Hello, Rachel Grant here writing from a rather damp, cold North Staffordshire in the UK.
I wanted to share with you a little bit about this area I live in and the way in which it inspires some of my artwork.
If you have had a peek at my portfolio you will notice that I have a bit of a passion for painting images that include a piece of pottery or two!
North Staffordshire is known affectionately as "The Potteries" because historically this area has been an important centre for ceramics since the industrial revolution. Wedgwood, Doulton, Spode, Minton and many more all built their legacies here. The iconic bottle kiln is a familiar sight for me and although a lot of the local factories have been lost, there has been significant investment in regenerating some of our historical sites into heritage centres that have become wonderful places to visit, explore and be inspired by!
One of the closest factories to me, only a twenty-minute walk away, is Middleport Pottery where the wonderful Burleighware is still manufactured today. The factory’s historical character has been preserved and recently a visitor centre has been created around it, including museum areas, displays and a lovely café with a cosy wood burner - and of course all Burleigh tea sets! It has become one of my favourite places to visit, mooch around, photograph and sketch at.
When I was younger and learning about our local history I would often imagine myself as one of the paintresses or even one of our famous designers like Clarice Cliff or Susie Cooper. When I am busy at my desk now, I still channel a little bit of this dream as I paint the pottery pieces in my illustrations. I am particularly drawn to blue and white pottery which we have produced plenty of in the Potteries but also of course the beautiful Delftware from the Netherlands offers boundless inspiration.
In my most recent series of artworks I decided to give this inspiration centre stage and created a little collection of paintings with a piece of blue and white pottery in each one. All of these original works on handmade paper sold and flew off to new homes before the New Year, but they are now available to license.
While I paint these pots into my illustrations my mind often wanders to the (unfeasibly dark) wood clad designer’s room at Middleport Pottery Factory and I dream of continuing the Potteries legacy in my own small way by designing patterns for a range of ceramics. That really would be a dream come true. So you see these little still life pieces hold more than just those flowers and the foliage, for me they hold a little piece of my heritage.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share this with you. Until next time, Rachel
One of our favorite clients (and likely one of your favorite reads) is FLOW Magazine. Every assignment is so very clever and creative and their products are just THE best! Of course, we think they pick the very best artists too! Watch this charming little video to get an overview of FLOW's Vakantieboek (Vacation Book) 2016!
FLOW's Vakantieboek (Vacation Book) 2016 is out now! Jennifer's paper doll delights me and readers around the world as we slide in summer relaxation mode!
You can purchase the book here! Happy Swimming! - Jennifer
2015 was an banner year for us. We opened our doors to a welcoming community of clients and artists, international publications, our very first trade show, press beyond belief and client work dreams are made of.
Here's to a even more stellar 2016! - Jennifer
Here is how Monica sums up the interview:
"Jennifer is a hot new artist that has been around for some time. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design as a textile stylist designing prints for children’s clothing and lingerie, she raised her family, designed textiles and worked away. Fast forward several years she started a daily sketch book project that reignited her career in a huge way! I love her story and how she is such a hot ticket after working as an artist for the last 20 years (that’s pretty much the best kind of story). Tune in and listen to her journey, it’s a refreshing one! Her work is inspired by the everyday small things, a bird in a tree, a garden, crowds of people, a beautiful table with luscious food and her clients (like Kate Spade home and Abrams Books!) are eating up her style, her voice and her point of view. Can’t wait to see what she does next!"
What agent wouldn't be delighted to have the renowned Jill McDonald join their already stellar roster? I am absolutely gleeful to represent Jill starting today!
Jill brings a portfolio rich with decades worth of stunning illustration. Her color palette and cut paper/paint work is striking and unique. I adore her lettering and the whimsy she finds in the very smallest detail of her work.
Jill's archive is crammed full with sugar-plum-wonderful Christmas illustrations, florals like you have never seen, and narrative composition that makes for the sweetest dreams. You'll notice that Jill also has a particular knack when designing for boys - a rarity in this corner of the market.
Oh, and did I mention - stunning florals for grown ups too?
Please join me in welcoming Jill to JNA. We are so very pleased to have her with us! To see Jill's brimming archive, just send me a request. Enjoy! - Jennifer
Of course, it’s always nice to get publicity and it helps generate awareness for our eight talented artists and the wonderful work they do. That’s a given.
More important is the satisfaction in being recognized by our peers in the industry. Knowing that all of our hard work building this agency over the past few months has not gone unnoticed gives us a great deal of pride, both personally and professionally. We’re feeling all warm and fuzzy inside to see these gorgeous spreads in such a prestigious magazine.
