I’ve gotten to know Jennifer the last several months and love her fresh approach to art making.
Who ART You?
How did you grow up? I grew up in a suburb of Sacramento. My mom was an incredibly patient 1st grade teacher, and my dad was an entrepreneur. He owned a wallpaper shop when I was a kid, and my first job was helping ladies choose wallpaper for their homes. After the wallpaper shop my dad started a business making and distributing educational videos. I did several jobs for that company, and loved seeing how he bootstrapped that company into a successful place.
I became an artist because……Art has always been a meditative practice to me. I became an artist because it is one of the few times that I feel like I am right with the world and am doing the thing I was put here to do.
What brought you to art? I had a cool art teacher in high school, Mrs. A. Her classroom was a place for everyone to relax and experiment. She really believed that everyone could be successful in art making, and taught me how to break down the world into lines/colors/shapes. Art wasn’t so intimidating after that, and became my favorite part of school.
Describe your favorite art piece that you had trouble letting go. I just sent a piece off to Brooklyn that was the first to give my heart a little pang of remorse. It was my favorite from a collection that marked a real change in my painting style, and as I wrapped it up for shipping I thought “hmmm... maybe I should’ve kept that one”. But I’ve moved on. I always tell myself I can just paint more.
If you could come back and live as any artist, (alive or dead) who would it be & why? This is an impossible questions! I’m not trading my life for anybody’s, but if I could pop into any artist’s life for just one day I pick Paul Gauguin on a gorgeous day in Tahiti.
Who, what influences your art? I’m definitely influenced by trends in fashion and interiors, and by living in a coastal urban area with gorgeous light. But in the last year I have come to rely more on my internal influence than on external influence. I feel an overwhelming need to simplify my surroundings and my life, and that has definitely transferred to my art as well.
What has art taught you? Art has taught me to trust myself and to be brave. It has also taught me to let go, have fun, and not to take anything too seriously.
Favorite/best resources as an artist? Nicholas Wilton and his Art2Life Academy. I took his course last year and it was life changing. I’m hoping to attend one of his workshops in the next year or two.
What becomes a magical instrument in your hands? A spray bottle of water.
What medium do you use? Why? Acrylic paint (mostly). I love that it dries quickly and I can work faster. I also love that it can mimic watercolor but dries permanent. Most of my work is mixed media, so I also use a lot of pencil, charcoal, crayon, acrylic pen, etc.
What is your favorite subject matter? I paint non-representational work with the occasional abstract landscape thrown in.
What are you still hoping to learn? How to keep an abundance of supplies at hand without losing anything in the inevitable mess.
When I think of art, I ………….feel so lucky to be alive. Art is transformative. For the artist. For the viewer. I just want to be a part of it on all sides.
How do life, business, creativity and art intersect? In my world they pretty much blur into one thing. I have two school-aged kids, so am often working while they do their thing. I help run the art docent program at their school, and love coming up with art projects for them to try. Up until a certain age kids all love making art. It’s so good for them, and for me too.
A defining moment in my life was when………..I left my job as a web designer ages and ages ago. I spent so much time and energy on that education and career path, then realized that I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer for the rest of my life. It led to quite a few experimental career choices, but ultimately led me here to fine art. So for that I am grateful.
Best advice I ever got about art or being an artist was……..“There is no such thing as a mistake. Every step along the way just adds richness to the final piece. Even if you cover it up.” That advice from Nicholas Wilton was incredibly liberating.
Do you have a ritual or practice any creative activities before you make art? If so, what is it? I try to keep things pretty simple. I go into my studio, put on my apron, get some fresh (paint) water and chat with any studio mates I see along the way. Then I pick some music to suit my mood and get moving.
Is there a quote that inspires you or that you try to live your life by? I’m a sucker for a good motivational quote, and I collect them on a Pinterest board. But one of my favorites is from my son Finn when he was around 4. He told me “There are no losers when you’re drawing rainbows”, and I love the sweet sentiment behind it - especially now that he is a sarcastic preteen. It is also how I feel about art making and the supportive community of artists I have found. My mentor Emily Jeffords started the #doitfortheprocess movement, and I think she would approve of this message ;)
Is there anything new you are planning to introduce in the future? Right now I will be concentrating on developing a body or work, but I do daydream about helping other people discover their own intuitive art making process. The future is wide open.
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