Jan Van Ek grew up in Medford, Oregon. Her love of horses naturally expressed itself when her artistic gifts flourished at an early age. Her incessant drawing of horses, studying the anatomy from her first horse, Midnight, in high school led to the study of Fine Art at Oregon State University. There a sculpture professor who specialized in bronze casting inspired her to apply her talent to three dimensional work. Jan was immediately committed to the full-time pursuit of sculpting horses. Her approach was always to depict the equine as a creature of romance, power and freedom. This is why Janís horses are rarely sculpted with humans in the composition, and never sculpted with tack of any kind to interrupt the flow of the magnificent forms of the horse in motion.
After graduating with a BFA in Sculpture, Jan moved to Denver and, to perfect her technical skills and control the production of her work, she began work at a bronze casting foundry. In her years at the foundry she gained expertise in all the steps required in the intricate process of bringing a sculpted clay form to life in bronze. This included full production work in rubber mold making, wax pouring and chasing, ceramic shell mold construction, bronze welding and chasing, and patination.
After 22 years of working in Denver and establishing herself as a nationally recognized equine sculptor, she returned to Oregon in 2004 to build her dream studio near her childhood home, to own and train horses, and to spend more time with her family, which includes her husband and her five older brothers.