Jennifer smithwestfield, new jersey, US
I have been drawing as long as I can remember. It’s like breathing to me. I never really thought much about it. I just loved to draw and would always ask for and find art materials. I still get excited till this day going into an art store and purchasing supplies. My parents always encouraged my creative urges. My mom would lay out paper all over the kitchen floor, when I was a child, and it would entertain me for hours. I remember cutting out pictures from Seventeen magazine and collaging my entire closet as a teenager. I sponge painted my bedroom walls a bright orange color which came out hideous, but never less I was encouraged to express myself. I always knew art was a part of me I just never understood how much it made me who I am.
One day, as a junior in high school, I doodled all over my accounting test which I didn’t study for again. Who knew that the doodles would change my life forever? My mother was called up to school and the teacher told her point blank that I did not belong in the finance department. I belonged in art school! It never occurred to me, at that point in my life, that art could be a path chosen not just a past time. My accounting teacher recommended an artist who gave lessons. Instead of punishing me for failing his accounting test, he rewarded me by opening up a whole new world for me. I need to look up that accounting teacher and thank him for changing my life. I was directed to meet Sal Busacca for art lessons and in a short amount of time,
I was introduced to a world of art I never knew.
Sal showed me how to construct an art portfolio. I completed artwork pieces consisting of watercolors, charcoals and pastels. The lessons were in his basement and the direction he gave me was priceless. It was daunting, to say the least , when I arrived at Parsons to apply for art schools. After taking lessons, for less than a year, I had completed only ten pieces for my portfolio. Other applicants had been preparing for years for this and had extensive portfolios.
But, despite my short art lessons , I made every college I applied to and even got a scholarship! College took me to Hartford University where the head of the art department strongly recommended that I major only in illustration and not in graphic design. There was something about graphic design that had interested me and I didn’t think that any one person should stand in my way and limit my possibilities. So, determined to follow my intuitions, I transferred to School of Visual Arts in New York City and studied graphics design. My work was published in Society of Publication Designers before I even graduated. After graduation, I was hired by Garden Design and Saveur magazine in Soho, New York City as a graphic designer. This first job open up the world of editorial design to me. I quickly moved on to a position at the Boston Globe as an art director for their Magazine. My desire to always challenge myself with my art lead me to apply for graduate school. I was accepted into a typography master program at London School of Design, England.
Since Graduating with my masters in typography, I went on to work in Princeton, New Jersey for a pharmaceutical design agency. It was at this time I met the love of my life. I left my job, apartment, friends and family to move to Minneapolis, MN to be with him. It was here that I finally worked for MYSELF. I also taught college courses about typography, figure drawing, package design and color theory. My clients were Target, General Mills and Exhibit Group Giltspur. Then, I became engaged and decided to move back home to New Jersey. I worked for Toys R Us in Wayne, New Jersey and then Exhibit Group Giltspur in Soho, New York City. At this time, I became pregnant with my first child. I was so excited since prior medical issues lead me to believe that it would be difficult to ever become pregnant. Well, four years and four children later, the doctors were wrong. I am a very proud mom of four gorgeous children. Two boys Brandon Tyler and Trevor James and Two girls Courtney Anne and Casey Lynn. Although I swapped late nights in a office in soho for feedings and being a stay at home mom. My creative urges never left me. All four of my children and husband are artists which always makes it a huge part of my life.
As crazy as my life is at times now, I wouldn’t want it any other way. My children teach me everyday to look at life in wonderment and to have no inhibitions. When all else fails, laugh until you have tears running down your face. They give me the drive and encouragement to share my artistic journey with the world. My children turn to me and say, “Mom, you did a real good job at your drawing.” That is the only critic/client I care about these days! My only wish is that my illustrations bring a smile to your face and joy into your life. Maybe... Just maybe, you’ll want to own one of my prints to hang on your wall and find your own inspiration from it.