Everyday Art With Jenifer Maeda
Let's say you are scrolling down your vibrant instagram feed. You see a painting so darn cute that it urges you stalk the postee's profile, then their etsy shop, which is filled with other super cute, mini prints. Well, this happens to me all of the time, especially with artists and Jenifer Maedais one of my victims. I got a chance to speak with her about her images, which are rooted in realism, but doesn't avoid the abstract either. I came to this conclusion even before reading her biothat details a similar explanation. As you'll soon see, however, the bulk of her work heavily relies on her appreciation of nature, a contribution from her small town upbringing, and the capturing of life from the eyes of a travel enthusiast with strong values. Read the excerpts from our chat below and shop her extremely affordable prints here.
Quaint Revolt: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Jenifer Maeda: I grew up in Etna, which is a small town on the border of Vermont and New Hampshire, so I spent a lot of time in these two states. I went to UNH and received a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Studio Art in 2009.
QR: Why art?
JM: I’ve always loved art, ever since I could pick up a crayon. My mother encouraged me to go to art classes as [a child] and my father encouraged me to keep a sketch journal when we traveled or went on hiking trips.
QR: What inspires the work that you create? What's your process like?
JM: I am greatly inspired by the nature around us. Since I grew up hiking, on most summer days I found a real love and respect for nature. Now I backpack around the world on my own whenever I have the chance and I find endless inspiration from traveling/experiencing different cultures. I have a traveling watercolor pad that I can fit into my backpack and take anywhere . . . I use that to make quick paint sketches when I stumble across a beautiful spot abroad.
QR: What are some of your goals? Is art your only career interest?
JM: My goal this past winter was to sell a lot of art for the holidays and I’d say I succeeded. I, of course, want to gain more exposure and followers [but] without having to buy them! I hope people simply find what I do to be interesting and that they will want to support that. Art is my main career goal at the moment. I used to work at well-known corporate offices, but I found that the corporate world isn’t for me. I’d much rather work hard creating something with my hands that’s able to reach somebody else on a different level, not just endlessly searching for power or greed.
QR: Which of your creations are your favorite and why?
JM: I have a big interest in abstract art, specifically analytical cubism. I find the human body to be one of the most beautiful creations of nature, so I’ve created a whole series focusing on studying the human body. Trying to show the body in a way that’s not necessarily realistic is quite fascinating, because you know your work will never look like someone else’s.
QR: Are there any artist's that inspire you? Stupid question, I know. Who and why?
JM: Of course! I could make a never-ending list, but some of my top favorites: Pablo Picasso for his Cubism and changing the way we see art. David Smith for his Abstract Expressionism sculptures. Utagawa Hiroshige for his landscapes of Japan. I also find a lot of artists on Instagram that are extremely talented and inspirational.
QR: What makes you so . . . quaint?
JM: I really try to be inspired by nature and using my eyes to take in the world that’s around me. I don’t like staring at a computer screen all day, making digital changes and improvements to my art or trying to compete against everybody else on social media. If you let competition consume you, I don’t think you can ever really appreciate and be proud of what you create. I like capturing the world for what it is, the way all artists used to do it. I go out into the world with a pencil and a sketchbook and I create from that. I suppose you’d say that’s a bit “old school” compared to how people operate these days, but I wouldn’t change it. Hopefully, there are people out there that will appreciate my view and like what I create, and if so then I’ve succeeded.