Jan Baross was born in Oakland, CA in 1943 and raised in Bakersfield, CA. Her father was an orthopedic surgeon, her mother was a social worker and her brother eventually became an ER doc.
From an early age Baross’s mother took her across Asia, Africa and Europe. It was there Baross began her voluminous sketching of the many countries they visited, capturing the pre-T-shirt world of the post war world and continuing her sketching into the present.
At eighteen Baross left for San Francisco State to major in art. It was the 60s. She was living in the Haight, becoming a photographer and abandoned painting. She was the editor of the classic photo journal, “The Hippies” published by the Idlewild Press. Her photos of The Free Speech Movement at Univ. of Cal Berkeley in 1964-5 were published.
In 1967 Baross married a marine microbiologist and moved to Seattle. She joined the Seattle Film Board and made award winning docs and animated films. She taught filmmaking for Upward Bound at UW.
By 1971 Baross and her husband had moved to Corvallis, Oregon for his post doc. At Oregon State, Baross taught filmmaking and got an MA in Communications. She worked for OSU making PSAs and was a film critic for The Corvallis Gazette Times.
After a divorce in 1985, Baross moved to Portland, Oregon and continued her filmmaking, joining the board of the NW Film Co-op. She became a film critic for The Business Journal. She also wrote magazine articles and features and as well as illustrations and articles for The Jewish Review. She also began writing screenplays, some of which were optioned.
In the latter 80s, Baross joined Artists Rep. Theater literary board. She also tried her hand at writing plays. During the 90s theatrical readings and productions followed in Portland, NY, LA and Mexico and some won awards and grants. One of her plays, “Mata Hari” inspired a composer to write an opera “Mata Hari” for which Baross wrote the libretto. As winner of a national competition, the opera premiered at the Deep Ellum Opera Company in Dallas, Texas.
In 2006 her first novel, “Jose Builds a Woman” was published by Ooligan Press.
It won first place for fiction in the national The Kay Snow Awards competition.
Baross began her own imprint, the MPolo Press. She now publishes her illustrated travel books. They are part of an on-going series.
2012- “Ms. Baross Goes to Paris”
2013- “Ms. Baross Goes to Mexico, San Miguel de Allende”
2016- “Ms. Baross Goes to Cuba”
2016- “The Cuba Coloring Book”
2016- “China 1966”
2016- “Portland in Bed on a Sunday Morning”
At present she is working on a second novel, “The Bakersfield Diaries,” about a little Jewish family’s survival in redneck central. She is also planning a graphic novel. Like a graphic diary, a new daily sketch is posted by Baross on her Facebook of something that happened that day.