In her work, Janet Scagnelli grapples with public and private grief, melding the personal and the political. Her longtime career as an animation artist, her filmmaking experience, and her degree in art history informs the art she makes now.


In 1980, she opened Chelsea Animation Company in New York City, where she employed a team of artists and specialized in hand rendering commercials, shorts, features, and independent films. She later opened a second enterprise to restore collectable animation cels for clients, some of whom purchased art from Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions. She continued to run both businesses after moving to Richmond, Virginia, in the 1990s. In Richmond she also collaborated with Lynda Fleet Perry and Pat Tashjian to make a documentary film about a local peace activist who was awarded an international peace prize, Marii Hasegawa. The film premiered at the James River Film Festival and was broadcast on the PBS affiliate, WCVE-TV.


She turned to studying (thank you, Michael A. Pierce) and creating fine art to ease the destructive chaos she was experiencing, internally and externally, from a deep personal loss and from society’s collective losses—the worsening injustices here and abroad and the unabated threats to our planet. She gathers images that strike her emotionally and sits with them until a process emerges. She works in the medium and style that best conveys her emotions at that moment.


In re-experiencing loss, Scagnelli hopes to heal herself and console others as well.

Her drawing series was exhibited in the Memento Mori show held at Linden Row Inn, a satellite program of 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Virginia. Since then she has been in numerous local shows and is now a member of Artspace Gallery in Richmond, Virginia.