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Jennifer Nilsson artwork

Jennifer Nilsson

Jennifer Nilsson is a self-taught artist from Central Pennsylvania. Before becoming an artist, she worked a few jobs including a preschool teacher, nanny, and cake decorator. All her previous jobs, which involve children and creating, is in the art she designs today. Jennifer lived in a small town that was right next door to Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. In 2014, Jennifer and her husband moved to an old 1800's farm located on 12 acres of land in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania. She believes the places that she lived had an effect on her art. In the next ten years, Jennifer sees herself still creating art that brings joy to other people's lives.

Does the place you live have an effect on your art?

Yes, very much so! When we lived in Avis, my life was pretty quite and I had a dedicated work schedule I could stick to, but along with the new property came MANY new projects that needed our attention - from a chicken coop that needed rebuilt, to raising our first flock of chickens - which are only 2 weeks old, planning out and leveling ground for a large garden, tapping Maple trees for syrup - the new farm chores are endless and I had to do a lot of tweaking to get back into a schedule that my artwork fits comfortably into. I also lost a dedicated workspace with the move and now share my creating place with those sweet baby chicks, but I don't mind at all! I find they and the beautiful new property and resources found here are inspiring all kinds of fun new pieces!

What is your biggest inspiration for art?

I come from a very creative family - my Grandmother was an artisan who created her own patterns for weaving, knitting, and doll making. Many Summers were spent watching her work her craft as well as connect with customers in her small shop in Eagles Mere, PA. My Father is also a skilled craftsman and artist who would often create from found materials or paint on re-purposed supports. Between the two of them, I was never without a wonderful selection of art supplies and willing teachers to guide me along a creative path. I think they have been my biggest inspirations.

How did you get a career as an artist?

It started way back in the 5th grade when I sold quick sketches of Garfield and Odie for 50cents each to my classmates...I knew right then and there that someday I'd be an artist! But my real break didn't come until 2006. I was working as a Preschool teacher during the morning weekday hours and would sketch out or paint small pieces to sell on eBay for a little extra hobby income.' To my surprise these little pieces took off and I quickly gained a following. My small simple pieces grew in size and detail along with my confidence and I began to truly develop a style which felt like "me." A few small companies took notice and began to ask for images to license and for a time I worked with them as a self-representing artist before making the decision to submit my art to agencies for representation. I am currently represented by Art Licensing Intl and have enjoyed every minute of working with them.

Is there a style of art you are interested in trying?

I truly enjoy the style I currently create in, pieces that are filled with color and whimsy. I would however love to develop a bit more depth to my images by adding more contrasting patterns and layered borders and maybe working a bit more "story" or quirkiness into my pieces. There is always something new to learn and that is part of this wonderful journey as an artist!

How do you know when a piece you're working on is done?

Sometimes I have to walk away and come back over and over again before I am totally happy and feel a piece is finished, sometimes it's right away that I feel it is done. Each piece is unique and I never know when it's done until it tells me it is ;)

Where do you look for inspiration?

I find inspiration in pretty much anything and everything around me. Sometimes I see a color that inspires me, sometimes I'm inspired by a word or song. Sometimes I find inspiration in nature, or people, or places. Or it can simply come from my imagination.

What is your biggest advice for aspiring and uprising artists?

The best advice that I can give is to work on developing a style that is unique to YOU. Try every medium you can until you find the ones that feels like a great fit (for me it's watercolor and colored pencil) but don't be afraid to try something new. Practice, practice, practice, and when you think you've learned all you can, learn and practice some more. Never stop creating and don't take rejection or negativity as a final definition of your art. Use it as constructive criticism and decide to either grow from it or move away from it - either way, keep moving forward. If your dream is to work as an artist, you need to WORK as an artist. Set the best schedule you can for your situation and no matter what comes up - WORK YOUR ART. Be patient - success doesn't come overnight. Keep learning, keep growing, and keep creating. For every artist out there, there is a client looking for the type of art that only YOU can create.
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