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Women Who Disrupt

Journey Into An Artist’s Life: Exclusive Interview With Jennifer Jean

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Meet Jennifer Jean. A hapa who grew up in Philadelphia and has been creating art for over 15 years. She attended Syracuse University and received her MFA from Boston University. She worked as a gallery director, operations manager, and fine art consultant, and has been an adjunct educator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Jennifer Jean is currently the President and Founding exhibition chair of the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. MA chapter. Recently I got a chance to interview Jennifer, and we spoke about her journey as an artist. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about her story, her biggest influences, values and principles that led to her success and a lot more. This article is jammed with a lot of life-changing experiences. 

 

1. Tell me about yourself (a brief background story) and what you do?

My name is Jennifer Jean, and I grew up in Philadelphia. I attended Syracuse University and received my MFA from Boston University. Art and being an artist are therapy for me, not just physically but psychologically and spiritually. My dual Buddhist-Catholic heritage is reflected in my work. I think of my art as an objective homage to my Eastern and Western traditions and to the raw architecture and sounds of the city. My 2D work (primary oil on canvas and wood) is a reflection of what is beautiful and sometimes misconceived in both cultures. My use of color and creative texture lend harmoniously from the natural world and my heritage influences. 

Each piece I create is inspired by my own life, language, travel experiences, and poems. Poems have a way of speaking the truth, to empower and encourage the reader as 2D and 3D artworks affect the viewer. Conflict, balance, and harmony are reflected in each piece.

What do I do? My life is filled with creating, managing, mentoring, and communicating about modern and contemporary art. I worked as a gallery director, operations manager, and fine art consultant, and have been an adjunct educator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I am currently the president and founding exhibition chair of the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. MA chapter. As one Gallery Director said ‘You are a character who is always smiling’. I know for myself I am unconventional but inspiring and outré at times — so what I do and create is a reflection of that. In short, I do artsy things.

 

2. Who were the biggest influences in your life?

My Mama has always been my creative inspiration, a safe and offbeat person. My first memory in the arts was being able to create a wall consisting of a large white or brown paper held by tape—my artistic Mama would say “wow me.” I thought this was the norm in everyone’s home. She would always hide my doodles from my Dad who feared the lack of security of being an artist. 

Other influences, include Philadelphia. Outside of school, I spent many hours exploring the 1300 Chestnut Street murals, sketching at the Rodin Museum, and sitting/drawing in the Arms and Armor room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition, I sketched anyone who would let me and sometimes people I saw at a distance—I still remember the glares and fingers of unwilling subjects.

Happily, both continue to be strong forces and inspiration to me. This year I started my COPA Artist in Residence ‘the Arts in the Court project 2020-2023’ for judge’s chambers where my 60×48 inches oils give us a glimpse into an earlier period of Philadelphia history where the city was the “workshop of the world”. The potential subjects include the manufacturing line at old industrial companies such as a Bergodoll brewery, the Tasty Cake Company, Philco Radio Company, and steel making at Midvale Heppenstall.  

 

3. What do you think about when you create art?

I always start by writing ideas. These thoughts lead to themes adding conflict, balance, and harmony to shape my work’s form and energy. 

From the written ideas, images are formed from quick sketches, and the work begins. Every piece in the series is a representation of an idea. I did this with my current theme: ‘Knots of the mind’ which explores the ongoing melee between the heart and the mind, complicated by love, hunger, power, doubt

 

4. What values and principles have led to your success?

A constant thirst for knowledge and determination. I’m lucky to have my Mama’s gift at following through with things. She would say “Listen to yourself as there is always another way,” Those words along with “one, done and move on” are constant reminders of why I love being an artist. 

As long as I am able to create art, write, and experience the joys of life—a hopeful outlook—then I have achieved some balance. Balance consists of always learning, experiencing, and pushing myself to reach for more—an ongoing narrative where I hope to always be surrounded by honest critics, and people who are inspiring and stimulated in their own lives. Laughing is a must, and being loved and respected by intelligent people. I want to be mind-blown and leave this world a little better.

5. Do you have a special ritual when you create art? 

I’m a creature of habit! My personality keeps me listening to the same album when creating a piece and ultimately a series. I sit on the ground a pillow covered with paint along with standing constantly when my bum is numb. I am able to close off the outside, which I am grateful for.  

6. Any other hobbies we should know about?

I love anything water-related especially vacationing on lakes where I can waterski and so forth. Other than collecting books, I collect shells from my travels. They are so beautiful and to know they were once a home that provided shelter for a beautiful or unsightly creature is incredible. 

