Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jenifer J Renzel

Name: Jenifer J Renzel

What do you do?
Full time technical writer, part time artist.

Where can we find your work?
 Kaleid Gallery (downtown SJ) and

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
Sometimes ideas or images just pop into my head and I’m ready to go. Other times an old object will be the catalyst. I go to a lot of estate sales and flea markets, and I get inspired by old toys, broken hardware, rusty garden tools, and so forth. Sometimes an object is just crying out to become part of an art piece.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?
That is a tough question. I think they have to go together.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
Joseph Cornell, Jean Michael Basquiat,
Alexander Caulder (his ‘circus‘ puppetry:,
Hieronymous Bosch, and Wladyslaw Starewicz (

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Maybe James West from the original Wild West TV series.

When do you get your best ideas?
I get good ideas when I’m working out, or right before I fall asleep. Traveling and seeing new places also fires up my creative juices. I keep a little notebook where I accumulate these ideas for when I hit a creative dry spell.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
All sorts of found objects plus lots of wire, two-part epoxy, and crackle paint.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I don’t have any formal education in art, but I’ve taken various miscellaneous classes and workshops over the years. I’ve also been lucky to have artistic friends who have shared their techniques with me. I sometimes wish I had some formal training in art because I think it would improve aspects of my work. Maybe someday I’ll go back to school ....

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
Watch scary movies, scrounge for art materials and found objects, read mysteries and thrillers, play with our kitties, and go on weekend trips with my partner.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
The Kaleid Gallery was really important for me -- it gave me an outlet for my art, and got me connected with the local art community. Cherri Lakey and Lacey Bryant get a big thank you from me for all the work they do to keep this gallery vibrant.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
I think it’s important to make the art that you love and try not to worry about what others think. If you lose yourself in it, it’s probably good. Some people will like it, some will be neutral, and some will dislike it. That’s OK. I once had someone tell me that one of my pieces caused her to have a visceral reaction and made her slightly nauseous. That’s not necessarily the reaction an artist seeks, but I think it just shows one range of impact. 

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, congrats Jen! Your work inspired me to try to get into Kaleid, so thank you!