Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Lifetime of Art


I've been an artist for as long as I can remember...and the same goes for Aaron. And when I say "for as long as I can remember" ...I don't mean 16 or 20 years. Like, I'm not talking about memories of crafting when I was twelve or thirteen. I mean as far back as my memory goes...meaning toddlerhood or thereabouts...or whenever you become YOU...I think I've been an artist since then. So more or less: my whole entire life. And I've talked about this with Aaron...once again, he says the same goes for him.
I know a lot of people who discover and cultivate the inner artist much much later in life. Sometimes it happens in college. Through your struggles with grades and figuring out that you really don't care for the curriculum you've chosen for yourself...you decide to change majors and in so doing you take an art class just for the heck of it...and WHAM!..."holy cow...I think I'm an artist." Next thing you know, you're transferring schools and you're plotting a future in the arts. Or maybe you're a career gal but you're just not quite feeling fulfilled in your daily life...so you start trading your time on the couch watching movies for hours at the crafting table making jewelry. Next thing you know, you've got an Etsy shop and you've got custom orders piling up. And I think a lot of times those who discover within themselves this dormant artist-in-waiting are much more likely to "respect the beast"... in other words: you don't take your artistic inclination for granted. You work hard at it and you get better. You explore new mediums and you make sure to MAKE TIME FOR ART.
When I said that I've been an artist for as long as I can remember I don't mean that I was painting portraits at three years old. But I mean the sensitivity was there. The "eye" and the "ear" for seeing and hearing things in a slightly left-of-center way. I was always exactly the way I am today. Aaron relates to this but not to the extent of myself. He feels that he always had the eyes, ears and hands of the artist...but he hasn't always had the same sense of self. He can remember caring less about certain things...he can remember a lack of sensitivity. He knows that I'm a bit of a weirdo. Like, when I think back to stuff I experienced at like four or five...I don't feel like I was any different. Like I was the same me as now but just in a small body.
What I'm getting at is what it means to be an artist. On the surface there's probably not that much difference between a lifelong artist and one who picked up the scissors, the brush, the soldering iron, for the first time, just last month. But underneath, I think the two are worlds apart. The Lifer...(and I know this from personal experience and from knowing Aaron so well)...well, the Lifer seems to be constantly at odds with art. The Lifer is more likely to see art as a curse rather than a gift. So instead of just sitting down to do it...you end up thinking: "should I even be doing this?"...."why am I doing this?"..."is this good enough?....could I be doing better?...what does this say about me?" ...etcetera, etcetera....At the same time, the later-in-life artist attacks the art with enthusiasm and blissful gusto...I mean, they've got some reservations and misgivings...but overall...they've got much less on their minds. And because of this...they'll get more accomplished. Me and Aar both have a wee bit of envy for the later-in-life artist. Not really though...because Envy is not a word that either of us know the definition for. But you know what I mean. I wish that art was fresh for me...I wish it was the refuge that it is for so many of you....the refuge that it once was for me. And I guess it could be...but I have to work at it. I can't just sit back on cruise control and expect art to be my savior. And that means...I have to do more. I have to spread out...have fun...let go of all the flotsam & jetsam...and just get lost in the act of making things.
Well, I hope to do that with this new decade. I feel like the very end of this past decade might have been the most stressful in my life. I found myself saying "I can't wait til next year". And that's not a good way to be. Especially when you're getting older...I mean, what sane woman wants to rush to her next birthday?! That's crazy! My last blog entry said that I'd be back here with a new blog entry on New Years Day. And as you can see...it is far past January 1st. And just me saying that I promise to do this or that tomorrow is a dysfunction in itself. Forget what I'm doing tomorrow. I really really have to focus on what I'm doing today and only today. No more looking ahead and no more looking back. If I blog it should say..."hey...look what I did today!" Right?











