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1. Welcome Jennifer to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?

Hello Jack, thank you for including me.
I am a retired Print / Web instructor and Commercial Graphic Designer. My life partner and I live in Westminster Colorado and enjoy taking road-trips to explore forgotten places throughout the Wester U.S. We visit ghost towns and take lots of film and digital photos. Our intention is to preserve and portray the ephemeral nature of our environment.
I use many of the images I shoot in my digital art. My partner has a darkroom that he uses for analogue imaging. Recently we have been experimenting with alternative process prints with the end results being analogue digital hybrid art.

2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?

I did not have a typical home situation. Yes, in the sense that I felt compelled to escape into my imagination. As an only child, I entertained myself by drawing and crafts.

3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?

I don’t believe that I ever made a conscience choice to have a creative career. Creativity has always been intrinsic to my life and a critical means of survival. My imagination was a byproduct of my efforts to embrace the absurdities of my environment.

4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
I do remember the first time I felt guilty for getting paid to do something really loved! I was a bit terrified at the thought that I could never again settle for the “it’s just a job” mentality. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I had with The National Writers Club, that’s where it all began.

Jennifer Willoughby
Jennifer Willoughby

5. When did you first discover digital art?

I began my career as a graphic designer in the mid 80’s with The National Writers Club and back then an artist would separate spot colors with Rubylith®, full color imagery was cost prohibitive and traditional pasteup using a stat camera, Chart Pack and typesetters was the way things got done. My first introduction to digital was in the late 80’s working with PageMaker & Corel Draw. I soon discovered the Adobe Creative Suite and that rocked my world! Everything was very different from then on, so much better! I feel lucky to have had this experience and perspective.

6. Are you very hands on with the processing of digital files?

Absolutely, throughout my professional career, I was elbow deep in the technical aspects of design and production. As an instructor of Electronic Prepress, my focus was on the standards and practices of the industry. Now that I’m retired, I can explore my creativity with relatively no rules. I throw everything I’ve got into digital applications like Photoshop and Photo/Video Leap and I’m even able to make art and animated shorts and Demo Reels my phone. It’s so liberating to be able to create anywhere you have an internet connection! I find the possibilities unlimited and process so much fun!

7. Your art in your own words “takes the viewer on a whimsical journey into a world of juxtaposition and the ironic.” Have your own creative imaginings been part of a similar journey into the unknown?

Yes, I find my bliss while I’m making art. I try not to take my journey too seriously. I inject a sense of humor and playfulness into my work. I do have a darker side where I allow myself the freedom to express my anxieties. I’m intrigued by the duality of my monsters.

8. Could you give us a little teaser as to the process - that helps you create such fabulous artworks?

My projects always starts with sketches. As I tighten up a concept, I might incorporate the drawings as parts of my digital designs.
I like to work on multiple projects at once. Maybe due to a short attention span, I need to step away and let my ideas simmer. I try to stay in the “zone” as much as possible when I work. Being in a state of “flow” opens doors where ideas are plentiful.
I use different mediums and take photos at each stage of the process. I might use a background I’ve painted in multiple digital composites and create variations of color and add nuances within the software. I was into felting for a while and occasionally you will find images of fiber and texture in my digital creations.
In a nut shell, I’ve always believed crayons to be highly underrated. Encaustic wax is also part of my process. I apply wax and color then transfer digital and analogue images onto the surface. To enhance the design, I might apply Venetian Plaster and colored gels to build up texture.

Jennifer Willoughby
Jennifer Willoughby

9. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?

I’ve always admired the work of HG Giger and HP Lovecraft. I am in awe of films by David Lynch. Phil Tippett has released a new film titled Mad God using stop animation which is absolutely brilliant. I love the works of Maxfield Parrish and Albrecht Dürer in relation to use of print making and application of color.
I get inspired being in a creative environment and around other artist. I am an exhibiting member of the Denver Art Society. What an eclectic group of very creative and talented artists! That kind of passion can be so infectious.

10. Do you have any tips for any inspiring digital artist/photographer who is using software, computer tech, or picking up a camera for the first time?

Don’t get in your own way! Negative self talk and self doubts are obstacles of your own making. Create the things that give you joy. Anyone can learn to use digital tools. Industry Standard Applications like Adobe and Apple, become standards because they adhere to a similar familiar design. The software and hardware interface needs to be intuitive or the masses of end users won’t buy in, making it the standard.

11. Your use of whimsical imagery together with a strong colour palette is simply fantastic and somewhat unique. Can you put into a few words your own interpretation of your artworks?

Being a child of the 60s and 70s has had a huge influence on my ascetic. Sometimes my work is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s use of iconic imagery. I like to take familiar items out of context to provoke discord and challenge standard values and beliefs.

12. Thanks a lot for your valuable time and interest. You can include any other details you want to talk about here?

I just want to say thank you for including me in the Influx Gallery Family. The representation you provide is stellar and I’m excited to be one of your artist. It’s an honor to be listed amongst such amazing talent! I look forward to the journey.

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