ARTIST INTERVIEW with Jen Garrido of Jenny Pennywood
Company: Jenny Pennywood
Artist: Jen Garrido
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Went to undergrad at Sonoma State University in Northern CA and received my BFA in Painting and then went on the receive my MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. I currently live in San Francisco CA with my husband, Josh and my 2 girls, Jemma and Juna.
I make paintings under my real name, Jen Garrido and my home textile line is called Jenny Pennywood.
Describe the path that lead you to the work you do now.
In 2008 I created and named my alter art ego, Jenny Pennywood. I had a strong desire to do more commercial work but didn’t want to make the work under my real name for the fear of hindering my fine art path. Back then I felt very protective of an art career that I aspired to but didn’t have yet. Anyways, when I started Jenny Pennywood I had no idea who she was, what she was into and where it would go but that was OK with me. It felt good to have this other person I could be as an artist. Jenny Pennywood came at a good time because the economy crashed, all of the galleries I was working with closed and it just felt like my art career just halted. But this gave me the space to dive into Jenny Pennywood. I started doing design for events and weddings which is how I fell into doing textile design. After I had my first daughter in 2011, that is when the home textile line really began to take shape.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
I think for me, my main driving force is that if I am not painting or working on my creative businesses I feel lost so I keep working to find myself.
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
For Jenny Pennywood, I set out to make a product where you can use it, wash it, stain it, wash it more and don’t treat it too preciously. I personally love the idea of something worn in and soft. When I started the line, I worked with my screen printer to get the right amount of ink and binder so the surface pattern maintained its integrity and I hunted high and low for a fabric that is thicker and really can maintain a lot of usage.
With Jen Garrido art, my interest lies in “choice and process”. I’m interested in color and how it guides me around a piece, I pay attention to the weight of a shape and how it leans and holds, I have a love for the physicality of the materials that I am using and I am just so into formal elements. So if I can touch on these things while I am working, things are good.
What is a new idea I have been working with lately?
It has become so clear that I can no longer keep the art of Jen Garrido and Jenny Pennywood apart. I’ve spent the last 10 years trying to keep them separate and finally feel ready to bring them together. I’ll be incorporating more Jen Garrido art on the Jenny Pennywood site and while this all sounds so basic, it still feels like a challenge to wrap my head around. So next year it is my goal to chip away at creating a space where both can live while at the same time feeling good about it. I will also be developing a new branch of Jenny Pennywood where I offer yardage and possibly upholstered furniture and also incorporating some of my husbands chairs (he is the man behind Chairtastic). There are a lot of new things in the works! Do you have any objects you like to keep around you as inspiration? What are they? My studio is full of vintage patterned clothing, textiles and fabric swatches for color inspiration, vintage books of illustrated foliage, lots of art books, more vintage clothing … I am a big thrifter and flea market person so when ever I find something that inspires me, I get it and bring it to my studio.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
I do think it is important. Before the days of Instagram, I felt like I had to really work hard to connect to people. I wasn’t all that comfortable networking back then but with Instagram, I am able to invite people into my studio and process very easily and also I so value that I get to see other people’s lives and businesses. It has made the growth of what I do so much more rich – and of course I do have hard days with Instagram but mostly, I see it as a tool to share and see. I also love that I have cultivated a community of creatives and lots of other people which is inspiring and deeply satisfying.