And so that's what this is here. I've got a whole bunch of stuff...much of it done today. And I have to say...honestly, this stuff was made by a different Jenny. I felt a little more like my old self. I got a little lost in making these things. They definitely helped me through some would-be rough days. The jewelry is a lot of fun to do...because it's our art...it's exactly what we've been doing for quite a while now...but it's in a wearable format. And I've been wearing it myself. I mean, it's feels good to leave your house and to take your art with you. My art has always been for the home but now you can take it to go. The jumbo necklaces are great...and they are jumbo ( I guess they're just the right size to be coasters for a soda can)...but they're not so jumbo that they look odd. They're just right! And the gloss finish is like liquid glass. I love the feel of them. And the smaller size pendants and rings have the same glassy finish. They just feel so "real".
And these blocks are something that I've been cooking up in my mind for a long long time. I've been showing Aaron little sketches of these guys on napkins forever. Oh yeah...that's what I do. In the twenty minutes after I eat I probably do more talking than most people do all day. Aaron is just the opposite...he tends to relax and sorta vegetate. I just talk his ear off excitedly and draw about a thousand tiny sketches on napkins. Really...it happens like clockwork. I think it gives Aar a little indigestion. Anyway, I always wanted to make some shelf sitters...some chunky little blocks with imagery on all sides. Well, these are more than shelf sitters...they also come ready to hang on the wall just like all of our other wooden pieces. I just love the look of wall art that has depth and imagery on the sides, top, and bottom, as well as the front. So you can display these how ever you want! And you'll notice some new imagery on a couple of these blocks. Those were done for the new year...it's our yearly tradition to do new paintings within 48 hours of the calendar change. Finally, a pink mixer....and a pink haired doll named Flossie. (and oh yeah...we put Flossie on a necklace as well!) There's one more painting in the works that we were doing right along side those two but we just couldn't finish...had to get back to our orders...but that new one will be coming soon and it will be a favorite for sure.


Also, some really cool news. We've got a line of stuff out in stores now...in Barnes & Noble and other bookshops and stationery stores. Our Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake painting is now on giftbags, journals, bookmarks, desknotes etc... We've been contacted by different friends from all over who have been seeing it pop up in stores near them. Most people were worried for us...thinking that some big company took our designs without telling us. But we put them at ease and let them know that it's totally on the up and up and you can find our names and copyright on each and every item. In fact, a great company is behind them...Peter Pauper Press. They've got tons of product lines and they've been around since 1928. They were great to work with and they produce excellent quality stuff! We couldn't be more thrilled with arrangement. So, go to your local Barnes and Noble and check 'em out. Also, we'll have a bunch of this stuff for sale soon.
Alright, well I'm not making any promises as to when I'll be blogging again but I'm sure you'll see more of me here...I mean, I don't think it's possible to see any LESS of me! I'm really happy to have you guys...don't ever think that I take you for granted...in fact...it's just the opposite. I appreciate you all more than you'll ever know! Here's to a Happy, Healthy, and artistically productive new year to you all!

22 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your totes and cards~
    I know exactly what you mean about being a "lifer" vs. not. It is a curse at times...Lifers create to live, while the later-bloomers live to create.

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  2. Yay Jenny!! I have missed you! First of all, congratulations on the Barnes and Noble merchandise!! I am ecstatic for you both. I cant wait to go and see them in person! I LOVE all of your new creations so much! Everything is just so yummy and the colors are perfect. I wish I could have one of each :) It is so funny because you and Aaron remind me a lot of Chad and I in that I talk his ear off and he is more quiet and relaxed, lol! I love it. And they are both bald, lol!!!
    Big Hugs and love,
    Amy

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  3. Congrats on your new commercial line! That is so cool. I'll have to see if my B&N has it yet!

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  4. Hiii Jenny! :) hehe, love your line about giving Aaron indigestion!

