Interview with Jen Stark

For sure you know Jen Stark for her paper designs, hand-cut wooden installations, crazy and inspirational combination of colors. You will be surprised about the fact that she manage to express herself in different techniques and medias. Her ideas are intelligent designs that include wood, paper or mirrors. Read below an interview with this complex artist and enjoy this time some of her first drawings – arranged in chronological order, since she was 2.5 years old :)


Do you have some artwork since you were a child?
Yes. My parents just gave me a big box of my old childhood drawings. It was so much fun looking through them and remembering fleeting moments of drawing those shapes. When I was about 5, there is a whole series of drawings that have my name huge on the top of the paper…almost as big as the actual drawing…haha. You can tell I had a passion for art, starting early from age 2. I love seeing the drawings I made back then and seeing the similarities to the work I do now. I believe all children are artists, it just takes perseverance to keep doing it into adulthood.
When did you start doing this?
Some of my earliest drawings go back to around 26 months old.


Why did you choose this medium to express yourself?

Throughout my whole artistic life, I’ve experimented with so many mediums. I’ve done drawings, sculptures, printmaking, photography, weaving, ceramics, sewing, animations and more.
When and how did you find your style?
The beginning of the paper sculptures happened in the south of France, Aix-en-Provence. I decided to study abroad there for a semester during college, so I brought 2 suitcases full of clothes and decided to purchase art supplies in France. The Euro was very high so when I went into the art store I decided to buy one of the cheapest materials, but one that had potential. I purchased an assorted color stack of construction paper and began experimenting in my studio. Eventually I began turning them into 3-dimensional sculptures.


How do you work?

The process goes like this: I think about the kind of piece I want to make, what kind of paper to use, and then make a sketch of it. Once I have a general idea of what it might look like, I begin cutting. I cut each layer by hand with an X-acto knife. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to finish a sculpture…depending on the complexity and size.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by all types of things, from plants to outer space, microscopic designs in nature, color and mystery. I love geometric shapes and how they apply to lots of designs in nature. I love the mystery and amazing universal shapes in science and space. It is crazy to think that huge things out in the universe can have the same shapes as tiny microorganisms under a microscope. Also, it is interesting to me how much we still don’t know about science and the way things work. I hope to maybe reveal (on a visual level) some truth or insight about these ideas. I think geometry, nature, and mathematics have everything in common!


What’s your favorite art work?

As far as other artists, I’m inspired by people like Tom Friedman, Andy Goldsworthy, Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali, Tara Donovan, Friends With You and more.
For myself, I love my new “Trinity” and “Pedestal” pieces. These were in a show in Toronto at Show & Tell Gallery in May. As far as new shows, I’m going to have a solo booth at PULSE art fair in LA in late September with Show & Tell Gallery. Then in 2012, a group show at a Smithsonian gallery, and in May a solo show at Martha Otero in LA.
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