Lately I’ve been on a quest to feed both my inner-artist and my inner-business woman. So of course I was over the moon when Jenny a.k.a. Jennibellie (Yes, *THAT* Jennibellie!) graciously agreed to a Q&A interview that covers both topics. She was so generous with her time and had so much to share that I’m posting her words of wisdom in two parts. The first part focuses on Jenny the artist. The second part, to be posted later this week, will focus on Jenny the business woman.
Part 1: The Artist
Q: Jenny, how/when did you get started on your journey with art/art journaling?
Hmm I think I rediscovered my art journey when I was about 25. I now realize that I suppressed my ‘art gene’ from my teens up until that point, thinking I was no good at it so I should spend my time on more ‘worthwhile’ things, like my academic studies, and then ‘proper’ career things, which I did. But suddenly at 25 I was dealing with some very tough circumstances in my life; like bereavement, a terrible stressful job, my boyfriend and my family were hundreds of miles away and I didn’t really like my newest housemates who I was sharing a flat with. So my life in London was pretty dreary at work, at home, in my head and out of it and that’s when I involuntary just picked up a paintbrush and started creating. It was pretty much out of necessity; pure escapism.
Q: What inspires you/your art?
Everything. Anything and everything. I like looking online for inspiration, but struggle with it sometimes becoming a distraction, so only to a certain degree. I love books, but I have to say with art books I prefer old classics I find in junk shops, or market stalls, rather than ‘trendy’ ones that come out now. What I think inspires me most is just sitting down and creating. It’s like an addictive drug, the more I do, the more I am inspired to do…and what I have found is when I am creating that is when my best ideas come out – which then adds more excitement & feeds the addictive nature of creativity again.
Q: What tips do you have for new artists/art journalists?
To carry on. I say this over and over to new art journalers who contact me, because as artists we usually have personalities with a tendency to be down on our work, and ourselves. Mix that with people who are new to art journaling & upset that their work doesn’t look *perfect* straight away and it’s easy to get disheartened too quickly. This is the reason I did the video ‘My Biggest Tip for Liking Your Journal Pages’ to give people more practical advice of what I’ve found has helped me create pages to feel proud of. I always tell people to practice too – because why should the first ever drawing, for example, you do be perfect? Would you expect to enter the Olympics ski-jump the first time you ever donned skis? Give yourself a break, allow the bad pages to happen so that the good ones can follow!
Q: I have several journals that are unfinished, are filled with "ugly" pages, don't inspire me, etc. Can you talk about some of your failures and how you've overcome them? What are some lessons learned you can share?
Hmm good question and the fact is every page holds a lesson (or several), regardless of whether you like the outcome of it or not; you just have to be open to hearing it/them. If I don’t like how a page has turned out for example I analyze it and see what doesn’t feel right. I don’t sit there dwelling on it for hours though I just check if it’s the colors, the composition or the elements I used, then I flip the page and start a new spread. Ultimately though I don’t feel I have ugly pages anymore – I don’t mean that in an arrogant ‘all my pages are great’ kinda way, I mean I just don’t think of any pages in a negative light now - my mind-set has changed and just doesn’t include any of that self-critical ‘guff’ anymore. Perhaps sharing everything online has helped with that too, because like it or hate it’s still going to get shared lol. The BEST lesson I have learned is to appreciate EACH and EVERY page for the hour, two days or 10 minutes of art filled pleasure it gave me...regardless of outcome!
Q: What are your can't live without art/journal supplies?
Hmm anyone who knows me knows I hate to give out all the product stuff as I am a ‘create with what you have’ eco-creative campaigning kinda-girl but just for you I’ll give you my most valued – Gesso (of course), acrylic paints, watercolors, watersoluable crayons/pencils, vintage ephemera and patterned papers would be my most used items – although as I say, anything I have to hand goes in my journal =)
Q: You use a lot of recycled items in your art/art journals. What are some of your favorites?
Yeah! Now we’re talking (lol). My number one is without a doubt cardboard – as you can probably tell from most of my homemade art supply tutorials. I loooooove junk mail, plastics such as packaging (which everything has waaaay too much of) & bubble wrap and pretty much anything else I see people about to throw out and am like ‘nooooooooooooooooooooo! That’s mixed media supplies!! Gimme, GIMME, N-O-W!!’ hehe.
Q: I think it's safe to say that we all *think* we know "Jennibellie"...what's something that maybe we don't know about you?
Does everyone think they know me? Lol I guess I do share a lot of myself, which is probably necessary with how I approach art and encourage others to approach art - as a therapy & a calling from within to deal with your outside circumstances, however I do try to keep a certain privacy (about family, friends, location, work etc.) out of my ‘online’ life as much as possible. So what you don’t know about me is probably intentionally due to this so hmmmmm it’ll have to be something really silly I’m afraid - My Phobia! (Deep breath) I have a phobia of sharks! Yep you read right! It’s completely irrational (it’s not like I go swimming in shark-infested waters because ya know I’M AFRAID OF SHARKS lol) it’s a physical reaction I have whenever I see a billboard, photo online or especially tv show (when they are moving – ick!) I shiver, my back stiffens, all the hair on my body stand up (although thankfully I’ve managed to quit the screeching I used to let out as a little girl). Heaven forbid you are sitting next to me if they take me unawares while watching a movie, you’ll leave with a dead-arm (from my instant reaction of clutching the nearest thing). Now I usually close my eyes whenever I see water…
For more information about Jenny, you can find her at any of the following:
Blog, Jennibellie Studio.
Etsy Shop, Paperclayjunkie.