I am sure that, as is the case with so many other things, art serves as an ideal vehicle for the expression of one’s “steez.”
When you were younger what was your dream occupation?
Thanks to unfettered access to a Polaroid camera as well as a seemingly unlimited supply of clay available throughout the entirety of my childhood, I cannot recall wanting to pursue any career unless it involved sculpture or photography in some way.
Who/What inspired you to get into your current field?
It was clear very early on that I had a natural talent in the arts, so I had strong support from my parents and instructors right from the beginning.
What is one current trend that excites you?
Contemporary photographer’s using 19th Century processes.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?
Everything I have achieved through Janet Sirmon Fine Art brings me a sense of pride, and it has been quite gratifying to see how my business has grown over the past 20 years or so.
What do you think of social media? Has it made an impact on your professional career?
Social media has had a decidedly positive impact on my professional career. It is an incredible resource and has made it so simple to communicate with experts from all over the world.
If you were ever to start again, would you do anything differently?
I adopted a very risk-averse mindset when I first entered the profession, so placing greater trust in my instincts is the only thing I would do differently.
What do you see for the future?
It is never easy to predict what will occur in the future, but I look forward to seeing what a new generation of artists will be able to accomplish with all of the tools that are so widely available.
What’s one piece of advice you can tell our readers?
There is a portrait of Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, at the National Portrait Gallery, which bears a motto that has served me well over the years: “Inveniam Viam Aut Faciam.” Translated to English from the original Latin, it reads as, “I shall either find a way or make one.”