Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview with Jenni Desmond


I’m 26 and a freelance artist and illustrator. I live in a blue house near the sea in the quirky city of Brighton, UK, and share a studio there with 5 other artists. I’ve just finished a Masters in Children’s Book Illustration and before that did my degree in English and Art history and taught in France for a year. When growing up I always dreamed of being an illustrator but it didn’t seem a possible career choice at the time so I put it in the back of my mind. Slowly though, I realized drawing and illustrating was something I was incredibly passionate about and I enrolled in a couple of short courses and became obsessed, working 18 hours a day until I realized it had become part of my identity and my oxygen, and so I decided to go with it. Since then I’ve had several exhibitions, love making products to sell on etsy, do lots of commissioned work and am forging a career as a children’s book illustrator and would also like to develop my work more for interior design. I still tend to ‘work’ night and day and I love every minute of it.

Why do you like to print?

Printing gets me out of my comfort zone (pen) and I love the messiness and freeness it brings. Print changes the tone and texture of a line, making the line more sophisticated and interesting, and I love the spontaneity printing can often bring to your work- you never quite know how it’s going to come out!

What is your favorite print medium and why?

Overall, I most enjoy printing techniques that give you texture, tone and room for expression, so I think for me it is etching. It keeps a spontaneity and freshness to your work because you have to draw straight onto the plate with little room for mistakes. It is also a slow and meticulous process which requires quite a lot of perfection and patience to get right. The sensation and smell of the hot wax, the acid bath that can ruin your plate in seconds, and the big press that makes you feel straight out of the middle ages I find all incredibly satisfying and fun. I really like the final outcome of an etching, the quality of the line can be beautiful, and you can get some really interesting tonal qualities, especially when adding aquatint.

How long have you been printing and how has your work evolved?

I’ve only been printing for about 3 years so I’m very new to it and am discovering new techniques and methods all the time. I’ve started doing a lot of monoprint recently, and love printing onto textile. I am interested in creating work that doubles as being functional, and not solely decorative.

What inspires you?

A big one is music- I always listen to music when I work and what I listen to depends on the mood I am trying to create in my work. I am also inspired by pattern in nature, interior design, psychology, stories, and find that some of my best ideas come when I’m cycling or running outside. I think it is also very important to constantly come out of your comfort zone and see and experience lots of new things.

How do your promote your work?

Blog, facebook, twitter, word of mouth, exhibitions, magazines, emails…

Are you working on any particular projects now?

We are having an open studio in Brighton next month (note - this interview was published after Jenni's open studio) so I’m getting work ready for that at the moment and I am working on book illustration. I am also developing lots of ideas at the moment for some new exciting printed products to sell in my shop over the next few months…watch this space!

Tell us one random fact about yourself

I have a mole wedged between my toes which is called ‘the rabbit poo’ - unfortunately it does looks like that.

Check out Jenni's Etsy Site and Blog

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