Jen Mann – Interview
I’m happy to share a little interview I did with Canadian painter Jen Mann. I hope that you enjoy the softness and subtlety of her work as much as I do!
KS: I notice the excessive use of white in your recent works. It is something I’ve been trying to figure out for myself for a while now, getting through to this very calm, very quiet place, the purity and loneliness of the soul, but I just can’t seem to reach it yet. How did you get there, and has your recent body of work changed you as a person?
JM: I think as I change my work changes. I have always been introspective, exploring existential and spiritual ideas. I am always trying to find ways to incorporate the way I see the world into my work, although I think a part of you ends up in your work, whether you mean it to or not.
KS: You seem to be spending a lot of time with your family, and you’re actually still living with them. How important are family ties to you, and are they proud and supportive of your work?
JM: Family is the most important thing to me. I love my family, and I am so lucky to have such an awesome supportive one. My mom is a shameless Facebook follower of my work. Trust that if you make a comment, she will know before I do. Living at home is just a product, for me, of being an artist. I need a certain amount of space for art + living space, and it just makes good sense to stay for the time being.
KS: You mentioned that your father is already 70, while you are still in your twenties. Do you think that your dad’s life experience made it easier for him to accept or appreciate the fact that his daughter’s become an artist?
JM: I hope my dad does not see this, I will shroud it from him. My dad is a super awesome human being, with crazy life experience, he is a huge hero of mine. I think his accepting of me being an artist has more to do with his own artistic background though. He owns a graphic design company, which I work for when I am not painting. He also gave me sunday morning art classes when i was little (5-10yrs old) with my brother where he taught us things like perspective color wheels and stuff like that. I laugh because they teach you that in first year university.
KS: You’re very much into sports, which I suppose is rather uncommon among artists. ^_^ Is it something that you need for yourself to find your way back into “the real world” after a long hard day of painting?
JM: I think for me its animal nature. I like to be physically active, it makes me feel healthy, which effects the way I work. Healthy body = healthy mind. I was more into typical team sports as a teenager but once you get to a certain age, its not the same anymore. I have really gotten into rock climbing / bouldering recently, which is a lot of fun.
KS: Why did you choose oils as your medium, and what brand of paints do you usually work with?
JM: When I was doing printmaking I fell in love with oil based mediums. They are just so much more ‘authentic’ to me. I love that they are toxic, it makes them real, and makes me feel ‘dangerous’ haha jk. I do like the texture of oils, and the time window you are given to work them, I never really got into acrylics, they didn’t click with me the same way oil did.
KS: My last question is, why did you decide to join an artist collective, and what are your hopes and expectations?
JM: When you emailed me, I was like ‘yes’ immediately… all the artist in this collective are awesome. The collective really gives you a chance to connect with other artists on a common ground, and feel supported, corroborate stories, and inspire each other. I am looking forward to some sweet collabs, and shows in the near future.
KS: Thank you very much for your time, Jen! I hope you enjoyed the interview.
JM: Loved it :)
Here’s a beautiful little video Jen made about herself. It’s worth checking out!