We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Christy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
It’s funny, I don’t consider myself a big risk taker, but when I look back, It appears to be quite the opposite. I can’t recall where I first heard, “Say yes, and then figure it out later”, but it pretty much defines the last decade of my life. The years following the birth of my children turned out to be some of the most exciting, messy, and risky years of my life as an artist, educator, and small business owner. Soon after my son was born, I was offered the opportunity to have a solo exhibition at an art gallery. At the time, I was hardly getting any sleep, and had only a handful of paintings completed. Of course I said yes! I painted during every nap my kids took. I woke up before the sun each morning, and painted well into the night. I figured it out and I ended up with enough successful paintings to fill the gallery in time for the opening three months later. Soon after my exhibit, I had the idea to open an art school on wheels. On a whim, I Googled “vintage Airstream art studio” and I found the perfect one for sale in Utah. I immediately launched a crowdfunding campaign and soon after I set off on a road trip to Salt Lake City. The Creative Capsule art studio opened up that Summer and I spent the next two years teaching art to both children and adults, pulling my Airstream art school to houses, galleries, festivals, and even farmland surrounded by horses and cows. It was a blast! My latest adventure involves a more personal creative challenge. My art focuses on the idea of Impermanence and transformation. Inspired by a collaborative project with New Mexico artist, Cathy Murray, I found myself facing the fear of cutting up an 8 X 12 ft painting into small pieces. The first slice was difficult, but soon a feeling of pure joy and freedom rushed over me. The act of cutting up my paintings has now become a meditative practice that I look forward to. Reassembling the pieces together and transforming them into something new, whether it be for a piece of jewelry I am designing, or a collage work, is an exercise in play. I rarely begin with a plan and am often surprised at the evolution of each piece I create. I guess I really am a risk taker. Looking back on all of these experiences, makes me feel excited about what will be next. I suppose now I can’t imagine living my life as an artist any other way!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Finding time to create my own artwork has never been easy! I am an art teacher, and a mother of two young children. I spend most of my time caring for my kids, and teaching my students all about how to create art of their own. I am so lucky to be a mother and an art teacher. I truly believe I have two of the hardest and best jobs ever! The only downside to these jobs, is that they leave me very little time to make my own artwork. That being said, sometimes I feel like the lack of time is an advantage. I have much more time to think about what is is I want to make, and when that time comes, it is never wasted. My work is always evolving. I’ve dabbled in sewing, illustration, even party hat making! One constant is my passion for paint. I am obsessed with color, shape, and pattern, and how they work together. A few years ago, I began cutting my paintings into small shapes and reassembling them into different arrangements. When cut into fragments, a painting takes on a brand new existence that is super interesting to me. Eventually, I began transforming these smaller pieces into jewelry. Art as fashion is my new obsession.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When my friends and family visit Dallas, we never miss a trip to at least one of the amazing art museums in DFW. Other favorite places we go include relaxation time at Kings Spa, lunch at Flower Child, and dinner at True Food Kitchen. I love taking people to North Park to shop because of all of the artwork. The Dallas Farmers Market, for some fresh watermelon in the Summer, and brunch from Bam’s Vegan is always a favorite.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Matt, has been by greatest support over the past two decades. Any time I have a new idea, he is fully in, and is always there with the question, “What do you need me to do?” He is really the best!
Nominate someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.