Monday, January 23, 2012

January Member Interview

"Brown, Red & Green"
mirrored pendant
Jennifer Partridge

What inspires you to create?
My first response is to say everything because my work is an exploration of life, its various stages, and the paradoxes and beauty that are inherent to it. Depending on my mood anything can spark my creative muse. Sometimes inspiration comes from a quietly withering rose and other times a boisterous belly-dancing hafla. And it seems the more I explore, the larger the breadth and depth of my inspirations become. This journey of discovery is also greatly aided by the other wonderfully creative souls I am meeting along my path. Their loves and passions have inspired me in ways that I found quite unexpected!

Photograph from theater performance of "Cntrl+Alt+Dlt"
Did art pursue you or did you pursue it?
Both. I grew up in a home full of crafts and music. From age five to fifteen I took dance
lessons and acted. When I went to college I tried to negate my love for the arts and pursue science but ended up frustrated. I left college with a media communications degree and wandered through several jobs, many of them in the arts, trying to find my niche. I realized during this time I really wanted to be a selling artist; however, it wasn't until very recently, through perseverance and divine intervention, I created art uniquely my own and also commercially viable.

"Wild Roses" hand made cards
If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
Sad. My creativity is a huge part of who I am and not honoring my artistic soul would leave me very unfulfilled. With that said I think that my artist can have many different outlets. Currently I'm enjoying creating a business to sell my art. I love talking to others
about art and teaching people about it so if opportunities arise to do that too I will!

Attendees at Bonded Llama open house working on
my first Re-arrangeable painting
What other jobs have you had that aided you on your artistic path?
Oh my goodness I don't even know where to start! Many of the jobs I have had validated how much I wanted to be an artist although sometimes it was because of how
miserable I was when not working in a creative environment. Let's see... in college I worked as an on-air d.j. and manager at WKNC. I was also chief promotions officer
for a local promotions agency and record label. Out of college I became a band's tour manager for a summer. Then I returned to NCCU to pursue an art education degree. While there I worked at the NCCU art museum as part of my work study and loved it. Learning about artists and art history is so exciting! After that I worked at a photolab; printing photographs, installing murals, mounting slides, laminating signs, and trimming prints. While working at the lab I learned all about photography and became a photographer. I worked with other photographers around Raleigh as an assistant and second shooter. I love to take photos although my favorite photo shoots are when people are having fun and mostly pretend I'm not there. I also enjoy going out on photo adventures just to see what I can find! While working on my photography business I waited tables...a lot. blah! Although I laugh because waiting tables seems like such an
artist stereotype :P Most recently I was the production manager for an independent
"Red, Green & Black" Tennis court
abstract series
artist. This was probably the most helpful in recognizing that I could go into business for myself selling my own art. It just took me awhile to discover what art I could make that was commercially feasible. Currently my biggest and most important job is being a mom. I have learned patience, compassion, selflessness, perseverance, and loyalty. All of these gifts I had touched upon through art but never grasped them the way I have through parenting. Now my art has far more meaning and depth.

At the art supply store which section do you gravitate to first?
Where I go usually depends on what I'm working on. Recently I've been spending a lot of time creating jewelry. My shopping cart has been full of adhesives, plastic gloves,
metal working tools, butane torches, wire, jump rings, and resin. Although I always enjoy just wandering around to see if anything new catches my eye ;)

Asian-inspired photographic
What new art techniques would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
Right now I'm working on expanding my metal-smithing and acrylic painting skills. I have some experience with both but would like to achieve a higher degree of skill in these areas. My plans are to take another jewelry metal smith class through Pullen Art Center in March and a few painting workshops with Liz Miller in the spring.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Make the Arts a core part of schools' curriculum. It saddens me deeply that Arts are not valued (by some) within our schools. Arts teach self-expression, compassion,
tolerance, diversity, self-awareness, appreciation, critical thinking, and perhaps most
importantly creative problem solving and emotional intelligence. Arts reflect our culture,
our beliefs, our fears and our desires. It baffles me that some people do not see that
these attributes are just as important to society as science or math. If I could not fail
I would help the blind see that it has been creativity which has driven us forward. All
the math and science in the world won't solve problems, it is the people who seek new
ways to answer old questions that bring about change. It is my greatest hope that as
our technological engine plows forward people have the forethought, self-awareness, and
emotional intelligence to steer it in the right direction.

Thanks for your thoughtful answers, Jennifer...we're really looking forward to seeing your new work this year!


Jeanne Rhea said...

Such a great interview! So great to know more about you, Jennifer. Wishing you the best in all of your artistic endeavors.

Penny L Arrowood said...

BRAVA! This is yet another great installments on the Member Interview series! Thanks for continuing this endeavor, Michelle!

WOW! Thanks Jennifer for sharing more of your background and views on creativity with us! So glad that you found us! Like Jeanne, I look forward to seeing where these creative pathways take you in the coming year.

Rita Marie said...

Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer!!

Katherine D. Stein said...

Great interview Jennifer!
Cheers and good luck for your artistic future!

Unknown said...

Really great interview. Jennifer, your work is amazing. It was fun to learn more about you, thanks for sharing.