This bonus material first appeared in F-BOM Special Edition July/August 2019.

Grand City’s Jane Maxwell goes from fine art to line art with newest career change

By Stacey Hutchinson | Grand City Times Correspondent

Art dealer and Grand City’s first daughter Jane Maxwell has long been known for her excellent taste and razor-sharp political spin, but now she’s turning her sights toward something new, and it’s surprising everyone: comic books. Jane has been a name in the art industry for years; however, there’s been no indication that publishing was anywhere in her future — until now. Her company, Dream Sequence Comics, has just acquired their first piece of intellectual property, and they hope to be printing issues within the year. I sat down with Jane at her family home in Charlotte’s Landing to find out exactly what this rising star has in store for us.

Q. Before you were an art dealer, you won several awards for painting back in high school, and about a year ago you briefly returned to the canvas. What role has art played in your life?

A. I’d have to say I’ve always been an artist first. It’s true there was … a time when I wasn’t as active about pursuing that as I should have been. I think, in another life, I’d have probably been an artist full-time. But it’s always been there, especially in my times of need. I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to what matters most.

Q. Do you think being an artist yourself has shaped the way you buy and sell the work of others?

A. I would assume it did. You can’t be an artist and not have it impact the way you view the world, and other people’s art in particular. For one thing, there’re just details that you notice when you know how things work “behind the curtain.” I’d hope this has made my buying decisions stronger, and that I’ve used that knowledge to spot talent that may otherwise have gone ignored.

Q. You studied art history at Sutton University, and have worked in fine arts ever since. Why the interest in comics?

A. I like their accessibility. A lot of people won’t take the time to visit a museum, but they will pick up an issue of a comic if it catches their eye. And, you know, comics are a very underestimated art form. A lot of people think they’re purely entertainment, and some of them are and there’s nothing wrong with that, but they really do have the power to impact people, and teach us about ourselves, and, you know, change hearts and minds.

Q. Speaking of changing hearts and minds, there’s been a lot of debate recently about the role of superheroes in our city. Is it your intention to promote a pro-superhero stance with your company?

A. First of all, there’s a lot more to comics than just superheroes, and although there will be plenty of those kind of adventure stories coming out of our doors, the selection is going to be greater than just that. Already, we have series lined up that run the range of fantasy to science fiction to mystery to romance to memoir. Our goal is to publish a wide and inclusive range of voices.

That being said, I do support superheroes. I think it’s ridiculous that anyone can take a look at all they’ve done for this city alone, and question their value. So if anyone wants to look at our company’s offerings and view it as a “pro-superhero stance,” they’re welcome to do so.

Q. Is that wise? With your father as the mayor?

A. My father’s politics are his business.

Q. You’ve recently come out as a lesbian. How does your identity within the LGBT community impact your artistic vision, going forward?

A. I don’t know that it’s impacting my artistic vision any differently now than it always has. I may have only recently gone public about my sexuality, but it’s been a part of me my whole life.

I think one of the most important things it’s given me, though, is a desire to make sure that all people can see themselves in the world around us. That’s what’s so important about visible individuals such as myself going public, and coming out to the world, and labeling themselves however they’re comfortable identifying. So that maybe other people can see someone like me succeeding, and, you know, maybe they’re not in a place where they can do the same, but they can at least know that their dreams are possible. That love, and happiness, and fulfillment are possible.

Q. Lastly, what are your biggest hopes for this new venture?

A. Right now I’m just focusing on getting our doors open and our vision out there. I’m committed to providing a means for new and undervalued artists to get their work seen, and so far I’m really excited by the talent that’s approached us. After that … well, we’ll see, won’t we? Nothing is off the table. If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that even your wildest, most impossible dreams can sometimes come true.