Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I attended CSU Chico, where I earned a B.A. in visual communications/graphic design. In college, I worked at a gift boutique, which sparked my interest in the gift industry. When I graduated, I was hired as a full-time freelancer and eventually became a designer for the The Gifted Line. I was honored to design for John Grossman's Collection of Antique Images, one of the largest unique ephemera collections in the world. Under John’s art direction, I developed the foundation of my niche style of digital vintage collage. That evolution continued at Punch Studio, where I spent nearly eight years as the Northern California art director. In 2010, I began a freelance, consulting and art licensing business.
What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Nothing inspires me more than traveling. No matter where I am in the world, I find myself mesmerized by the details of my surroundings, whether it’s ethnic textiles, weathered textures, nature elements, or a juxtaposition of unexpected images or objects. I love finding hidden or discarded treasures at fairs and flea markets, too. In the retail world, I appreciate the bold, Bohemian combinations of prints, colors, and textiles at Anthropologie and FreePeople. I am also intrigued by surrealist art, Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes and Nick Bantock’s richly layered collage-postcard works, such as Griffin and Sabine.
Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I use mostly ephemera [chromolithography printed material out of copyright], photos of textures, and painted backgrounds. I use Photoshop to create multiple layers in a single file to compose my final image.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently in the proposal stage with two new licensees. I’m also designing kitchen towels for Potluck Press and dinnerware concepts for Magenta, Inc.
Anything else you want to tell everyone?
I have learned first-hand that art licensing takes patience, determination, and a lot of time and energy. There are many different sources of information out there, so get familiar with licensing blogs join the LinkedIn licensing groups. You might want to establish a web presence through social media, too. If you decide not to use an agent, hire a lawyer or licensing coach to review all your contracts.
Regularly evaluate your goals. If you’re struggling creatively, change something. Don’t be hard on yourself if your original plan or direction doesn’t work out. If you’re willing to take a new approach, you may end up with an even better outcome.
Seek advice. Working alone can be tough, so collaborate and connect with artists and others in your particular field. Seasoned artists, manufacturers, agents and licensing coaches often are happy to share their wisdom or strategies. When you’re following your dream and doing what you love, most people are excited to offer support and encouragement. And one day, you’ll find yourself giving someone else advice.
Explore many avenues for generating income with your art. I’ve found that licensing is only one piece of the pie. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and open yourself up to many possibilities.
Are you an early riser or night owl?
I love the stillness in the mornings, although I don’t get up super early. I am ready to start the day after a full 8 eight hours of sleep, a 15-minute meditation and a cup of Marin Roasters Costa Rica blend coffee. I don’t skimp on my sleep, even when I have a lot to do. It is essential for my creativity and productivity to be well rested.
What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is Trader Joe’s Marcona almonds with rosemary. They are to die for!
You can learn more about Jenny and see her portfolio here:
Agent: Julie Ager at Artistic Designs Group
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