Jen Fridy is a PHENOMENAL illustrator.
Her work is dark and funny and a wee bit esoteric.
Plus, it's damn right gorgeous.
I'm so proud to own one of her paintings!
1. Name, Astrology sign, and location please.
Jen Fridy. I'm a Capricorn, currently living in Oakland, CA
2. What are you currently working on?
Trying to get my website back up at the moment! Setting up my studio so I can paint again. And I'm in various early stages of several personal illustration projects, which I unfortunately can't talk about yet. Call it superstition on my part. (Did you know that just talking about doing something makes you *less* likely to actually do the thing you talked about? It's weird but true. I'm afraid of jinxing myself.) I basically spent most of the last three years rocking back and forth while softly weeping at the bottom of the rabbit hole of pregnancy/childbirth/babyhood --- my creative well was just totally dry. Now I've suddenly got a flood of ideas jostling for space in my brain, but getting the time to work on them all is a huge challenge.
3. Who are your favorite artists?
Wow, too many to count, really! My parents really encouraged my interest in art from a young age, and my first loves were Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassat, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci. Then I got into comics and I was all about Jim Woodring, George Herriman, Chas Addams, Tony Millionaire, Dan Clowes, Robert Crumb. Now I've got a kid, so I've been getting to re-experience a bunch of classic children's illustrators, like Dr. Seuss, Alice and Martin Provensen, Maurice Sendak, Clement Hurd, and Ezra Jack Keats. I'm basically a sucker for good linework, juicy colors, and memorable characters.
4. What's the best advice you ever received about your career choice?
"Draw every day." Various artists I respect have told me that throughout the years. It's the best advice I never listen to, ha! I find it super-easy to get sidetracked, unfortunately, but I only find myself really getting somewhere with my art when I'm making time to draw every single day, even if there are dishes in the sink; even if my kid is eating a worm in the backyard; even if the cats are setting up camp on Clothes Mountain in the laundry room.
5. Favorite place(s) in your city?
I love walking around Lake Merritt with my kid. We walk everywhere in Oakland, actually, and I really love it --- I'm always stumbling across great mural art, or an awesome little gallery, or a food truck I've never tried before. San Francisco and all its tourist attractions are just a short train ride away, but I prefer the gritty lovability of the East Bay.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
And while we're at it, what about a different era?
Amsterdam, no contest. I went there for my honeymoon five years ago and fell in love with the history, the art, the weather (I love rain!), the architecture, the pancakes...I dream of retiring to a houseboat in the canal when I am old.
Different eras don't really appeal to me the way they used to - historically, women have really gotten the shaft pretty much every way you look at it, and the further back you go, the worse it generally was for everyone who wasn't royalty. I love Victorian and Edwardian fashion, for instance, but I like being able to vote more, you know? If I could just visit for a little bit, though, I'd want to go to Coney Island around 1909, so I could visit the three original amusement parks: Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase. Dangerous, spectacular fun for the whole family!
7. What do you usually mindlessly doodle? (do you have a picture of this?)
Mermaids. Don't say you weren't warned! (She's pretty rude)
8. First website you peruse of the day?
Probably Neatorama. I need mindless fluff to absorb while my brain absorbs its caffeine.
9. What's the worst movie you've ever seen, but secretly love?
Cabin Boy; though it may be shameful, there is nothing secret about my love for that movie. I guffaw like a braying horse every time I watch it. (Yes, I have it on DVD. Which I purchased after my VHS copy wore out.)
10. Any pets? Any kids?
3 cats, 5 chickens, and one two-year-old. Between all of them, I will never be done cleaning my house.
Thank you so much Jen!
You can find more of her here