In 1960, she was an innocent High School Senior set up on a blind date with a college sophomore. He was an electrical engineering major, brought up on a diet of Science Wonder
and Weird Tales
pulps, and with an already established collection of SF fiction books. He decided to augment her high school reading list with one of his own, backed up by a carton of books from his shelves, with strict injunctions re: "dog ears" for bookmarking. An avid reader, the closest she had ever gotten to what she deemed fantasy literature were stories by Poe, books like Mysterious Island
by Jules Verne, and My First 2000 Years
(Viereck and Eldridge), which her father said had been "banned".
SUDDENLY: there was the wonderment of A. Merritt's "Ship of Ishtar", the excitement of Robert E. Howard's "Skullface and Others" and the sheer fun of L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt! Ten years later she had three kids and was tripping over boxes of books, writing letters to Frank Utpatel, c/o Arkham House, attending Lunacons in NY, and driving to Providence, Rhode Island for the first World Fantasy Convention.
Jane and Howard's collection of original fantasy art and literature has been regarded as one of the world's finest. Two Paper Tiger books documented only about 40% of their art collection: The Frank Collection: A Showcase of the World's Finest Fantastic Art
(1999), and Great Fantasy Art Themes from the Frank Collection
(2003). The collection has been filmed for TV documentaries, and Jane has been interviewed on local radio shows, speaking on the topic of illustration art. Selections from the collection have been loaned to museums and shown in local, regional, and traveling exhibitions, several of which were co-curated by Jane.
Among the more notable of them: an inaugural art exhibit for Experience Science Fiction Museum, Seattle Washington (June 2004 - July 2005), followed by a co-curated "Alien Contact" show, filled with selections from the Frank Collection (Sept 2006 - Nov. 2007), two co-curated exhibits at the University of Maryland art gallery, College Park Maryland: "Fantastic Visions: The Frank Collection of Fantasy Art" (2004) and "Possible Futures" (2000). Jane was Guest Curator for the 1992 traveling group show "Wonder of Enchantment" at Rockville Arts Place (Rockville, MD), and Maryland Arts Place (Baltimore, MD), and has been a contributor to and sponsor of several other exhibitions. These have ranged from co-sponsorship of "Pavilions of Wonder" show at the Canton Museum, Ohio (1996), to displays of large-scale kinetic sculptural works from Lisa Snellings' "Dark Carnival" at SF Worldcons (In early 2010 the "Dark Carnival" became part of the permanent collection of The American Visionary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland). The Franks also became life-time members of the Association of Science Fiction Artists (ASFA), and members of the Society of Illustrators (NY).
They were Chesley Award nominees 1998 for Outstanding Service to ASFA, and in 2004 for Best Art Direction, for their privately commissioned Haggard Project (a series of paintings relating to books written by H. Rider Haggard).
Jane has appeared on myriad panel discussions at cons, and has lead docent tours through art shows. She was Guest Speaker at The Maryland Library Association Annual Conference (2003), was a Presenter at the Sixth Annual Roundtable "Science Fiction Art: Lessons for the Millennium, University of Maryland (2000), and was a Guest Speaker at the Science Fiction Information Forum, hosted by the Library of Congress Professional Association (1996). She's also been a "Behind the Scenes" volunteer at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, for the Star Wars exhibition, 1997-8 and consultant on the 2000, and 1998 editions of The Comic Art Price Guide (Arcturian Press, Kitchen Sink Press).
In 1991 Jane established "Worlds of Wonder," to represent the art that fans see at Worldcons. She represents about 20 professional artists or their estates in the sales of originals, takes on secondary market sales for existing collections, and occasionally acts as artists' or estate agent for commissioned work and licensing. Over the years she has sold well over 3000 pieces of art. Jane also does art appraisals for individuals and estates, and provides strategic marketing and personal selling advice to artists and authors.
By the mid 1990s she was writing forewords for sketch books, and publishing articles on individual artists and various collecting topics, in publications such as Science Fiction Age
, Realms of Fantasy
, Quantum Collector
, Collector's Advantage
Jane wrote the illustrated biography The Art of Richard Powers
(Paper Tiger Press, Hugo Nominee, 2001), and The Art of John Berkey
(Paper Tiger, 2003), and in 2005 she edited two books on the well-known British fantasy author William Hope Hodgson: The Wandering Soul - Glimpses of a Life: A Compendium of Rare and Unpublished Works
, and The Lost Poetry of William Hope Hodgson
(both for PS Publishing/Tartarus Press). This duo was followed by Paint or Pixel? The Digital Divide in Illustration Art
(Nonstop, 2007), an "illustrated debate" that made the Locus Recommended Reading List for Best Non-Fiction/Art Books, 2008. In 2009 McFarland & Co. published A Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists
, that made the 2010 Locus Poll for Best Non-Fiction/Art Book. Planned for publication 2012 is the first biographical dictionary devoted solely to role-playing game and collector card game artists, also to be published by McFarland.
She writes a semi-regular column under the banner The Artful Collector
for the e-zine Estronomicon
(part of Steve Upham's Screaming Dreams Press) and has published several short short stories there.
For several years, before book projects consumed her time, Jane taught Communications courses at American University (Washington, DC), and "Direct Marketing" and "Strategies in Business Communication" in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland (College Park), and consulted on sales and marketing issues for small businesses. She has published several papers in refereed academic journals, and contributed to books on linguistic, communications and business topics. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from Georgetown University, an MBA (Marketing) and MS Education (Long Island University) preceded by a BA in Anthropology/Sociology in 1972. Jane and Howard have three children, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren, Rocky and Cutie Pie (Chinese Crested hairless dogs). Jane yearns to take up a hobby some day, like painting.