Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Krueger.
Jennifer, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Art has always been a constant for me. I grew up in Wisconsin and always felt a connection with the animal world. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) in high school, an autoimmune/auto-inflammatory disease that affects the joints of the body, primarily the sacroiliac joints and spine, although the peripheral joints are often included. It is a system wide disease that can cause the spine to completely fuse and has plagued me for the last decade. Because of this disease, and my need for health insurance, I had never actually thought of artwork being a career move for myself. In undergrad, I majored in psychology and minored in studio art, and I actually went to graduate school for Clinical Forensic Psychology. It was when I was in grad school that I developed my current artistic style. I began my work in oils, but I was living in an apartment that had carpet and was a bit too expensive for my budget, so I decided to start working in watercolor to have easy cleanup. After a year, I left school due to my illness becoming more progressive and moved back in with my parents. I took a year to reevaluate my life and went back to graduate school, this time for Anthrozoology, the study of human-animal relationships. This was a year-long intensive master’s program developed by the University of Exeter in the UK and has driven me even more to create art that impacts conservation and animal welfare. A year later, I received my degree but also realized that Ankylosing Spondylitis had wreaked havoc on my body and there was no way I would ever be able to work in the standard, normal sense. This was when I decided that my artwork, which I always had a passion for, was going to be my way of creating a life for myself. I combined both my love for animals and art into my current pet portrait business, Jenwin Creations.
I moved to Arizona in 2017 with my parents, since I still live with them due to my AS, and have been completely welcomed into the art community. I am now the secretary of the San Tan Artists Guild and continue to work on pet portrait commissions from around the country. Despite being in constant pain, continuously changing medications and having a lot of medical setbacks in my life, I want to show people that an autoimmune disease does not have to limit you in becoming successful, even if it takes a little longer.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create pet and wildlife portraits in watercolor and add ink stippling over the top to create more depth. The backgrounds for some of my paintings were actually created in collaboration with my cat, by accident of course. I have a cat, named Winston, who likes to walk across my paintings while I’m working. Instead of panicking and starting the painting over, I embraced it and think it adds a little bit of flare and uniqueness to my work. Of course, my clients who do not want a cat collaborated painting will receive one paw print free.
I create pet portraits to make others happy (which is also why I tend to give portraits away for free on certain occasions). This world could use a bit more happiness, and if I can do that through painting a portrait of a cat, dog, horse, etc. I am more than happy to.
My wildlife art is more directed towards animal right activism and promoting compassion for other species. I donated a painting of a mountain lion to the Arizonans for Wildlife fundraiser to ban big cat trophy hunting. If my wildlife art can continue in this direction of donations and work to promote animal welfare I will be extremely happy.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think one of the biggest challenges faced by artists today is funding. Being able to create art is one thing, but being able to live off of the money you make from your artwork is another. It is difficult to find the clientele who are willing to pay how much a piece is worth, and until the clientele is found, most artists are going to have to work multiple jobs to support themselves and their work.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can support my work through following me on any of my social media accounts, visiting me at art shows, purchasing any of my paintings, or ordering a custom portrait (prices can be found on my Facebook page and website).
- Website: http://jenwincreations.wixsite.com/jenwincreations
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/jenwincreations
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenwincreations
Images were either submitted by the pet owners, taken by myself, or found and altered from Google Images.