Perhaps the best part – the warmest and fuzziest aspect – is the validation of our approach to art, to business, and to life in general. We’re nice people, we work with wonderful clients, and our artists strive to do their best. What we have created here is more than an agency, it’s a community. Artists working with agents serving clients with the most beautiful artwork we can deliver. We truly feel that we’re making the world a better place, just by being here doing what we do.
The thing is, we’re all in this together. (You can take this to mean the licensing industry, the art world, or just being alive on Planet Earth in 2015.)
Next week, we add our 8th artist to the agency - and once again, I can barely contain myself! Tune in on Wednesday to help us celebrate!
Finally, thank YOU for being part of this community. Your continued support is what keeps us going. Magazine articles like this one only confirm what we already know – we all have art in common and we’re overjoyed to have you here with us.
My fondest regards, Jennifer
Wow, wow, wow! I am SO HAPPY to see the artists featured in FLOW this month! If you don't know, Flow - check them out here. You can subscribe to the magazine, Flow Weekly, find inspiring blogs + articles + great links to illustrators worldwide, and more! Design delights abound!
More exciting work to share in future issues and a book! Enjoy! - Jennifer
Yesterday I participated in a show at Dixon Place called The Secret City (a little theater on the lower east side in Manhattan). Its a variety, cabaret, service celebrating the arts. One of my lovely followers, Maritza is involved in the production and sent along an email to see if I'd like to be involved. It sounded a little different, weird, odd but fun. It was one of those times where it felt right to just say yes and see what would happen. And the theme was COLOR!! I decided to do 9 22x30" monochromatic paintings in a rainbow show of color, I chose mainly a table top theme so I would know what to do each time I went to work.
I painted these in acrylic and gouache, It was fabulously fun, I've been wanting to paint larger for some time but just never seem to get to it. But in reality 3 weeks wasn't enough time to paint so many, I got 5 done. Here are 4 plus a purple one...
But the wall behind the stage where I was going to hang my work was huge and I wanted impact. So I chose 13 pieces of art from my sketchbooks and blew them up to 30x43" and had them printed. I scan all my art at 400dpi, for this I used an app called alien skin blowup that converts the art to vector for a sec, blows it up to whatever size and then returns it to pixels, It WORKS!!
At home on Saturday my husband and I put command strips on the back of each piece so when we got there we could just hang it up. It still took over an hour, there were singers, and musicians and dancers all practicing at the same time. But it happened. Everyone was so welcoming and fun. When the show started, the MC, Chris Wells came out, who had been in jeans and a very plain button down shirt like this:
What a hoot! He was funny and interesting. There was great music, poetry, stories and meditation. A dancer from American Ballet theater danced a gorgeous blues piece, we laughed and and really enjoyed ourselves. Everyone involved was so professionaland creative. They brought me up to ask questions, which I have a video of but cant seem to upload, If I can figure it out I will add it later. Thanks for looking! - Jennifer
Please see my whole sketchbook project here
As a member of Jennifer Nelson Artists I enjoy the work of the other illustrators but I don’t often get to see them or work with them. Here’s what happened when we had a rare chance to collaborate.
One night at dinner whilst doodling with some fellow artists, I noticed that some of us have a tendency to fill up every available space in a drawing, while others (like me) tend to use a lot of negative space. So I thought I’d try switching it around and experimenting with adding art to every inch of the page.
I met Anisa Makhoul my fellow artist at JNA for the very first time this summer. We met by the sea in Brighton when she was travelling around in Europe with her family. Anisa and I enjoyed a couple of days together and our sons Oslo and Reginald became friends, laughing, eating ice cream and getting up to mischief. I love Anisa's work, she is a fantastic girl and so funny. We had a blast and we said “We need to find a way to collaborate.”
What we came up with was to make stamps, because its a way to travel the world without getting on a plane. Being an illustrator gets rather lonely sometimes and projects like these are a brilliant way to communicate and spend time with like-minded people.
The first theme chosen was horses so I indulged in a bit of pony homage and drew some chubby horses. Then I got sidetracked into making motorcycles as my mind raced away with a made-up word association game. Horses - Horsepower - Motorbikes.
