An Interview with Jenifer Renzel by Teseleanu George

· Full name:

Jenifer J. Renzel

· Date of birth:

July 1965

· What is your current location?

San Jose, California

· Tell us a little about the art styles that you use.

For whatever reason, I only like to use old stuff– Victorian era or older is best. I’ve been told that I have a Dada type style in which things fit together visually even though they might not otherwise make sense together. So, maybe I’m a Dada assemblage artist or a mixed-media artist from a different era.

All I can say is that I spend lots of time holding things together to see if they look right. I’m constantly searching through my bins of junk looking for the right body or the right head or the right hat or whatever. I like to have several pieces going at the same time because sometimes it’s really hard to find just the right piece before I can continue. I like to move on to another project when the inspiration hits, then move back to stalled projects. Closure is hard. It’s hard to know when a piece is really done.

· What are your tools of trade?

First, I need the objects … boxes, frames, dolls, toys, old, ratty books with pictures, rusted metal hardware, old, dirty fabric, stuff found on the beach and in the woods, and lots of uncategorizeable junk. Then the tools and supplies. I use tons of hand tools … pliers, snipers, punches, bolt cutters, shears, hole punches, hammers, chisels, etc. For the supplies, lots of glues (epoxies and wood glues), wire, tiny screws and nails, tons of paints, crackle paint medium, collage medium, walnut stains, varnishes, dulling compounds, fimo, and various types of wood.

· Why did you choose these art styles?

I didn’t actively choose them … they’ve just come out as part of my personality. Before I was making assemblages, I was already digging around for old, weird stuff. I’ve always gravitated towards used junk, not sure why. I was introduced to assemblage by a couple good friends and fellow artists, one of whom has passed away (may she RIP). Once I started really making assemblages (maybe 5 years ago), I could tell I’d finally found what I wanted to do. I messed around with jewelry and some other sculptural styles before that, but they didn’t grab me the same way. I like making little worlds with weird old creatures that live in weird old little shrines/rooms/lodgings. I love it when I get a good idea for some creature or scene, then can actually go into my workroom and start to pull it together.

· What other art styles would you like to experiment with?

I’d like to try my hand at flat collages … I’d like to try to create the little worlds and scenes but on a flat plane …

· What is your favorite art movement and why?

I really enjoy surrealist artists such as Hieronymus Boschand Salvador Dali. I also love Alexander Calder’s circus.

· Who is your favorite artist and how do you connect with his/her works?

I think many assemblage artists will tell you that Joseph Cornell is an inspiration. I feel the same way.

· What influenced you to become an artist?

Well, I am still faced with keeping up with my day job in order to pay the bills. I’ve always enjoyed art though – since I was able to pick up a crayon. It would be a dream if I could make enough money to do art full time, but I’m far from being able to accomplish that. My current thinking is that after I retire from my day job, I’ll start my second full time career as an artist.

· How long have you been an artist?

Seriously, only in the last 5 or 6 years. Less seriously, my whole life.

· Where do you get your inspiration from?

There are some great artists on Deviant. Just browsing about, I’ve come across folks such as: shards0fwords, PlayaFairy, GregPDX, RevolverWinds, EyeBallPingPongPro, and woefoep. A lot of my inspirations come from just being present in my life. I’ll see something in a magazine or in my surroundings or from a dream or a memory …. things just pop into my head. I carry a notebook and a pencil with me and scribble out rough pictures so I don’t lose the ideas. When I’m in my workshop and don’t have a current project, there’s always something in my notebook waiting to come to life. It’s fun to look back at the original rough drawing and compare it to the final output. Sometimes, there’s no drawing in the notebook – things just come together in the workshop and the whole planning step is skipped. This happens spontaneously – I see a weird head that happens to look really cool next to something that is lying out from a previous frenzy to find the right piece for some other project.

· Do you promote/ sell/ showcase your artworks?If you do, how?

I sell my works at the Kaleid gallery in downtown San Jose.

· How the internet did influence your art?

Deviant art has been a big influence. I get inspired looking at other people's work – even trading with other people or sharing tips and approaches.

· How can people contact you?


View the work of Jenifer Renzel in LITnIMAGE's Spring 2011 issue

Click here for Jennifer Renzel's bio