We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Gennari and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was natural, and probably the most bizarre way to start a business. I didn’t know I was starting one. I was working long hours in my studio to get work out to a gallery for years. The end of the day would come and I would go home convinced I was done wanting to paint, only to realize that after my bike ride home and a bite to eat, I was energized and ready to go again. This happened for a while until I decided to bring a pochade box home and paint something entirely for fun. Tired of spending the day painting people I decided to paint a Sphynx Cat, and literally from there the rest is history. I Continued to paint “after hours” every day for fun, would post the image to instagram without an intent to sell, and without fail they all did. I think it took about 2 years before I felt like this could actually be something, and five years later I think I might finally have wrapped my head around the fact that I unwittingly forged a business through nothing other than the love I have for animals, and painting.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Ive been told often that my work captures the soul of the subject. This is something I cant really comment on because whatever that thing is i’m capturing, is coming from someplace thats entirely unconscious. I care a lot about animals, and the technique and history of oil painting. It’s all very important to me and I imagine thats what comes out onto the canvas. When I was extremely young I would go to the store with my mother to get barbies. I would line about five of them up and stare at their eyes. It would take forever and my poor mother must have thought I was insane. I would stare at them looking at the subtitles of how their eyes were painted and pick the one that looked the most alive. Whatever that thing is I was looking for, I believe I look for that in my portraits as well.
I love what I do. Every day I go to the studio and paint images for people who adore their animals. I read stories people send me of their animals personality and their relationship together and im moved to tears at how cherished they are. I read all the letters sent of how people felt opening the painting when it arrives, revealing it to their loved ones if its a gift, watch the videos sent of the “big reveal” and the gratitude and joy that brings me is indescribable.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I just bought a crazy old house built in 1768. I moved during covid after many years of looking for a home, so unfortunately I couldn’t find much new in the ways of restaurants or places to go. Its odd moving to a new town, living in it for a year, and barely knowing whats around you! But from what little ive found, theres gorgeous places to hike here. So many trails and nature preserves, and places to plein air. Theres a place called Ferris Acres Creamery here and I call it the “ice cream farm” because its literally a farm and you go there to get ice cream. Right in the field. Its funny, and perfectly bizarre. And yes, there’s cows:)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Alicia Rius. I love her photographs, and it was one of hers that I painted the first time I casually painted in my living room. She captures in her photos what I try and capture in my work, an essence, not just a superficial representation. https://www.aliciariusphotography.com