search /// jenny brown

i’m jealous of jenny brown

Yesterday I got a new twitter follower, so as usual, I went to check out their portfolio… and found these! Beautiful, strange, organic collages by Jenny Brown, an American artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. Obviously, I wanted to know more… well, her “about” section was just as beautiful, and just as mysterious. It reads as follows:

We spent a lot of time debating whether or not the blackened landscape was beautiful or horrific. My opinion kept changing daily. I had gotten the idea to put my bright blue wool socks on one morning… I thought they might cheer me and everyone else up, but I was wrong. Even in times like these, quick fixes are still quick fixes, and I never wore them again. I think everybody knew there was nothing to be done but to take stock of our new surroundings and accept them. Nobody really wanted to be there, what choice did we have?

Exhausted, we spent long days dusting snow off the frozen ground and trying to dig holes in it. I was put in charge of maintaining an abandoned free-standing chimney that must have been attached to a house at one time. One day when I was wading through the bramble that had grown around it, I decided to stick my hands in the opening of the chimney to see what I could find… I pulled out a curious collection of items: a frozen and dried lime, a dirty sponge, some nails, a hairbrush. I wasn’t sure what to do with them or why they were there… I had hoped for something simple… a bundle of photographs, maybe a book? I spent long hours lining the objects up on the ground in different orders and looking at them to try and figure out how they fit together.

Night time was spent making escape plans, though we all admitted our new world was almost beautiful in the dark… the sky was always starless and velvety, and the remnants of the forest became a charming menagerie of tunnels and hiding places. Fact was nothing but fiction in these moments and we sometimes were hesitant to sleep because we didn’t want to miss looking at our surroundings in the night light. It was the only time I felt calm and hopeful. As the sun rose each day, we found ourselves silently wishing that all that imagined beauty from the night would really be before us.

“starting from square one. again.”


Today is about starting from square one, AFTER you’ve done all of the things you were supposed to do to get the life you wanted. It’s also about jellyfish alien creatures. Yes, Rhode Island based collage artist Jenny Brown in my guest today. She wrote a really heartfelt story on Facebook the other day, and I just had to get the inside scoop.  You can listen under that flowering jellyfish, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s begin with a few of her recent pieces that I’m currently obsessing over:


I would happily swim with these elegant creatures. Look at those thin beautiful lines, those perfectly cut bits ‘n pieces. LOVE.

And now, stepping back in time. A dark time. These were the large, very black, incredibly dense (and sad) pieces that Jenny transitioned to during her MFA:


So different than her now very effervescent work. But, she pushed through and found the light again. Here are the first few pieces as Jenny began finding her way back to her “creatures”:


Ah, that’s more like it. Although those charcoal pieces were beautiful in their own right, these are just Jenny… and she knew it.

I asked about the kind of paper she uses for her lovely colorful backgrounds, which seems like a perfect excuse for me to show a few more of my favorite “Jenny Brown” collages:


Yep, love them all… So. Much. Color! I’m totally going to give pink card stock a shot. Beautiful.

Ok, so I found these WIP shots on Jenny’s gorgeous Instagram feed. Clearly, she’s a woman after my own heart:


Gasp! Seriously, I need my scissors RIGHT NOW. Look at that cut-image covered table! Call me a collage nerd if you must, but my heart is racing.

What else makes my heart race? Sugar! The only thing I regret about this episode was not asking Jenny about her deep passion for donuts. All of these sweet gems are also from her Instagram feed. I want ALL OF THEM:


Unicorn donut!    

And finally… Jenny, her cat Max, and Jenny’s perfect (apparently high maintenance) red lipstick:


Perfection. Max must’ve been too tired to put lipstick on for this shot. Thank you so much to Jenny for sharing her story of full-circles, loops, and starting over… so inspiring. Thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting another episode, and thanks to YOU for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Bennington College
  2. Amy Sillman
  3. School of Visual Arts, NY
  4. RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)
  5. Jessica Brilli Episode
  6. Sidney Pink Episode
  7. Anthony Zinonos Episode
  8. The Philadelphia Story (Jenny’s fave movie from high school)
  9. Kirstin Lamb Episode
  10. Jenny on Instagram
  11. BUY Jenny’s work 

ps. Oops, I forgot to mention this! The sign-up page for the course I’ll be part of in VENICE is ready! Yes, two weeks this August during the Venice Biennale!?! I’ll be teaching a few classes and workshops from August 7 – 20th via the European Cultural Center’s Academy, alongside several other instructors, curators, etc. Tours of galleries, meeting with curators, art making, passes to the biennale, AND gelato? There are only 20 spots for the weeks I’m going to be there, so if you were thinking about it, pop over there asap. Hope to see you in Italy… ciao! 

