We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Steck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Motivation and passion have played big roles in many areas of my life and that requires taking risks at different points on the journey. I love new challenges that keep me a bit uncomfortable. I try to walk through the open doors, even when I have doubts and usually, it pays off with new opportunities. Five years ago, I left a 30+ year career in law enforcement and set out to follow my passions. One of those passions was art and creativity. Here I am today, a working artist who not only sells my work, but also teaches classes to fellow artists. I never would have thought I’d be where I am today. Taking those chances has paid off in amazing ways. One open door leads to many more opportunities that wouldn’t be there without taking some risks.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Art and creativity has always been an important part of my life including painting and writing. It was always a fun place to play that took me away from the serious issues in life or allowed me to laugh and enjoy time with family and friends. I never anticipated I’d one day be a full-time working artist. It wasn’t until I left a career in law enforcement that I finally had the time to immerse myself in creating. Once I embraced the mantra “Perfection is not required, or even desired” and quit trying to paint realistically, the floodgates opened and my quirky, unique style was born. My love of animals and word play flows through my work. About four years ago, after I began posting my work online, people approached me interested in buying my paintings. I have to admit I was a bit shocked at first, but after a number of requests, I started researching what I needed to know about creating an art business and took the risk of jumping in with both feet. I loved what I was creating and the paintings clearly spoke to people in an amazing way. Challenges are a part of every business or opportunity and I’ve done my best to ask for help when I need it. I had no idea about pricing, printing, photos, sales tax…you name it…it was all new to me. People were willing to share their knowledge and while I certainly have made some mistakes along the way, I’ve found that my joy in creating each piece pushes me forward when I get discouraged. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been so rewarding and I’m committed to work my way through the doubts and barriers as they appear. I’ve found that the biggest breakthroughs happen when I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was at an outdoor festival in Greeley the summer of 2019 and watched a couple flip through one of my bins. They were laughing out loud at every new print. They never bought a piece, but watching their joy was the biggest payoff of the weekend. My paintings appeal to viewers of all ages and the humor and colorful critters and characters make them smile. At a time in our world where there are such deep divides, it never hurts to bring some joy into the world. What do I want people to know? You are also creative. Not every painting is going to be a masterpiece, but you’ll learn something new and probably have lots of fun along the way. There are artists who teach every medium, many techniques and a subject matter that makes your heart sing. I encourage you to give it a try!
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.
Denver is home to some amazing attractions from the Denver Zoo (I did tell you about my love of animals, right?) to incredible museums. I can’t wait until things open back up so we can sit and catch up over a good meal at the Officer’s Club in the Lowry neighborhood and other fabulous eateries in the area. Hiking at Red Rocks or White Ranch will be a treat on a beautiful spring morning. I’ve lived and played in Denver for most of my life and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
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’m not a formally trained artist. However, I don’t claim to be self taught either. I’ve learned from so many incredible art instructors over the years and have attended classes at many locations including our very own Art Student’s League of Denver. Other artists have been gracious in sharing their techniques and skills and encouraging me every step of the way, including Sandy Ceas, Ardith Goodwin, Zoe Tessler, Jodi Ohl, Deb Weiers, Stephanie Gagos and Kara Bullock. Thank you all and to all the businesses who support my journey, including Show of Hands Denver, Frame by Frame and Reed Art and Imaging.
Other: Show of Hands Denver: https://showofhandsdenver.com
Jennifer A Steck