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Monday, October 15, 2012

Jen Kindell: Teaching & Creating Art

Happy Monday, everyone! In today’s pinterview, Jen Kindell gives us a peek into her creative world. When she’s not busy teaching art to kindergarten through 12th grade students, Jen is creating beautiful silkscreen posters of local produce.

Hi Jen! First, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Florida on the gulf coast. I ended up at the Rhode Island School of Design where I got my BFA in Illustration in 2008. At that point I knew I wanted to live surrounded by creative people, so I moved to San Francisco. In June I completed a graduate credential program to teach K-12 Art in California. When I didn’t find a job right after graduating, I began creating artwork.

I am silkscreening seasonal posters of fruit and vegetables that are grown in California. The process of learning about each plant is fascinating—the history of where they are grown, the farms that they come from, and the harvest cycle. You know when you are driving down a random country road and you see a sign and it is hand-painted. My work is inspired by the people who create those signs. I love with hand-painted typography and images. Urban artisans fascinate me too. You see their work walking through the Mission District in San Francisco in unassuming places. Some are thick with paint from the years of reapplication.

The multi-stage process of silkscreening is very new to me. I learn new things about it each day. I am constantly being surprised and having to do things over. Each layer of ink used for silkscreening is made with a separate screen, and to make each screen requires a separate transparency mask. In my work I paint each transparency by hand, rather than just printing them with, for example, an inkjet printer. I feel like it really brings me back to my roots. I carefully paint each layer trying to channel the focus a sign painter would have. It feels so good to do something challenging and where I am learning all the time.

How do you use Pinterest?

I am a collector. I have boxes full to the brim of ephemera — things like classic ticket stubs from past concerts, assorted paper textures, National Geographic maps, vintage photographs, etc. I am always collecting and sorting. I was introduced to Pinterest about a year ago, from a friend Alexa Wan. Pinterest helps me collect within a digital space rather than cluttering my living and work spaces with too many material items.

You have several boards dedicated to creating things like handmade. and diy. Did you end up creating anything in real life from something that inspired you on Pinterest?

For a couple years after moving to California, I had a hard time making things. My boyfriend convinced me to paint again, and I signed up for a night class at City College. When the final came around I had put so much pressure on myself and I felt paralyzed. I struggled with trying to find my own voice as an artist. I knew I wanted to create something important and meaningful for myself and other people but just didn’t know what that was. My instructor suggested that I collect images and see what sort of themes were in the images and start from there. Back then, I’d find images, print them out at Staples, and pin them all over my wall. Now I use Pinterest.

Pinterest has influenced how I create and helped me to get back to my creative roots. Seeing others invested in their own creative pursuits is incredibly inspiring.

We’re fascinated by your board hiding. — what is the story behind these pins?

I am interested in the theme of hiding. Whether hiding a secret, or in shame, or because of guilt, all humans can in some way relate. One of my personal goals as an artist is to create work that others can connect to in the most human of ways. I began pinning several images where the figures were hiding their faces either in photographs, paintings, or collages. A pattern developed and I decided to throw them all into one folder.

Who are some of your favorite pinners?

Lucia’s pins tons of handmade objects, folk art, textured patterns with potent and vibrant colors.

Alexa Wan’s pins are almost as inspiring as she is. If you are interested in education check out her resources for students.

Sarah Anderson’s pins boil down to the essence of simplicity. Her collection has a nice narrow range of muted colors similar to what you may find in a Morandi painting.

Brian Ferry has only one board but it is a great assortment of relatable photographs.

Thanks for the pinterview, Jen! When you’re not hiding, we look forward to seeing more of your silkscreen art on your website and your Etsy store. Happy pinning!