We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Hammond and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The short answer was that I had to start my own business. In any of my businesses (20 years as a wedding and event designer, 10 years as a visual artist) I found that I was compelled to create new concepts, play with color, space, aesthetic and message in a way that wasn’t possible when working for someone else. I had to find a way to make my living by doing what I need to do, and that is to tell a story, explore an idea, celebrate a life, create space, and tone through event design, interior design and fine art painting and sculpture. Sometimes that means working on what interests me, while paying the bills with side gigs, and trusting that when the timing is right my creative work will land in the right space. Creative integrity was central to striking out as a self-employed person, but being a mama to three, and now a grandmother to three added to the need to find a way to live flexibly so that I could accommodate the needs of my family and personal life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work in acrylics, metal leafing, ink and epoxy resins to create contemporary pieces. My art is often conceptual, working through an idea, and abstracted. I write poetry and the words become part of the texture of the painting, sometimes largely hidden and sometimes legible. I paint trees using very vivid jewel tones, bright blues and copper leaf, candy coated with an epoxy that gives each piece a glassy and very modern finish. I play with perspective, cross sections, graduated focus and color. Art is a way for me to process and sometimes externalize strong emotion.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Vail, Colorado where just about any direction you look is pure magic and everything is geared toward an outdoor experience.. Summer time requires a day on the river, nights at Bonfire Brewing visiting with the local characters. In the village I’d start with coffee at Yetis Grind, gallery hopping, spending a little extra time in Galerie Zugar ogling the stunning contemporary art in their collection, perhaps lunch down by Gore Creek at Mountain Standard, a gondola ride to the top of the hill for a hike up along the clouds. Down in Eagle where the locals live I would hop on my bike for a long ride up toward Sylvan Lake followed by a scrumptious meal and unusual wine at the Assembly in Eagle Ranch and then live music at the Boneyard. Winters are spent playing in the snow, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My women’s art group, Wendy Satsky, Anne Dunlevie and Lynn Gottleib were instrumental in my ever putting paint to canvas. Ken Moehn Studios pushed me to repeat the things that worked, in ever evolving ways to further my process. A writing workshop at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California with poet Ellen Bass sent me down the path of incorporating writing and poetry into my painted work. Susan Duckworth and Sean Kapp were my first collectors and made it possible for me to buy what I needed to do art shows all around the country. My patrons, purchasing art from me and displaying it in public places, like the Assembly in Eagle, Colorado or Ti Amo Ristorante in Eagle-Vail, Colorado or in their homes offered me validation and encouragement.