Meet Jennifer Allevato of Ann Arbor. Jennifer has basically been painting all her life, beginning with cat paint-by-numbers that she is still quite proud of, even thought the brown Number 12 ran out that one time and she had to improvise with tan Number 9. She took a small hiatus in high school, momentarily focusing her attention on terrible ska bands and dressing like Gwen Stefani, before buckling down and taking her training more seriously in college. She apologizes to her parents for taking that cartooning class in junior high. It just isn't funny when fruits and vegetables speak French!
Jennifer has a B.A. in Studio Art (painting & drawing)from West Virginia Wesleyan College and an M.F.A. in Costume Design from The University of North Carolina School of Arts. She also spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, studying art at the Scuola Lorenzo de' Medici and learning the proper pronunciation of "bruschetta".She has shown her art and design work in both the U.S. and abroad. Jennifer currently works in a small in-house studio, where she lives with her husband Jason and their two cats, Red & James.How long have you been creating your art work?
All my life, really, but I truly started focusing on my current work at the end of 2011 when I decided to open an Etsy shop. Etsy certainly isn't the only forum in which artists and artisans can or should sell their work, but it is awfully convenient to help create an online presence.
What inspired you to start creating your art work & how did you turn it into a business?
I've always loved painting and creating, but I had a wonderful teacher in high school who encouraged me to become much more serious about it. In college, one of my professors convinced me to major in art and continued to push me to become better. After trying a few different career paths, I turned my art into a business because I realized that nothing else made me as happy. Your job doesn't have to make you happy, but when I'm not drawing, painting, sewing, or creating, it feels as if a part of me is missing.
What makes your art work unique or distinctive?
As much as I like to say that I'm a painter, I often end up using several different media in one piece. I think artists who focus on perfecting just one media are absolutely amazing; but often I will set out to paint something, and it just doesn't feel finished. I've been known to mix watercolor with acrylics, ink, graphite, fabric, thread, and paper. There's something so romantic about being able to say "I'm an oil painter", but I think I have to call a spade a spade and accept that I'm a little promiscuous with my media.What do you most love about the creative process?
Seeing your vision become something totally different by the end. As Andy Warhol once said, "my paintings never turn out the way I expect them to, but i'm never surprised."
What do you enjoy doing besides making art?
Baking cookies, watching Hitchcock films and film noir, hunting down Cheerwine (a reginal southern pop, hard to find outside of the Carolinas), browsing vintage and antique shops, and hanging with my husband...we have a shared ridiculous sense of humor.
What do you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
A ballerina. I still want to be one.
You can find lots of Jennifer's pretty paintings at Yellow Door, as well as on her website. Stay tuned for more fun and interesting info about Jennifer all this week!
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