January 11, 2018
Jennifer McEuen’s art is some of the most calming I’ve ever seen. It hits all the right notes to unlock your inner spirit and put you at ease. The bright colours and the line work comes together flawlessly. Evoking dream-like images while not bizarre surreal works, they are still a nice mix of abstract and surreal come together.
Where are you from?
I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, spent my childhood in Northern California and grew up mostly in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have been living mostly in California the last decade and most recently have a new studio in Southern Idaho.
How did you get started on your artistic journey?
I began as a young child, always drawing, coloring, and using my imagination. My earliest memories are of making art. It was always something I had an eye for, a meditative place for me from the beginning… a strength I had from a young child into my teens. I found that when I was in high school it was something I could actually take seriously, and if I could create a strong portfolio, it would help me get a scholarship and get out of Utah. I began exhibiting my work about a year after I really got into oil painting.
How would you describe your artwork?
This one is a bit difficult for me, as my imagery is quite diverse, but over the last several years I would say my work is mystical/visionary realism. I like to use symbolism, earthly plane subject matter and cosmic elements. Some pieces can also be considered abstract. I like to mix it all together and emphasize certain things for specific pieces… depending on my approach.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
The mystery of life. Love, growth… I am inspired by people, as I see people as messengers. I enjoy portraying humans and animals… as I see my own life very symbolically, and enjoy combining what I intuit and see in my direct life story that I feel is communicating with me, in its own mysterious and cosmic way.
What's the worst job you've ever had, and why?
A salesperson for HAPPY FEET (a kiosk at a mall in downtown Salt Lake City). It was my first job when I was 16.
How long does a typical piece take you from start to finish? What is your whole process?
It depends. Some pieces I spend a couple years on, sometimes seven months, and others a couple weeks. I also can create pieces within a couple of days; it really all depends on my intention for the piece. My process varies; I take a couple of different approaches. Sometimes I go to a blank canvas with no plan and just begin adding abstract strokes, and keep building layers until I begin to see forms in the abstraction. Sometimes I will add a reference subject matter if I feel it, or other times I will draw out the figure and plan some of the steps before I really begin painting. I like both ways.
I love the natural mystic feeling your work invokes. What can we do to make sure that this planet is left for many future generations?
Thank you so much! I am happy you feel this way!
What can we do to make sure this planet is left for future generations… that is a beautiful question, as I think about how I can be a good ancestor very often.
First, I think as humans we could become less selfish. Instead of always trying to get ahead, to see it all as a whole, as we are all working parts; we all become ashes at some point. Learning to think for yourself, to find what is most sustainable for your life, and therefore, the Earth. Once you take 100% responsibility for yourself; that is when you can truly help others, and be an example.
How important is social media for artists now? Which accounts are the most important to have and why?
I find it is really important. It is an amazing time for artists now, as we can access thousands of people by updating an app like INSTAGRAM. It is good to keep it fresh, to let the public know you exist and that you are working… on art. In my opinion Instagram has been the most beneficial, Facebook has also brought me opportunities and sales as well. They both have perks.
What's the most challenging aspect about being an artist today?
Getting all of your visions and inspirations painted in one lifetime ;)
What mediums do you use for your art?
I mostly use oil paint, and sometimes acrylic.
If you could be more proficient at something what would it be?
Finishing all of my in-progress pieces ;)
What advice would you give to other artists?
Interact with the people and things that inspire you. Believe in your vision and that what you have within is worth sharing with the world.
Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?