    Your necklaces are super cute! I just adore the little bow you've set atop each one! And I LOVE those blocks! Great idea!! How awesome B&N is carrying your stuff! I'll be on the lookout :)

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  5. Absolutely beautiful post! I almost cried because for years, I've struggled with my mind creativially going in a hundred directions. I think you've expressed it beautifully. Thanks and you made my day!

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  6. I have always been able to draw from a very young age, so I think I was just born with the ability and therefore it has never been something which I had to learn or even think about. Only when I was in my teens, I realised that I had a talent, and it surprised me as I just thought it was part of me! Good to see you back! suzie. x

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  7. I love all the new stuff! :) Congratulations on getting your work into Barnes and Noble, I can't wait to see it!

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  8. I love all of your new jewelry! It's the best feeling to have someone complement you on something that you are wearing and then be able to tell them that it's your art.

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  9. I've been thinking about you - so long since you had a blog post and you hadn't been jumping up on my facebook radar either. Glad Jenny is good and feels like her old self! Huge congrats on the B and N line - everytime I pop into one of their stores i will give your product a little hello!

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  10. LOVE the new little cupcake pendants...where can we find (buy) 'em?

    SWEET...just picked up a couple of bags and bookmarks at B&N last week...they're great! Knew they must be yours :)

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  11. hey sweet girl
    eeekk im loving all your new jewelry. so fantastic.
    how exciting to be in the book store. woo hoo im going there tomorrow i will have to scope yo out.
    hope all is well.
    love you guys.
    oxoxo,
    Jessi

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  12. Congrats, sweet girl~ I've got the check out the bookstore!!
    I'm LOVIN the artwork necklace pendants... they look so yummy!
    Everything is simply amazing, Jenny!
    Happy day!
    OX
    Christina :)

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  13. Oh Jenny I saw the cute 'have a cupcake' artwork on a kitchen towel in a small shop recently and loved it - I didn't know it was yours! Awesome! Congratulations.

    You described so well the 'artist's angst'... thank you for sharing that.

    Deb @ Retreat

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  14. Wonderful to see a blog post from you Jenny!
    Your jewellery and shelf sitters are super adorable!
    Fantastic that you have your bags and cards in shops...hopefully we'll see them here at the bottom of the world one day!
    Mercedes

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  15. Jenny, first off, congrats on the B&N line! I think I told you on flickr that I saw them and was worried too! Now I can go back and buy them! Also, I love the necklaces- great idea. And I think it's so cute picturing you and Aaron after dinner while you chatter away! You two are the sweetest, make-for-each-other couple! you're so lucky to have found one another.
    Well it was nice to "see" you again in blogland. I hope this year is much better for you!
    xo natalea

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  16. Congratulations Jenny this is such good news. I did not know you when you were a little girl, but I knew you probably in your late teens/early 20's, and when you and Aaron walked through the antique store, you looked with an eye for "what can be done with this item", not a well that nice just the way it is. For as long as I have known you, you have been and artist to me, and I am thrilled to see that you guys are being noticed and appreciated by so many others.
    ♥, Susan

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  17. everything is beautiful as always! congrats on the new keep calm and have a cupcake line - I can't imagine walking into a store that big and seeing my work reproduced that way - how exciting!!! hugs!

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  18. *wow* your words are endearing and truly appreciative...enjoy your art, continue to enjoy and be pleased at your accomplishments, y'all are modest and kind. love, diana

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  19. Wow!!! Your site is beautiful!! I love the artwork.

    Deirdre G

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  20. good things truly do happen to good people. so excited to see your work coming to life!

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  21. I LOVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU CREATE!!!!!
    Such simple joy....ahhhhh
    Thank you.
    XOXO Deb

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Thanks so much for reading! We absolutely love to hear from you guys...so please leave a comment if the mood strikes you, or if you have any questions for us about a recipe, project, art supply , paint color, etc. Don't panic if your comment doesn't appear right away...we moderate all comments to avoid getting tons of spam. Thanks again!!
xo Jenny & Aaron