Meet the Artist: Jana Liptak

Apr 26, 2016Brooklyn Boulders

Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?
I’m Jana, hi! I grew up in the hot hot heat of Tucson, Arizona, and then did a lot of different things in different places before I ended up in Brooklyn. I had a job counting salmon in the pacific northwest for a year or so, and then I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for a couple years getting my MFA in painting. After that I taught art in Southern India for a year, and when all my travel, student, and work visas ran out, I decided it was time to move to Brooklyn! That was about six years ago, and now I’m a freelance artist, and a union scenic artist for film, television, and broadway.

How did you start climbing?
My friend Brian (who is a very unfair 6’ 5”) convinced me to come with him to Brooklyn Boulders about four years ago. It wasn’t the first time I’d climbed — Tucson has a pretty active climbing scene, and my high school even had a climbing wall and a ropes course. I always liked the puzzle-solving aspect of it, but before I started coming to BKB I was never really strong enough to enjoy it.

How has climbing changed your life?

When I started coming to BKB, I couldn’t do a single push-up, let alone a pull-up. Thanks to climbing, I’m the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been in my life.

I’ve quit every other gym and fitness activity I’ve tried, but climbing keeps me motivated. I think it’s the combination of physical and mental challenge that keeps it fun.

What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?
My current climbing goal is to move up a grade in bouldering — I feel like I plateaued at V3 a while ago, and I’d really love to be finishing V4s consistently. Off the wall, I’m always trying to balance my film work with more awesome projects like the one I did at BKB Queensbridge. I’m just trying to find new walls to paint and new public art projects to get involved with. The life of a freelance artist can be stressful, but it’s also super exciting, because you never know what’s coming next.

What inspires you?
I love coming to the gym and watching people struggle and struggle and struggle on bouldering projects, and then succeed. I’m inspired by everyone I see at BKB. Of course I love to watch Ashima climb — she is amazing and her focus, drive, and positive attitude at such a young age is endlessly inspiring. But really, I’m inspired by anyone who is driven to try hard things, and to keep trying after they fall.

See more of Jana’s work at her website here and follow her on Instagram here. Say hi to her next time you see her around BKB in Brooklyn or Long Island City.
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