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

No preparation is enough to be a full-time artist. You just need to persist and dive in.

“I think a lot of making art is listening to yourself,” said Kiki Smith. This holds true to how you want to be perceived on social media. By listening to oneself you are never limited—it is your own vision. 

 

You can reach Jennifer Jean on IG: @jennyjean25

You can also check out her website: http://jenniferjeanart.com/

 

I've always had a knack for storytelling! Hi there, I'm Chukwuma Agugbue. I'm a copywriter and, a blogger. I Interview individuals who've achieved some sort of success in their field- Actively building a knowledge base for Millenials

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Women Who Disrupt

Megan Yelaney Shows You How to Balance Different Passions As a Business Owner

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Megan Yelaney

Turning something you love into a lucrative business demands commitment. You have to truly be invested in it, dedicated to seeing it through, interested in its ins and outs, and devoted to its success.

But let’s be real, you’re not just passionate about one thing. This particular passion, the one you managed to turn into a lucrative, self-sustaining venture, is just one of the things that you love. And while running it day in and day out brings much joy and fulfillment, you’re left wondering if you could successfully explore other things you’re passionate about too.

I was on the same boat not too long ago. As a business that strongly empowers and advocates the success of other women, I was and continue to be very passionate about what I do for a living. Getting this business off the ground is a point of pride for me. And now, I am at a point in my business where I have the opportunity to explore other interests that have taken a backseat as I focused all my efforts on growing my business.

I’m actually a business major. But instead of going straight into the corporate world, I took a few detours and found myself working as an actress—even worked as an extra for “Orange Is The New Black.” As much as I loved acting, it’s a tough industry to break into and at the time. As an actress, I was living paycheck to paycheck and felt acutely aware of the fact that I was destined for something more. I had a niggling feeling in my heart that while I was passionate about acting, I wasn’t meant to be pursuing it as a career at that point in time. And it turns out I was right. I had an opportunity to go back to my business roots and apply skills that I learned as I dipped my toe in various other fields—and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself.

8 years since I shifted careers, I am fortunate enough to have another shot at it. And fortunately, it’s not a choice of whether I should choose one passion over the other—it’s finding the right balance to pursue both. As a business owner and entrepreneur, I am expected to devote a lot of time and energy into my business. Any interest outside of it would require time, brainpower, energy, and resources. But I stand as proof that despite the demands, you can successfully pursue different interests, even when you’re at the helm of a thriving business. That said, if you’re interested in learning how I do it, allow me to share some first-hand insight.

1. Surround Yourself With a Good Team

There is no way I would be able to even think about exploring opportunities for acting, and doing a show if I wasn’t working with people who I know I could rely on. My team is crucial to my success, whether I’m building my business or trying to explore other passions. Finding the right people allows me to delegate and free up time for myself to pursue other interests. And it gives me peace of mind to know that I’m entrusting my business to people who care about its success as much as I do.

2. Be Patient With Yourself

Early in my career as a business coach, acting had to sit in the back burner while I focused my attention on my business. Today, I have a chance to come back to it and catch up on everything that I missed. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to press pause on other interests so you can focus on one and do it well. Pursuits of passion take time to hone and develop. Sometimes timing plays a factor as well.

3. Find Ways to Bridge Your Passions Together

Business and acting may seem like they’re worlds apart. In a sense that’s true. But I will always stand by the fact that working as an actress taught me so many life skills that I was able to apply in my business. Being an actress taught me resilience and the value of hard work. It instilled the importance of creativity in me and the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes. All of these skills became invaluable to me as a business coach, which is another passion of mine.

One final piece of advice:

The demands of running a business on our time is great, and the draw of our passions is undeniable. But always remember that life is short. And when we are presented with a chance to pursue that we love, take advantage of that. When you do though, go easy on yourself. It’ll be tough juggling multiple passions and interests, especially when one happens to be your business—but it can also be one of the most fulfilling things you can do for yourself.

 

This is a guest article written by Entrepreneur and Online Business Coach, Megan Yelaney. Be sure to follow Megan on Instagram for more tips!

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Women Who Disrupt

“Don’t be fooled by Social Media,” says Celebrity Influencer Kristen Rose

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Today, most of us use social media as a platform to connect with others. We are constantly bombarded with images on social media, usually people we don’t know but whose lifestyle we wish to live. The truth is that people who post on social media only show half of what is really happening in their lives. Kristen Rose – an American actress and social media influencer, agrees.

