Wednesday, March 10, 2010

HOUSE CALLS: Jen Renninger from Please Be Still

An artist, illustrator and designer from Florida, Jen Renninger is the talent behind Please Be Still, her Etsy shop selling prints of her own original illustrations. This is where I first discovered Jen's work, but delving further into her professional website Still Room Studio, opened up a box of real delights. I want to take some time to introduce you to the talented Jen Renninger, and luckily she has agreed to share her insights and inspirations with us today, in the first of my House Calls interviews for 2010.

"You are lovely" Postcard Set

I have loved her work, and particularly her thoughtful pairing of phrases and images, for sometime now. Jen's art shows her a passion for Mid-Century design such as with the work of Eames and Le Corbusier, typography and collage. Her art is diverse, colourful and thought provoking.

Modern Design Deck Poster

What was the career/education path you took to get to this point? "I started illustrating way back in 1998 almost on a whim. I’d been in Graduate school in Miami for Fine art with a concentration in photography. My undergraduate degree was in Commercial photography from Rochester Inst. of Technology and the contrast between the commercial program and the fine art program just didn’t work for me. So I left graduate school to become an illustrator. I knew I didn’t want to be a commercial photographer or a fine artist, so I compromised: collage illustrator."

Where do you get your inspirations? "This is a tough one because inspiration really is everywhere. I love listening to NPR everyday and really get a lot of inspiration from the various podcasts. I also love to go the bookstore to work. Travel is always a great inspiration."

"Everything is Going to be OK" Small Print

Describe the creative process in designing and constructing a particular piece. "For me a story is really a jumping off point. Whether it’s something an art director sent for an illustration or something that just grew organically out of listening to ‘this American life’ doesn’t really matter. There is just something about the written word that opens up images in my mind.."

Collage by Jen Renninger for Harper's Magazine

Where do you create your work? "I turned a second bedroom in our house into a studio. I generally work there but I also often take my laptop and head to the coffee shop or book store."

Please share some of your favourite artisans whose work you admire. American Assemblage Artist, Joseph Cornell famous for his distinctive box sculptures and collage. Kiki Smith, contemporary American Sculptor and Artist whose work often focuses on the theme of the body as a vessel for knowledge, belief and storytelling. Jenny Holzer, the American Conceptual Artist who uses text as art, focusing on using words and ideas in public spaces in work she titles "Projections".

London 2006, Jenny Holzer

Where do you sell your work? "On Etsy, Please Be Still. I also have spots on Poppytalk Handmade and Paper-n-Stitch but they both link back to my etsy page."

What/who are the things you love most in your life? "Great Loves: My husband and family, my pets. General everyday loves: warm weather, ginger, the smell of oranges, walking by the shore, going to the bookstore, going to a good movie, cooking dinner with my husband..Simple yet important things."

What would you do “in your wildest dreams”, if there were no restrictions? "Lately I’ve been dreaming of taking a year long trip. If money were no object I’d be on my way…"

Paris Collage by Jen Renninger for Food and Wine Magazine

What is your greatest professional achievement? "Years ago I produced a promo piece for my illustration business that was immediately picked up by a publisher turned into a book / collectors box set. While I’ve had lots of things published, this was the first really personal self- directed thing that was taken from an independent idea of my own and turned into a book. There was something really special about that."

What is new with you and your work? "I’m in the process of designing a new shop (one separate from my Etsy shop) and working on a new series of paintings." (I will make sure you are kept posted about this when it opens - Ed.)

Do you have a motto for life? "We are all connected"

"We are all Connected" Large Print

This was the first piece I fell in love with of Jen's. I just LOVE that motto and couldn't agree more. I too love NPR, working in Book Stores, travel and Eames design so that's a start! We are indeed connected Jen! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to learn more about you and your work.

You can see more of Jen's work on her professional website, Still Room Studio, and her blog not to mention in print around the world in her various design projects and commissions.


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