We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Padgett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I disagree with the conventional advice: Don’t quit your day job.
As cheesy as it sounds, I believe that if you believe in yourself, and in your dreams, you can take that leap and quit your day job to follow your dreams and make them your reality.
A stable income is really important to any household, of course. And sometimes following your dreams means taking a risk and losing that stable income in favor of a non-conventional job as an artist, a baker, an entrepreneur. But I really think the people who take that risk and that leap are rewarded for their fearlessness. They are so inspiring!
There have been many times that I’ve considered taking that risk, and someday I hope I am able to in order to live out my life-long dream of being an artist and supporting myself and my family wholly by making art and creating things that people love.
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.
My journey to artist-hood has been a wiggly path through my life. I started out very creative in young school years, fell off the wagon in middle school, jumped back on in high school, and sadly was discouraged from continuing on in art by my high school senior art teacher. That was heartbreaking. Despite that, I carried on in my life-work and went to college for studio art and creative writing, with focus in drawing and painting.
After college I immediately entered into a job in Quality Assurance in the Medical Device field, which I always joke about how I don’t belong there based on my background. Between work and the “real world”, art kind of took a back seat.
In my spare time, I self-taught myself how to make Dream Catchers, and for a while that was my favorite thing to do. Then, the non-art movement, Fluid Acrylic Painting, hit the scene. I FELL IN LOVE with fluid acrylic painting. For over a year, I painted and painted, painting in the kitchen of our apartment and leaving paintings to dry all over the counters to the point where we couldn’t cook food until everything dried. Then I started making jewelry from the leftovers of the fluid acrylic paint, and that was just a taste of what would come.
The one thing I’m most thankful for about my current “real job”, is that I met a lady who introduced me to wire-wrapped jewelry. I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand how hard it was and I definitely underestimated the process. I was not great at it to start with, but I have grown in this craft and now if I’m not working or taking care of our dogs, I am wrapping. It is a blessing and a joy to make wearable art for people, especially when I am able to work with individuals to make a piece that is just for them and one-of-a-kind.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons in this path to artist-hood, but the two most important:
Don’t give up on your dreams just because other people might not believe in you.
Keep on trucking until you find the thing(s) that fulfill your soul.
I am an artist through and through. I love to make art, to observe art, to learn new things, and most of all to help people see the beauty or even just potential in everything.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite places to hang out and eat, drink, and visit are all across the metro and up into the foothills.
Do you like pizza? There are lot of options, but a couple of the best are Beaj Jo’s (original location up in the mountains) in Arvada, or Guido’s Pizza up in Genessee.
If you’re looking for scenery, hit Guanella Pass. It goes up over 14k feet, and has such stunning views! It’s perfect for people who don’t want to get out of the car (or can’t because of health reasons or something) because you can drive the whole way through. Definitely one of my favorite places to go when the aspen trees are changing colors in the fall.
For a place to hang out, go to Comrade Brewing Company in Denver. We found it on accident while taking one of our foster puppies to a vet appointment, and it’s quickly become one of our favorite places. Bluegrass in downtown Arvada is also good, or Kokopelli’s Brewery up in Westminster!
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?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to two people: my Husband, Dakota, and my Mom, Irene.
My husband Dakota is a steady and honest support system, who pushes me forward to continuous improvement in all ways in my art. If he sees me falling into a rut, he’ll dig me out and re-direct me in an encouraging and tactical way. I can always count on him to be truthful and direct, and to support me in all paths.
My mom Irene has always supported my dream of becoming a true artist and making that my livelihood. I can always count on her to check out a picture of a work in progress and give me honest feedback, but most often just encouraging praise of the piece. Of course she’s biased, but we all need that in our lives! 🙂