“Sure, it’s great posting about the good things in life, fun trips, cool events & nice experiences, but when that’s all you see on someone’s profile, it’s easy to get lost in all of it and forget the fact that nobody’s life is perfect. We all go through life’s hardships, failures, pain, and heartbreaks. Before deciding that other peoples’ lives are better than yours, take a close look and understand that what’s on social media is not always reality. People love sharing what looks good and what sounds good but more than likely there’s a lot of negative things that a person is experiencing that stays behind the scenes and that will never make it on social media,” Kristen explains.

Virtual vs. Reality

Don’t let the mirage of social media fool you. Someone with ten likes and few followers might have a very fulfilling life outside of Facebook or Instagram. While someone with thousands of followers might be struggling in several areas of their personal life. Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean they don’t have occasional turmoil in their life. In fact, they might be experiencing a lot of ups and downs, but to their followers, they give the illusion that their life is perfect.

All that glitters is not gold

Some couples appear extremely happy and satisfied in their relationship on social media, but, in reality, they might have a dysfunctional relationship. Other couples post nothing about their personal lives, yet they are delighted and have a beautiful, personal relationship.

Social media is a platform where people share their lives through the pictures they post; what they don’t always share is the reality of their day-to-day lives. The general public needs to realize social media does not accurately show the parameters of their happiness. What we have to remember is most people’s happiness, and success lies in the hard work they have invested in achieving their goals.

Know there’s struggle before the sunshine

Like Kristen, the careers of a lot of Facebook and Instagram stars are at the top of the heap because of hard work. They have gone through struggles and hardships, learned from these situations, and have moved ahead in their lives and careers. What they are today is because of those struggles. Social media often fools you by not showing you the back story behind their successful lives.

Everyone has experienced failure at least once in their lives, but you have to remember people who post to social media very seldom post their failures – only their successes. Don’t be fooled by what you read on social media. Don’t waste your time comparing your life to the way other people “appear” to be living theirs.

Remember, life is a mixed bag!

What appears on social media are merely snippets of a complicated life, and just like yours, those lives are filled with success, failure, happiness, and struggles. Be unique and be strong; add value to others’ lives by sharing real-life experiences on social media – the good as well as the not-so-good. You will be amazed at the positive reactions and support you will receive when you connect honestly with family and friends.

 

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Women Who Disrupt

Meet Giovanna Silvestre: The Woman Who Turned Healing Crystals into Activewear

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Giovanna Silvestre grew up in San Luis Obispo, California. She is a popular travel blogger and
founder of the unique yoga wear brand Confused Girl in the City.

She went on to work in the entertainment industry for several years. Some of her accomplishments include working with director Kenneth Branagh on the Marvel film “Thor”, co-producing a short film, “The Wind in the Willows,”  with Peter Jackson’s company “Weta,” and working as a post production coordinator on the ABC show, “The Mole.” As an influencer Giovanna has worked with some of the biggest global brands including T-obile,Vitamin Water, Coca-Cola, Target, Walmart, Skinny Cow, Skype, Match.com, Bigelow Tea, Crocs, Lindt Chocolate, Vaseline and many more.

What inspired you to start your business?

“Confused Girl in the City” started as a blog 6 years ago. I was lost at the time and wanted to share my feelings with others. I figured I couldn’t be the only confused one out there. It’s funny how we feel we’re the only ones when every human being has either been there, is still there or is going to be there again! My blog took a life of its own and put me on a spiritual journey to find my true nature. Along this journey I met a healer who had a profound effect on me. He had a collection of crystals and told me to pick two to take home. I had these crystals in my room and felt so much joy when I walked past them. One day I was  editating and I had a vision of creating a line of women’s activewear that was inspired by these crystals. So with no money and an idea, I started the journey. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen but I knew I had to do it. I used my part-time job money to fund my business and step by step I was able to create an international activewear business. Now, six years later, I have sold my designs all over the world, we have been featured on Thrive Global, Yoga Digest, Yoga Magazine, Silicon Beach Magazine and on the cover of LA Yoga. We are in select stores in LA and expanding.

What was a major challenge you had to overcome in getting to where you are today?

Fear of failure. I had to realize that failure doesn’t really exist if you follow your gut. Either you do something or you don’t. The failure is in never trying. As long as you try, you either win or you learn.

What exciting projects are on the horizon for you?

I am very excited about my book coming soon, “Seven Things Every Confused Girl Should Do.” I think it will help a lot of confused girls in the world.

Be sure to follow her on Instagram, YouTube and check out her website
http://confusedgirlinthecity.com

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