As the owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art, Janet Sirmon has become a prominent figure in the fine arts industry known for her specific expertise in 19th and 20th century photography, especially American Social Documentary photography and Czech photography of the 1920s through the 1940s. It was Janet’s lifelong devotion to the fine arts that served as the initial inspiration to found Janet Sirmon Fine Art more than 20 years ago, and the success she has enjoyed during the time since is a clear product of her passionate dedication to a beloved medium such as photography.
A longtime student of the arts — with a particular focus on photography and sculpture — Janet actually pursued a degree in economics during her undergraduate years, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the subject from James Madison University. Even though economics was her primary academic focus at JMU, Janet’s interest in the fine arts hardly wavered, and following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she earned acceptance to the Pratt Institute to study photography and sculpture.
With an MFA in photography and sculpture from the prestigious Pratt Institute — not to mention a degree in economics from James Madison University — the pursuit of an entrepreneurial endeavor involving the fine arts seemed to be an entirely logical step. After thoughtful consideration, Janet made the decision to open Janet Sirmon Fine Art in Los Angeles, and her business has thrived in its Southern California location throughout the two decades since its initial opening.
In order to meet the needs of a client base comprised of museum curators and serious art collectors, Janet travels to countries all over the world on a regular basis. Due to her status as an expert in Czech photography, Janet is especially familiar with Central Europe and is a frequent visitor to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
1. What is your favorite thing about traveling?
Artists are inevitably influenced by their surroundings, so I deeply enjoy any opportunity to gain additional perspective regarding a particular artist’s work through my frequent travel.
2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?
I consider it a lifestyle, at least for the most part. My interest in the arts led to a deep desire to travel and to see the work of the world’s greatest artists in person.
3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?
Prague, in the Czech Republic, is the most beautiful place I have ever been to.
4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?
Since I mostly travel on an as-needed basis, I don’t plan anything too far in advance. However, Bali is next on my list.
5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?
Inexperienced travelers might want to consider choosing travel destinations that possess a unique history or those that might offer a valuable learning opportunity.
6. Where would you like to go?
Sao Paulo, Brazil.
7. Where would you like to revisit?
I’ve only been to Japan once, and I would very much enjoy spending more time in Tokyo.
8. Do you travel alone? Why?
Yes, since I am usually traveling for professional reasons I mostly prefer to travel alone. On the occasions in which I travel for recreation, however, I like to bring along friends and family.
9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?
Prague, Florence, and London.
10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?
My preference is to travel light, but this is usually possible only as I travel to my destination; the return trip often involves traveling with a number of carefully protected packages.