WILD Profile: Jenny Brown, The Sky is Everywhere!
Who: Jenny Brown
Where she was born: Boston, MA
Where she lives now: Providence, RI
What she does: I’m a visual artist with a special interest in using found materials. Collage is my primary medium.
What is on her mind today:
Testing the saturation levels of ink on some new found papers I’ve collected. It’s always like a little science experiment, you never know how gouache or glue or pen is going to react to a piece of paper from the late 1800s.
What she is currently working on:
My series of collages of morphing shells and cephalopods (squids, octopi) whose tentacles have turned to vines, and bodies are turning into corals or flowers.
Where she finds inspiration:
Searching for materials! Flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores. The whole process of searching, even on the days when I don’t find anything, is inspiring because it reminds me of all the treasures that are out there to be found, all the old stories and memories to be revisited.
Her earliest memory of feeling inspired to draw/paint something:
Drawing with my grandmother, who happens to be a fine artist herself, when I was about 6. We were drawing a landscape, and she told me that the sky needed to be colored in all the way down to the mountain tops, that the sky was never to be drawn just at the top of the page. I remember her saying, “The sky is everywhere!” It made me want to try and draw more mountains and sunsets and horizons.
Her tools of trade:
Found collage materials, antique papers, gouache, scissors, Exacto knives, and archival glue.
On Jenny’s life-to-do bucket list:
To take a real photography class, to really learn how to bake, get over my fear of flying, to travel to San Francisco and Iceland, to live in Vermont.
What she thinks there is too much of, and too little of:
Too much anxiety-multitasking-stress-rumination-running from thing to thing, too little focus.
What calms her down:
This might sound a little silly, but visiting a favorite bakery or coffee shop. There is an incredible bakery in Providence called Pastiche that has the most gorgeous cakes. Even if I just get a cup of coffee, just looking at all the beautiful colors and designs and descriptions of the flavors makes me happy and brings me a sense of well being!
The WILDEST situation she has ever experienced:
When I tried my hand at acting by starring in a short film made by some of my friends and colleagues from college. I ditched steady employment teaching high school English to fly to Slovenia for a 4 day film shoot, having had no real prior acting experience. I was completely out of my comfort zone, but I couldn’t be happier that I did it—there was absolutely no room for me to shy!
Her idea of happiness:
Being so completely engaged in my work, that I forget about everything else going on around me.
Being with someone you trust completely, who inspires to do what you love even better than you did on your own
With whom she would like most to go on a tête à tête:
Can I pick two? I don’t think I can choose just one! Edith Wharton & Giorgio Morandi. Both of them created the most simple, quietly elegant yet complex works, and I would love talk to each of them about their process.
Jenny’s WILD Wish:
To fill the walls of a gallery space top to bottom with every single piece of paper ephemera I have in my collection. I’d love to be surrounded by them all!