Anisa chose the second theme: love. I got off to a rocky start but then I started drawing little tiny Mexican tin hearts and soon... my love stamp was born. That’s the true story behind my new stamp art. Enjoy - Monika
This past autumn I decided I wanted to do some designs that would work well on fabric. You can't get more autumnal than squirrels so I started by sketching a few. I had a lot of success with my Give Thanks fox and sunflower fabric designs a while ago but didn't want to repeat myself. So I spent a happy evening building myself a mood board inspired by something I love that is quintessentially autumnal - tan leather and heather grey knit. I'd also been quite taken by the grey pumpkins that kept popping up all over Pinterest. They contrast beautifully with the usual orange ones.
Once I had my palette established I created a collection of six designs featuring birds, squirrels and autumnal foliage. I think it came out nice and had a very different (less whimsical, more collegiate) feeling to the Give Thanks fabrics.
Apparently my mom was also inspired by my color palette and knitted it into a cushion cover!!! Enjoy! -Victoria
There weren't too many people there so I got a bit over enthusiastic and talked a lot, maybe too much... But whoa, she is really lovely and kind. It made my week! - Jennifer
Her observations on life and her painting really speak to me. I found this interview with her on The Great Discontent, it's a fabulous read, she has a great story!
What can I say? I am simply overjoyed to announce Anisa Makhoul has joined us! Anisa has a talent like no other in the industry. Her quirky sensibility married with this cozy home style is simply irresistible to me and I hope to you as well!
You can see more of Anisa's work here and by requesting a private gallery of her work. Welcome, Anisa Makhoul, we are SO GLAD you are here! - Jennifer
Hi!...Bee here!...just thought I'd share a little glimpse into part of my creative process today. Whenever I start a piece of artwork I always like to get my ideas down by making some drawings on large pieces of paper. I generally like to use loose sheets as I find working in a sketchbook (something I tend to reserve for when I'm out and about) too restrictive. I also love to use soft graphite sketching pencils.
Once I'm happy with how things are coming along, I'll then move onto finishing my drawings digitally." - Bee
Hi!...a little something from Bee today...we braved the winds at the weekend, togged up the wellies and went off in search of somewhere to stretch our legs! Not too far from our home is a great arts centre which has a lovely big pond in the park surrounding it. There are super-wide paths for the boys to scoot their scooters, and fun places to play in with little nooks and crannies to hide in!...We were so surprised to also find hiding in a cranny these incredible mosaic people...if only they could have shared with us their tales of how they came to be there, but what a wonderful find? Bee x
This week, I am counting down the (2!) days until SURTEX by featuring sneak peeks of each artist's work.
Victoria is becoming world famous for her color palettes, her keen design eye and her expressive lyrical quality. (Victoria's work is like happiness in a bottle.) Our clients are working with her on children's bedding, growth charts, Christmas paper goods, and a line of gifts and bolts of fabric so dear you will swoon at first glance! I reckon, I am the luckiest agent in town! You can find Victoria (and me) @ Booth 518! Enjoy! - Jennifer
This last one is SPECIAL thanks to ALL of you who have supported us as we launched the agency, licensed or commissioned art and continue to make us feel so very welcome in this wonderful world of art!
This week, I am counting down the (3!) days until SURTEX by featuring sneak peeks of each artist's work. Hold on to your horses, Jennifer is a knock out.
I fell in love with Jennifer the instant I saw her work. Great painters are few and far between and this one is as special as they come. Jennifer's work evokes joy, delight and a unique perspective on this world. I am so fortunate to receive a painting from her nearly every day. Can imagine a more lucky inbox? Jennifer is currently working on her second (self-authored) book, a commission for hope chests for 3 lucky CT girls, loads of cards, and repeats for children's clothing in Brazil. Keep your eye on Jennifer, she is flying to high places... and I am SO LUCKY to be along for the ride! Come meet Jennifer and see her jaw-dropping work @ Booth #355 or contact me to see hundreds of her images in our archives.- (the other) Jennifer
This week, I am counting down the (5!) days until SURTEX by featuring sneak peeks of each artist's work. Sharpen your pencils - this is a good one!
Tuesday is for Lauren and her snarky sensibility, inborn humor, fantastical lettering and scrumptious line work. Clients are eating up her work, with all sorts of licenses and commissions for editorial maps, suitcase fabric design and greeting cards galore. Once again, I am tickled pink (shades of indigo, actually) to represent this über-cool, super-fine talent! I'm thinking temporary tattoos next! What about you? Something tells me, your product would sell better with a little Lauren mixed in! Visit Lauren in Booth #559 or contact me for to see the more than 150 illustrations in Lauren's archive! - Jennifer