Our current collection of Jenni Stringleman art (prints and original works) – with their paint-blurred hydrangeas, roses and other blooms – remind us of a summer daydream, like the feeling of slowly falling asleep in the afternoon sun. Jenni says that her art is an expression of joy – and we reckon you can feel that joy, leaping off the canvas in movement and colour. Perhaps part of it is the delight at having recently returned, after many years building a successful career in animation, to her childhood love of painting. It just goes to show – it’s never too late to do a 180, and change directions to follow your passion.
Describe your work in 4 words for us….
Alive, painterly, joyful, thoughtful
You arrived to a painting career after a long and successful background in graphic design and animation. What made you take that leap of faith to pursue something you love, and are you now full-time with your art?There were two things I absolutely loved growing up, art and music. I always thought I’d paint after hours while I worked at a real job, but time proved that to be incorrect! I also thought I’d play the sax in David Bowie’s band, but as of yet that’s not happened either:) I’d lost a couple of people close to me, people who were in my stage of life, and I just had this growing, undeniable feeling that I had to do something more with my life. I wanted to paint some pieces as a legacy to leave to my kids as well, it was really that simple. Joining a local painting group was SO nerve wracking! I really felt sick to the stomach when I had to go that first day. But Robert Campion, (the tutor), and all the other people in the group were so welcoming. Robert taught me so much practical stuff about painting, and gave such encouraging advice that it very quickly become the highlight of my week. I’m a stay at home mum, so I just work off my dining room table, but I’m in a great position now with daycare and school to be able to commit about 30 hours a week to the cause!
What would you say to others wanting to make something they love to do into a full-time career?
Sometimes you can’t for practical reasons. But my feeling is if you get any opportunity don’t wait for the studio, or the gallery. Just create in your own place with the best quality tools you can afford. For me it’s been a very lucky and happy process that some of what I painted people wanted to buy, which meant I could paint more, and it just took on a life of it’s own. And most importantly, I have the support of a good fella and kind friends and family who helped make it possible. But yes, listen to that inner voice nagging you. You have one life, so if you need to create something, you probably should. It is so good for you! My best advice is don’t get yourself into a position when you have heaps of overheads and pressure to perform.
Describe your favourite/ultimate environment in which to paint (music on? time of day? place?)
Music is ALWAYS on, I find a quiet house very freaky! I listen to lots of old 90’s classics like Faithless and Massive Attack when I want to tune out (I know all the words haha), gentle classical if I’m feeling grown up or working on a portrait, and George FM for whole days at a time. The best environment for me right now is at home. I do fancy the idea of a studio, but I don’t need it yet. This way I can jump in and work for an hour here and there if I get the chance. Often with my daughters behind me now, painting their own masterpieces on toilet rolls and shoe boxes!
What has been the highlight of your painting career so far?
Being in the window at Endemic in Ponsonby has been so cool. I get a big grin on! Selling my first piece out of my local cafe (Vauxhall, here in Devonport) and meeting new people from it was lovely.
What are you working on at the moment?
I was just totally into life drawing and painting nudes when I started my career, but my mum asked for a hydrangeas painting, and I thought ‘geez, ok.. just for you mum’, but guess what!? Haha I am now floral queen. I LOVE my flower paintings, which started off fairly realistic, but painterly. Then about 9 months ago I tried something more abstract once Endemic World Gallery got behind me. Their customers are really groovy and love the bright layers of colour, hot neons peeping through the cool greens and blues. It feels like I’ve really found my niche. Some of my current work is created with the palette knife and I’m totally digging it. They’re like deconstructed florals. I usually have a commissioned portrait or two simmering away too. They’re little heirlooms for the families, oil paintings to last for many generations.
What would be a dream collab/project you’d love to do?
ANYTHING with Andrew Salgado would be a dream. He’s a Canadian legend working out of East London. I’ve been lucky enough to get a bit of an online friendship going on, and I just love his work. He was talking of running a residential course out of Venice, that would be amazing.
I’d like to play the sax for David Bowie.
Original Hydrangeas oil painting by Jenni; art print reproduction of the original work (we love how the colours look in a black frame)