Q & A with Artist Jennifer Sanchez

I recently moved from a small apartment to a home with double the square footage to decorate.   Figuring  out how to blend my personal preferences with the style of house and personality of each room requires A LOT of Internet-based window shopping.  I came across Jennifer Sanchez’s work on 20 x 200,  and I was immediately taken with the bright colors and flow of her pieces.   The energy and movement are just what I need in  my home office.  Now, if I could just choose a favorite…

Tell me about background Where are you from and how did you come to be an artist?

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida.  I took as many art classes as possible and was one of the editors on the yearbook staff. I love both worlds — the graphic and layout design of the yearbook and the more free form art classes, exploring ideas and media. But I wasn’t sure how the two worked together. I knew I had to be involved somehow in the arts and believed my best bet was to be graphic designer for a magazine. That never happened, thank god. I went on to double major in fine arts and graphic design and minored in art history.

Describe your work. 

I think my work, especially now, reflects those two degrees (graphic design and fine arts)  My paintings from 3 or 4 years ago were more focused on creating space and movement  Recently, I’ve been stacking geometric patterns on top of one another to create subtle vibrations.  The patterns are stacked but never fully intact.  There are many layers in my work, and that’s primarily due to trial and error.  I may have a wonderful pattern executed, but if the color, proportion or the pattern itself doesn’t service the painting well, it needs to be covered up or at least pushed back a bit so I can try something else out.  I think all the steps taken to make a painting are interesting, and so you can always see those traces of past layers in my work.

What is your studio or work space like?

My work space is my living room.  It’s a pretty tight and modular set up so  my “living” area is not compromised.  It helps that I’m a neat freak.  My home is VERY important to me and being able to live with my paintings while they are in progress is a BIG deal for me.  I’ve said may times that I spend a hell of a lot more time looking at my work than actually painting.  Being able to look at my work helps me to slow down and spend more time with the paintings and figure out what happens next.  Here’s a picture of my studio space from my blog. (Check out the entire post.)

What are the tools of your trade and why do you prefer these mediums?

I’ve been using panels instead of canvas for nearly 2 years, and I LOVE IT!  I can sand, tape, scrap, and wet and paint the hell out of those panels and they take it!  The hard surface lets me do a lot more than I could on canvas.  I use a wide range of materials, but by far white gesso is my best friend.  It allows me to stare over again and again and again. I also use: acrylic paint, ink, Krink markers, sandpaper and colored pencils.

I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect soft colored pencil that doesn’t smudge and has rich, intense color.  Suggestions?  The colored pencils are really key now.  I’ve been drawing lots of grids on my painting to help guide my drawing of Navajo and other existing patterns.  The pattern’s individual parts are too small (for me) to use a brush and I feel most comfortable using pencils.

What are the major influences behind your work?  

Currently, geometric textile patterns, whether it’s Navajo or Andean weaving, Anni Albers or Marimekko patterns.

What keeps you motivated/inspired?

Looking other’s art.  I go to as many gallery and museum shows as possible.  I’m pretty psyched to see the American Musuem of Natural History’s Bioluminescence exhibit, and the Jewish Muesem has a Vuillard exhibit through September 23rd.

How do you take a concept from an idea to a finished piece of artwork? Please describe your creative process.

I don’t ever have a fully formed idea in my head, just a starting point.  It could be a color combo or a pattern I’d like to execute.  Even though I’ve laid down a grid and staring down a pattern in a book, I’m always bound to mess up or get confuse.  Which is fine.  It’s these “mistakes” that usher in new ideas.  As I mentioned earlier, I spend a lot of time looking at my paintings, so after each step in the process, a painting can easily stay up on the wall and meet my gaze for several days or several weeks before I touch it again.  I work on several paintings at once, different sizes and either on panel or paper.

Do you have a favorite piece of art or project that you’ve created?  Why does it stand out to you?

No, I tend to be done with a painting when I’ve decided it’s finished; I am not that attached to them. I don’t consider my paintings to be that precious.  Each painting is an experiment and none of my experiments has turned out perfectly.  I’m not a mission to make a “perfect” painting. It’s more about the making and looking at the paintings and trying to get them to evolve to their next stage.

What artists do you feel a kinship with? Whose work do you you respond to?

Oh man, so many.  My personal painting god is Robert Rauchenberg because of his pure attitude torwards art and the art market.  Marcel Duchamp.  Contemporary artists that blow my mind include Kadar Brock, Keltie Ferris, Sam Moyer, Shannon Finley, Anja Schwoerer, Will Yackulic and Gail Skudera.

What’s on you presently working on? Are there any new projects in the works, or things you are interested in creating in the future?

In addition to recreating geometric pattern, I’m also very excited about creating fabric using patterns of or from my paintings. See examples here and here 

Where can our readers find more of your work and purchase pieces?

Check out my blog:  http://miss-sanchez.com/ 
Original work for purchase:    Big Cartel     The Beholder     Etsy
Prints for purchase:  20×200     Poketo     West Elm     Wheatpaste

Have a favorite creative you’d like to see profiled? Email me!


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