Janet Sirmon, a resident of Los Angeles, California, is the owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art, where she has specialized in photography from throughout the 19th and 20th centuries while working with a client base primarily comprised of museum curators and serious art collectors. As the owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art, Ms. Sirmon has provided access to an inventory featuring an array of select pieces while also offering a variety of services to clients seeking a specific photograph that, for one reason or another, has proved difficult to acquire.
Ms. Sirmon is an alumnus of James Madison University as well as the Pratt Institute, studying economics at the former before going on to study photography and sculpture at the latter. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in economics from JMU and a Master of Fine Arts in photography and sculpture from the Pratt Institute, Ms. Sirmon worked her way up from gallery intern to gallery director before going off on her own in 2005 to form Janet Sirmon Fine Art in New York City. In 2010 Sirmon relocated to Los Angeles.
With over two decades of experience in the field, Janet Sirmon Fine Art has developed a reputation in the fine art community for its comprehensive understanding of all aspects of photography’s illustrious history. Ms. Sirmon has further distinguished herself in the art community through her unique expertise in quite a few artistic movements, particularly those associated with the Czech photographers of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, as well as those associated with American Social Documentary photographers.
In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?
New York City in the late 1990’s
What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?
Sharing an apartment in Brooklyn while in graduate school.
What motivated you to purchase your first house?
It’s a great investment!
How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?
It had been several years since I founded Janet Sirmon Fine Art, and the business was profitable and continuing to grow, so I applied the income I saved from those first few years to the down payment and covered the rest with a mortgage.
When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.
Given my specific artistic tastes, I was actually looking at it as a sort of blank canvas through which to further express my own aesthetic preferences.
What are 3 things you liked most about the house?
Location, location, location
Was there anything you didn’t like about it?
Although all the materials were of the highest quality, the house seemed to lack a clear unifying theme. This was something I addressed as soon as I moved in.
Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?
There have been quite a few renovation projects over the years, but my personal favorite is the mosaic tile flooring I installed in each of the bathrooms.
Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.
The majority of the renovation projects I mentioned were not planned out in advance and were mostly borne organically during the course of the many social gatherings I’ve hosted over the years. In most cases, someone will toss out an interesting hypothetical that is then bandied about and refined until it reaches the point in which it becomes a project that must begin as soon as possible. It’s nice to live in a home in which memories of close friends and family are so easily evoked throughout each and every room.
Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?
I still live there, but I do rent it out if I know I’ll be traveling for an extended period of time.
What advice would you give other first time home buyers?
Take the time to determine what you value most before entering the real estate market. For me, the ability to add personal artistic touches to a home with aesthetically pleasing architectural elements already in place was a major deciding factor.