Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenn Fletcher.
Jenn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I knew I wanted to be an artist by the first grade, and fell in love with photography as a teenager growing up in North Carolina and attending an arts magnet school. I had an incredibly encouraging community that allowed me to focus on my art at a young age and had the opportunity to both freelance at a newspaper and start exhibiting my personal work before graduating high school. I went on to attend and graduate from The Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, GA, with a fine arts degree in photography and printmaking.
I then made my way to the Atlanta area, where I’ve ended up calling it my home for the past 14 years. Through my time here, my career has changed from shooting for a tattoo magazine to working for a photographic equipment company, to shooting portraits and fine art work on my own. While my subject matter and work has changed over the years, my passion for the medium certainly has not!
These days, you can find me focusing on my fine art photography work, teaching art classes to homeschool students, enjoying time with my family, and spending lots of time exploring outdoors. My path is ever-changing and evolving, but what has always remained constant is the hope and need to create work that is unique. Work that doesn’t look like or feel like the rest.
My current art work and primary series Microcosm Compositions, includes lots of imagery of animal skulls and bones, with hidden messages of environmental awareness and conservation. By bringing components from creatures that are no longer living into a studio setting, I am able to look past the obvious, observe it in detail, and even find little surprises and treasures in the process. I can discover the textures, stories, and eccentricities which lie within and present them in an uncommon way. Through lighting, pairing, and composition, I hope to breathe some life back into them and to inspire others to pause and more carefully inspect our natural world and be awed by its complexity and beauty.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No way! I feel like it’s always in a constant wave or mountain pattern with peaks and valleys. Some years are better, and some years are extra hard. My creative cycle fluctuates with times of intense focus, creativity, and work output, which is balanced by times of being burned out or feeling like a failure. I’ve faced struggles along the way in so many forms from lack of funds to keep creating the work, to lack of time and energy, to lack of support. I’ve switched genres and careers within the photography world multiple times, and it’s always hard to start over either in a new area of your art and/or in a new location.
Community and supporting local businesses is really important to me, so I’ve really had this drive to focus on presenting my art in this area for the past ten years. BUT, this has also come with its own challenges, especially being OTP. My style is definitely not for everyone (I wouldn’t want it to be!) and isn’t quite the preferred aesthetic in my area. I feel like this makes it harder to get my work out there as much as I’d like to in my community. As an example, I had a book release party and photo exhibit a few years back where we (myself and the owner of the venue) were asked to take my display out of the window. I can’t remember their exact wording, but essentially a few people didn’t like it and didn’t want that type of artwork or imagery shown in their specific little corner of town. It was art portraits, nothing obscene or offensive, just different. Even though that was years ago and with a different body of work, I’m sure that experience and some of that rejection and lack of support is still throwing up some mental roadblocks for me now.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
It’s kind of multi-faceted. Currently, my main focus is creating my fine art photography work, which I try to share and exhibit and sell prints of. I’ve heard multiple people refer to me as “the skull and bones lady” based off of my main subject matter, which I’m sure you can guess is based on animal skulls and bones (all ethically sourced, of course!).
I’ve also partnered with a few local community organizations to teach art classes to homeschool students over the past 5+ years, and then hand make art supply kits as well. The kits include things like handmade drawing charcoal and beeswax crayons, and earth paints. The handmade art supplies often intersect with my art classes, as they aren’t your typical kid’s art classes! We learn all about where our materials are coming from, how they’re made, and about earth-friendly alternatives to many of the chemically filled materials you would normally purchase in a store.
I love that I can do all of these things, and that they can often work together. Because I’m a working artist and homeschooling mother, I feel like I can bring an extra level of excitement, passion, and knowledge to my teaching. And getting to share in my student’s love of creating art sometimes motivates me more too. Together, we’ve really been enjoying public art this summer and worked to create art drop pieces to give away. It was a lot of fun, and it wasn’t just the students making art to give to others- I participated as well and gave some photography and little art kits away too. It feels like an especially important time to be sharing and offering what we can to brighten someone else’s day, even someone we don’t know and may never meet.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I’m not sure. I’m guessing any decisions or moves I would have done differently would have put me on a totally different path, and I like the path I’m on.
- Photographic prints (unframed) range from $75-$350.
- Art kits range from $7-$45.
- Art classes start at $12/class.
- Website: https://gallery.blondeshotcreative.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blondeshotcreative/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlondeShotCreativePhotography/
- Other: http://www.explorewildwood.com/p/art-classes.html
Artist portrait/personal photo – Kim Lindsay, Oh Happy Photography.
All other photography is Jenn Fletcher, BlondeShot Creative.