“big salad”


I have loved the work of American artist Jessica Brilli for years. I’ve written about her a few times, and I’m sure there are many more posts to come. She has a love of all things vintage, as do I. The other thing we have in common… curating. Yep, we’re going to talk about a very exciting show {that kinda makes me want to cry} which will open later this month, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Ok, you can listen right up there under that lovely couple, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few pieces from her “Static” series, the work I posted about way back in 2012:


So good. But alas, she “got tired of painting typewriters”, and so she turned her attention to vintage, suburban landscapes. I follow her on Facebook, and she often posts work in progress. I find it fascinating to watch her work develop that way. Here is one of my favorite progressions:


Ah! A peek behind the painted curtain. That piece is one of the images that was inspired by the set of slides she bought at a garage sale {such a cool story!}. Here are a few more from that “Slide Show” series:


… and those are the slides! I also asked for a tiny peek at her studio, and look, a vintage radio… surprise, surprise! Of course, I had to ask her about her motel paintings. The image below is one of my favorite pieces of hers. It whisks me right back to family road trips:


Love. Speaking of love… “Jealously Curated | East Coast Edition”. What!? Yes, Jess and a bunch of other artists have put this beautiful show together, that opens November 23rd in Cambridge MA. The theme… everyone in the show has been written about on my site! How crazy amazing is that? And yes, I got a little teary-eyed when they emailed to ask me if I’d be ok with it. Ok with it? Um, YES. Here is a peek at the fantastic artists whose work will be included:


Gah! So, so good! I wish I could go to the par-tay {Jess said the opening party was in November, but it’s actually on December 3rd}. If you can go, please do… and then send me photos! Alright, that’s that. There was a quick mention of a Big Salad with the Seinfeld crew in the speed round, and then we said goodbye. Thanks so much to Jessica, for EVERYTHING, and thank you so much to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

{Links to artists above: Anna Jensen / Jenny Brown / Airco Caravan / Erin Fitzpatrick / Jeremy Miranda / Leah Giberson / Taliah Lempert / Zin Helena Song / Jessica Brilli}

art for your ear : podcast


Yes. A podcast! After quietly writing daily art posts for years, in the spring of 2015 I thought it was time to add a little audio to the visual.

Here’s the idea behind ART FOR YOUR EAR: When I studied art history in university, my favorite part was, well, basically the gossip. I loved hearing why artists did certain things. What was going on in their personal life, stories about other artists they knew and worked with. ART FOR YOUR EAR is exactly that… inside-scoop stories from amazingly talented contemporary artists. Each episode is just long enough for you to listen while drinking your morning coffee, or during a weekend run, or while working in the studio. Ultimately it’s a chance for all of us to get to know these successful artists, who also happen to be regular people with hilarious stories, before they’re in the art history books. I post episodes every Saturday so that you can start your weekend with a bit of art… for your ear.


TO SPONSOR: Art For Your Ear is currently sponsored by Saatchi Art. If you’re interested in sponsoring as well, we’d be happy to send rate sheets. Please email:

