Artist Jennifer Jung, who lives in Hotchkiss, north of Montrose, will be celebrating the opening of her new show Friday at Diane West Jewelry & Art on Main Avenue.
Originally from Ohio, Jung began her career as a mural artist and decorative painter. After about 18 years in the business, she taught herself to paint with oils, and the rest is history.
I had the chance to chat with her a few months ago about her first mural gig and the advice she would give to artists just starting out.
Q: Is painting your full-time job?
A: It is now. I always tell people that I feel really fortunate and blessed to have honestly made a living my whole life as an artist. I look at that and think, “That’s fantastic. You’re not rich, but who cares?” Ever since I was 4, I was always drawing and painting, always wanted to be an artist, and … I think around the age of 25, 26, everything changed when a friend of mine called me and said, “A lady I’m making curtains for, she’d love to have sunflowers and ladybugs painted in her little girl’s room, and I thought you could probably do that, couldn’t you?” And I said, “Yeah, I probably can.” This led to about 18 years of being really busy. I just had a fabulous time. It had its chapter in my life and kind of ran its course. I really had a desire to do my own stuff, which was so fascinating to discover. What a different thing that is – how, I don’t know – intimate or scary or something. It was so interesting to me.
Q: Do you have any advice for artists coming up – for new artists?
A: When I started these murals, when I started doing all this interior-decorating painting, deep inside, I didn’t really feel that confident about it, but I just kind of told myself, “You know, if someone else can do this, I know I can do this,” and I guess I learned to present a little air of confidence to the homeowners because they needed to feel really good about having you get started on their whole wall.
It was kind if similar when I took this leap and said I’d do (a) solo show. I was thinking, “Oh my God, I said yes before I even knew how I was going to do it.” But then I was committed to it. I don’t know if I can put that in terms of advice, but maybe self-confidence, and probably more than anything is just really loving doing it. Doing what makes you happy – maybe if it’s even just your style of painting, you know?
Before people were even looking at my stuff, or paying attention to it or caring about it, I was like, “I don’t really care. This makes me happy, doing it this way.” And then you get better. And also, really working at it. I’m a real perfectionist with my stuff, and people are aghast to find out that a lot of times, halfway through I quit and I tear it off and I start again. I don’t do it as often as I did a couple of years ago, but there are a lot of times where I’d be like, “Nope, I’ve lost it. It doesn’t have what I felt, what I was inspired by. Somewhere along the way I lost it.” … I’m my own worst critic: If I’m not pretty pleased with it, it doesn’t make it out of my studio.
So my advice: Be confident and find your happiness in it, because I think that comes out. I think people feel that.