Janet Levy, 64: Fabulous, Fearless and Fun

Vibrant, energetic and curious, Janet Levy is a sculptor focused on the exploration of stone, working with and being inspired by local materials. She discusses “making the invisible visible” with her art, being open to connecting with people of all ages, particularly younger people, the creative energy of Mexico, and where she’d like to go next.

Cool is ageless. Creative, unexpected, curious, and living her own path, at 64, Janet is a magnet for young people. The attraction comes from her being in the present milieu of culture, art, and music, while simultaneously tethered to deep ancient traditions dealing with the natural world. Many people want to make art but they lack the time, the motivation, the vision, and the stick-with-it-ness that is required to build a mature and valued point of view. Success also requires an appreciation of craft and the ability to deploy that craft toward a vision. 

Janet Levy making “Caught Between Two”

How old are you?
My chronological age is 64. I have a youthful lifestyle which does not compare to what most perceive as someone of “my age.” 

Where are you from and where are you based?
I was born in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA and brought up in Hermosa Beach, CA. I moved to Switzerland in 1989 and lived there for almost ten years. I am a dual citizen of both the USA and Switzerland. Currently, I work and live between Los Angeles, Mexico City and Zurich.

How do you feel about being your age today?
“If I knew then what I know now!” 

How do you care for yourself?
Important to self-reflect and be aware. Lots of walking. Avoid the rabbit holes. Doing practices to stay mentally and physically healthy. Attending dance, Pilates, yoga classes, daily meditation and affirmations. Massage, sauna and Korean spa. 

“My lifestyle includes enjoying music and the arts which often draws a younger audience”

How would you describe your personal style?
Creatively unique. 

You have a number of younger collaborators and friends. Tell us about what you learn from them, and what they are curious to know about you.
My lifestyle includes enjoying music and the arts which often draws a younger audience. I have friends of all ages. I think keeping open and engaging with everyone of all ages keeps a fresh perspective on life. I have heard many times from younger people that they like my style and want to be like me when they are my age. 

What is your day-to-day like? Do you have rituals?
My consistent ritual is my coffee in the morning with affirmations and after guided meditation. Where I am and the phase of the project I am working on determines my day-to-day. I collect and gather materials in the beginning of a project, often going to flea markets, used book stores, and thrift stores for materials and inspiration. After, I am in the studio carving and creating work. 

“Caught Between Two” by Janet Levy

How would you describe the themes of your work?
My theme continues to be the same with different subject contents, referencing a force in nature to convey the emotions of underlying pressures, tensions and sexual desires. I continue to explore the enduring focus within my practice: to make the invisible visible. I conduct extensive research on my subjects – mythology, geology, zoology and other literary sources – to inform my work. My work focuses on the physical exploration of stone. I carve, bind, and hang stone often in combination with other materials such as rope, chain, shells, branches, metal, found objects, and cast bronze. Essential to my process is the gathering and collecting of materials from local sources, evolving from each body of work into the next. 

“I continue to explore the enduring focus within my practice: to make the invisible visible”

Have the themes of your work changed with time?
The ongoing theme of my work remains the same as the subjects evolve with time and place with an integrated awareness of the earth and its surroundings in relation to sexuality that continues to develop within my practice. In my practice, I engage in a cultural exchange between the local culture, people and environment; the earth and arts from a female perspective. Presently, I am focusing on the scientific exchange of minerals and stones as it relates to my work, going deeper into the crossing of the arts with science to inform my artistic practice. In May 2023, I will be working directly with a scientist to conduct my research and studies at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, preparing for my next upcoming solo exhibition October 10, 2024 at the Museo de Geología, UNAM, Mexico City. 

Tell us about your work with stone. It is found and it is also fabricated. What is your process?
Where I am working dictates the materials I am utilizing; I source and use local stone and materials. I carve and grind the stone to create sculptures also using the stone as it is for installation. 

For the three most recent projects, Broken Bones & Angel Dust in Mérida, Yucatán, I used the local henequen (sisal) to hang and bind the local limestone Crema Maya. For Rapture Bound in Newlyn, Cornwall, UK, the local stone was granite and serpentine. A local artist generously shared alabaster pieces with me from somewhere else in the UK. In combination with the stone, I integrated seashells and scallop shells from the fishermen. My studio was located near a working harbor and I would resource metals there and the nearby copper works. In Zurich, Switzerland for Pecked: Repeat I combined found branches with stone. 

Photo by Elsa Tejero @elsa_tejero

“I am creatively inspired by my surroundings”

Who are your heroes and influences?
Nature is one of my strongest influences. My earlier sculptor influences were Barbara Hepworth, Louise Bourgeois, and Noguchi. I am also influenced by authors, film, and songwriters. My hanging sculpture Pretty Dirty Things, 2011 was inspired by the Story of the Eye written by Georges Bataille and the exhibition Fire Ladders by Anaïs Nin Ladders to Fire. The title Rapture Bound was influenced by song lyrics from “County Lines” by A Blaze of Feather. Dance as a creative expression has been an important part of my life inspired by the Martha Graham/Noguchi collaborations and the relationship of sculpture and dance.

For three of my projects I invited dancers/choreographers to respond to my work.  

Broken Bones & Angel Dust – Hallow Bones, Natalia Quezada Shrimpton; Pecked – Repeat, Diane Gemsch and Pulsing Performance, Ronja Römmelt; Love Looks Like Fire – Volcano Dance: Choreographer Melissa Schade Dancers: Danny Axley, Melissa Schade, Kenzie McClure, Tess Hewlet. 

What is it about Mexico that attracts you?
I first experienced the creative energy of Mexico in 2012, when I spent a few days in Mexico City on my way to Cuba. I met some great people and knew I wanted to return to work. It was not until 2017 that I set up a studio in the south of Mexico City. I have an upcoming exhibition there: Between the Stones, October 10, 2024. There are many things that attract me to Mexico: the stone, the nature, the history, the access to resources. There are many resources and materials that are easily obtainable and to navigate with assistance to set up and move materials at a reasonable cost. I am creatively inspired by my surroundings. 

Is there a place you would like to visit but have yet to?
Yes, there are many places I have yet to visit and would like to, which include Portugal, India, Australia. However, on the top of my list right now is Senegal, to visit the Stone Circles of Senegambia and learn more about the culture in West Africa. 

What music are you listening to these days?
The list is long but here are a few: The Black Lips in LA; when I was in Cornwall I met A Blaze of Feather; in Hastings, Maid of Ace, four local sisters. When I am working I put on Chances With Wolves, DJs from Brooklyn; their playlist is creative and eclectic. I don’t have to think too much. They play lots of Nina Simone. In my work I reference PJ Harvey, Massive Attack, Hope Sandoval. I love going to live music and discovering new bands. One of my favorite music venues in Los Angeles is Zebulon. 

What are your 3 life non-negotiables?
Continuous learning, traveling the world, being treated respectfully.

Connect with Janet:

Main photo by: Scogin Mayo/@smclick

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. This women is a theif. Im surprised she even has the nevre to come back to Mexico City she has stolen from so many and cut out without paying rent she owes. BEWARE of Janet, run dont walk from her

    • Oh yes, I’ve heard about her- her reputation for not paying her debts proceeds her… she rented a friends flat but skipped out without paying…

  2. She is a grifter – but without any charm. I got taken advantage of by her in L.A. Didn’t know she was doing it elsewhere too, but I’m not surprised.


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David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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