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97. MEGHAN HILDEBRAND : m is for mysterious
96. BRIAN DONNELLY : fire, failure, and fatty snacks
95. ANNA HOYLE : humor, how-tos, and hindsight
94. MOLLY HATCH : an opportunistic optimist
93. CAT SETO : a cat in paris
92. JENNY BROWN : starting from square one. again.
91. SAMANTHA FIELDS : if i’m in the zone, leave me alone.
90. AARON SMITH : no excuses, no regrets … lots of beards
89. LORI LARUSSO : cucumber shamu
88. NAOMI VONA : a fearless act
87. ELISE MORRIS : inevitably, it changes
86. JAY DART : greetings from yawnder
85. NATALIE BAXTER : warm guns ’n bloated flags
84. CLAIRE BREWSTER : more love, less fear
83. JANE DENTON : simply complex
82. JUDI CUMMING : hey, mama
81. SHANNON RANKIN : not enough hours in the day
80. TREY SPEEGLE : changing the rules
79. ESZTER BURGHARDT : lands of wool and cake
78. BUNNIE REISS : a disciplined free spirit
77. LISA CONGDON : imposters, egos, inner critics … LIVE in portland
76. KRISTEN MARTINCIC : a passion for process
75. TONYA CORKEY : experiments, risks … and dryer lint
74. ASHLEY GOLDBERG : patterns ’n positive passwords
73. MARTA SPENDOWSKA : starting in the background
72. MARTHA RICH : arma-dino
71. TERRENCE PAYNE : pastels, perfection, and prince
70. JIM BACHOR : ancient art … and potholes
69. RYAN HESHKA : pinups, pulp, comics, and canadiana
68. TINA BERNING : step-by-step. every day.
67. KATE ROHDE : don’t discount small opportunities
66. SANDRA ETEROVIC : i guess i better be an artist now
65. CATHERINE GRAFFAM : cheesiness aside, art gave me purpose
64. AMANDA BRAZIER : red bank red is from my yard
63. ALI CAVANAUGH : modern frescoes and micro evolutions
62. REBECCA LOUISE LAW : painting with flowers
61. EMILY BARLETTA : art. therapy.
60. KATHARINE MORLING : drawing with porcelain
59. REBECCA CHAPERON : magical portals and secret painting parties
58. ERIN M RILEY : comfortable in my skin
57. JAIME ROVENSTINE : jellyfish in a trifle
56. GUNJAN AYLAWADI : take your pleasure seriously
55. SALLY TAYLOR : a giant game of telephone … with art
54. KIRSTIN LAMB : cute and poisonous
53. RACHEL CASTLE : castle in the car
52. SCOTT LISTFIELD : astronauts and dinosaurs
51. ZOË PAWLAK : chance favors those in motion
50. LOLA DONOGHUE : lola, don’t be precious
49. ARIS MOORE : big mouths, ukuleles … but no chins
48. AMANDA HAPPÉ : defiance is my favorite motivator
47. BROOKS SALZWEDEL : who doesn’t like a dinosaur
46. SARAH GEE MILLER : organizing the fray
45. JOËL PENKMAN : it began with biscuits
44. NIKE SCHROEDER : nothing is a mistake
43. ANDREA D’AQUINO : discipline … and a bit of chance
42. CAMILLA ENGMAN : distant friends
41. STEPHANIE K CLARK : painting with thread
40. SUSANNA BAUER : i’m a bit impatient
39. XOCHI SOLIS : paper nerds unite
38. SAMANTHA FRENCH : ebb and flow
37. HAGAR VARDIMON : hunting for paper
36. CASEY ROBERTS : nature nerd
35. KIANA MOSLEY : late one night …
34. LEAH GIBERSON : hello, me?
33. AUTUMN REESER : soul of a rose, skin of a rhino
32. MARYANNE MOODIE : textiles, treasures, and a new tribe
31. HAPPY HOLIDAYS : the best gift ever …
30. WAYNE WHITE : hoozy thinky iz
29. BOBBIE BURGERS : welcome to boburg
28. ESTHER PEARL WATSON : ufos, diaries, and underdogs
27. SIDNEY PINK : what charms you
26. JESSICA BRILLI : big salad
25. ASHLEY MISTRIEL : fill the whole ream
24. JESSICA BELL : you can’t make art in the cracks
23. MICHELLE KOHANZO : a nod to creativity
22. KATE BINGAMAN-BURT : make piles of crap
21. DEBRA BROZ : a really slow magician
20. KELLY PUISSEGUR : almost happy
19. JAIME DERRINGER : design milk by day & sketchbooks by night
18. TIFFANIE TURNER : blossoms & burlesque
17. KATE WOODROW : a pitch on a silver platter
16. MAX WANGER : photography was not in the picture
15. HOLLIE CHASTAIN : i sandwich everything in that stuff
14. RACHEL RYLE : latte foam, goop, and gumption
13. LISA GOLIGHTLY : if it scares you, do it
12. MARK BRADLEY-SHOUP : walk the walk
11. ROBERT NOVOGRATZ : how much for the tape measure?
10. LISA CONGDON : push through the messiness
09. VINCENT SERRITELLA : painted into a corner
08. MARY KATE MCDEVITT : you’re in cider town
07. BEN SKINNER : equal or lesser value
06. AMANDA SMITH : girls are my vocabulary
05. PEREGRINE HONIG : on the other side of pop culture
04. TREY SPEEGLE : good luck with that
03. STEPHANIE VOVAS : comfort zones and lack thereof
02. ANTHONY ZINONOS : if it buckles, it buckles
01. MARTHA RICH : meat and cake and lobsters and wigs