Janice Sylvia Brock: the Manchester-born artist whose paintings hang in the White House

We speak to an international artist from Manchester to hear how Still’s Disease didn’t stop her passion for painting.

Manchester-born Janice Sylvia Brock was always determined to become an international artist.

Once a fit and healthy schoolgirl, Janice developed Still’s disease, a degenerative condition, at just 10 years old.

Janice started painting at the age of 13 as a form of escapism from an illness that meant she spent most of her adolescence in and out of hospital at Manchester Children’s Infirmary.

After receiving a paint-by-numbers drawing from her father while still in hospital, Janice’s love for painting grew from there. Determined to become an international artist Janice taught herself to paint from her hospital bed.

Known for her colourful and lively paintings, Janice gets lots of her inspiration from the Caribbean. She has spent years dividing her time between her homes in Alderley Edge and Barbados where she became known for her depictions of Caribbean women.

Despite her degenerative condition Janice has exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, held a private view attended by Prince Charles and even has two English landscapes hanging in the White House.

Talking about her path to becoming an artist Janice said: “I had a focus, I wanted to be an international artist, that’s all I could see.

Disability shouldn’t even enter it, you are an artist and that’s the secret really.”

As well as putting a lot of time and energy into her career as an artist, Janice is a tireless charity campaigner and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the disabled charities in Barbados and now she’s organising an event on 23 September at Ashridge House in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, to raise funds for the Back on Track charity, which supports soldiers who were injured in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a disabled boy called Ralph

Although Janice’s story has been a rollercoaster that’s come with many challenges, it’s also a positive one and she encourages others to never give up on their dreams.

Janice has just been awarded the: LUXlife Most dedicated International Artist/Excellence Award for Charity Fundraising Initiatives.