First I started following her on Instagram, then I got to chat with her for 10 minutes at the Rare Device trunk show and finally a few weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet the lovely printmaker Jennifer Hewett for an interview over a bowl full of juicy Strawberries at her San Francisco Inner Sunset studio. Jeniffer is a Los Angeles born who moved 16 years ago to San Francisco. At that time the rent in SF wasn’t heart-attack causing, so lucky Jeniffer, she enjoys a beautiful, light-filled 3 bed room apartment for herself and her cute dog Gus. One of the rooms and a small kitchen nook Jeniffer transformed into a studio/office where she works as a business consultant by day and artist/printmaker by night. Sometimes also the other way around. Her hand-made clutches and prints can be purchased at her Etsy shop. Inspired by past decades and collected objects Jeniffer’s studio is a cozy and bright space filled with vintage pieces. I spend only a couple of hours in her studio and was already inspired to go home and pull out my crafting box. I hope you will enjoy her studio and the interview as I did. Walk in and meet Jennifer…
How did you started being an artist?
Ok, let’s see. I started when I was nine or ten years old making cards for an aunt who lived in my neighborhood. She asked me if I can make her a card. I made her a whole bunch of them, all the same style. And then from there I was always making and selling art to family and friends. I didn’t really have any classic, formal training except for figure drawing when I was in high school. Everything else has been self taught.
When I’m not doing art, I’m an HR consult for small business to help them hire and train new employees.
What do you love most about your job?
Flexibility, being able to work when I want to work. And I just love making beautiful things you can touch, use and enjoy. I love the people who surround me, love working with artists and another creative people. Just working around them is wonderful.
What’s not so great?
Hmmm, what’s not so great? I think it’s hard financially in the beginning. It’s hard to make a living. I think I’m really lucky that I wasn’t trained as an artist because I’m always able to find work if I need it. Some people struggle because they don’t know how to do anything else. But instead I can work part time and make art part time.
Your day in the morning… noon…evening….?
Let’s see, in the morning… You met my dog, so I get up pretty early, then I write emails, usually for about half hour, then I take Gus for a nice walk, ether up behind USCF, because you can see the Golden Gate bridge from there or over to Golden Gate park, so we walk there for about one and a half hour and then you know… breakfast, check emails and then usually I do all the client work in the morning. Responding emails and taking calls. If I need to go to the studio I normally leave by 9am – 9.30am, just take the muni or bart and then I work in the Mission studio till 4am. It’s nice because it’s in the Mission, so if I don’t bring lunch I can go get a burrito, it’s so much to eat up there. Just get some coffee or cookie, it’s really convenient.
And then evening, evening is usually, you saw the wine bar on my street, I go there almost every day and have just one glass of wine, because they let my dog in there and have a nice talk with my neighbors. I like my ritual going to the wine bar and see my neighbors.
What is your work/life balance as you often work from home?
It’s good to have routines, having a dog is nice because I have to leave the house, have to take care of him and go for a walk. I have a nice pause, that’s really important. Sometimes I’m not balanced because I will work till I’m tired, but I get lot of sleep, eight hours minimum. I just try not to work all night, I just don’t do it. And I’m realistic with my boundaries, I know what I can and cannot do. And I’m good in telling people “no”. You have to tell people no.(laugh). I focus on what I want do do.
Do you have any tips when working from home?
I think still having a routine and having a work dedicated space, that helps. When I’m working at home I’m almost in my studio and the printing nook, I don’t go to the living or bed room. I set also a timer so I don’t stuck with one task too much. And thanks to Gus I don’t work in my pyjama.
Tell me about the artist’s dream? Your dream?
Oh I would love to be a license artist. License artist is somebody who designs like fabric or products and has another company manufacture them and the company pays them royalties. That’s my dream. That would be such a fun to have companies using my designs.
Favorite spot in your studio?
Yeah, my office. It’s in five window bay window room and it has so much light. I love being there.
Top 3 destinations?
I went to visit Paris when I was in college and I loved it. I haven’t been back since 20 years, I should go back.
I love London. I have only been once, but would love to spent more time there.
And fun thing, I think I would love to go to Japan.
Definitely chocolate! On of my clients makes the best chocolate in San Francisco. Rechiuttii. So delicious.
Night owl or early bird?
Early bird, I go to bed by ten, So boring.(laughing) I get up at 6am. Love the quietness of morning.
Always in your bag?
I always have dog treat and hand lotion. Pen and a note book.
Something you want to tell us…
I have some projects I’m excited about, but it’s to early to speak in detail. Stay tuned. Once I started doing art and putting it out there I started meeting other artist. The community here in SF is great but small, if you know one person you know everybody. It’s great. It so surprising how quickly I became friend with them.
Thanks Jen for the lovely interview!