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Painting, Photography, Drawing

Q&A: Jennifer Laura Palmer


“Sometimes it is a little better to travel than to arrive.”  Robert Pirsig


Location and maps are a crucial part of painter Jennifer Palmer’s work. “The first maps I collected were from my childhood and they were used on family trips. I loved that they were used on our trips and I could see my Dad’s handwritten notes and the highlighted route for each adventure. These memories have become even more precious since my Mother’s passing from cancer this past year.” Palmer is currently working on a new series involving plein air artworks created during road trips throughout Kentucky in a 1951 Chevy Pickup: http://palmertravelingartist.tumblr.com/

"Paintings of Maine (    In Progress)" by Jennifer Palmer, mixed media on poplar (2016)

"Paintings of Maine (In Progress)" by Jennifer Palmer, mixed media on poplar (2016)

1951 Chevy - Barbara Jane (Name after my Mother)

1951 Chevy - Barbara Jane (Name after my Mother)

Are you still touring Kentucky in your 1951 Chevy pick-up?

I currently am and the project is still in the beginning stages. I have spent the summer working on organizing my trip and scouting out locations to complete my artwork.  This has allowed me the necessary time to come up with a more cohesive plan that has clear objectives and goals to make this a successful project. After my trip to Maine this summer I realized I wanted to challenge myself to something much larger than I had originally intended and to push myself creatively to use materials and process that I haven’t used before. This has slowed down the project, however, it has increased the drive to have a series that goes beyond what I had originally envisioned. 

How many different places have you been?

Only a handful of places at this point and mostly I have been cruising routes and making notes on good places to stop and make some art. I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the places to explore in this beautiful state. I have toured a lot of backroads in Kentucky cruising and I started to realize that I need to also include more urban areas on my travels. 

"On site Traveling Drawing (Phippsburg, Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in,     ink on paper (2016)

"On site Traveling Drawing (Phippsburg, Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

What music do you listen to on the road?

I tend to just keep the windows down and listen to my surroundings and mostly the sound of the truck’s engine. 

Do you listen to music while you paint?

I do and tend to listen to the same music over and over until I finish a series.  You would most likely find Shovels and Rope and Roy Orbison in rotation in the studio.

What expectations did you have for the journey?

To stumble upon beauty in every place I visit. 

Tell us something about the people you have met?

I have found that everyone enjoys sharing a story if you are willing to slow down and ask some questions and be sincere in wanting to hear what they have to say. The people I have encountered are the greatest resources on learning more about the areas I am visiting. They know the area and give out the best suggestions for places to see and also to eat. I have experienced that people always love sharing stories about their animals and that is a great way to start a conversation. 

Also, I would like to add since I am still in the planning stages I would love to hear from people in Kentucky on places to go and more importantly why do they think I should visit there and document the space.

"Olsen House (Cushing Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Olsen House (Cushing Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

What's your favorite place to visit?

I will have to say Maine. I spent two weeks there this summer on an art road trip and I fell hard for the state. The landscape, the history, the people and the air were so inspiring.  What made the trip memorable was visiting the Farnsworth Museum and seeing Andrew Wyeth’s work in person. It literally brought tears to my eyes.  I was then able to make the journey to the Olsen House and spend time photographing the house and grounds.  I have never felt such a connection with a place.  

Honestly, this trip to Maine got me a little side tracked on the Traveling Artist Project here in Kentucky with the Chevy, however, it stirred a passion and desire to make it a more impactful series by slowing down and really taking time to plan out the project so I can create a wide range of pieces in various mediums. Kentucky holds the same charm and beauty and I want to explore the forgotten spaces to see the hidden gems myself and then be able to share these finds with an audience in a thoughtful manner.

"Olsen House (Hidden Stories)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Olsen House (Hidden Stories)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

So far, what is the longest you spent in any one location?

I crave the chance to be nomadic however, my heart always belongs to one place and that is wherever my horses are located. That is what brought me to Kentucky 10 years ago and what keeps me appreciating this amazing state is all the open land that is still available here. So my journeys tend to be short in nature, however, the list is extensive on places I want to visit, even if it is only short term. 

"Maine Summer" by Jennifer Palmer, 16x22.5in, mixed media on paper (2016), $300 |  BUY NOW

"Maine Summer" by Jennifer Palmer, 16x22.5in, mixed media on paper (2016), $300 | BUY NOW

What's the most challenging part when starting on a piece of work?

To not worry about what the outcome will be and just create and be in the moment.

How long do you usually spend on a specific piece of art?

It varies and can be a few hours to months. Recently, I have been going over work I had in storage for a few years and remaking it into a new series. I strongly believe in including an element of history in my work and I am enjoying making something new out of pieces that I never felt were quite finished.  It is nice to see new life given to them and also to go back and relive the time period of when I was creating them. 

"Travel Drawing Series (Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

"Travel Drawing Series (Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

Has your style changed or evolved over the years? If so what do you think influenced this?

It has and it goes through cycles. Location and time of year influences it, also the events going on in my life. The most significant change came with the passing of my Mother from pancreatic cancer. She was the inspiration in starting to live my life to the fullest and to finally get my dream truck, and then for this journey to gather stories. I realized how significant stories and personal histories are after you lose someone and they take the stories with them. If you don’t take the time to gather and archive them you will end up losing them forever. And now my work is more about searching out those feelings and memories and I am seeing a shift of including more figurative elements into my work as a way of processing these shifts in life.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

Wendell Berry and I would love to ask him to show me his favorite location in
Kentucky and learn more about why he chose that spot. 

Name: Jennifer Palmer
Hometown: Simpsonville, Kentucky
Age: 35
Education: MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design; BA in Art and Political Science, Cedar Crest College (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Website: http://jenniferpalmer.tumblr.com

"Summer Days (Finchville, KY) by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Summer Days (Finchville, KY) by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Maine Traveling Sketchbook" by Jennifer Palmer, ink on paper (2016)

"Maine Traveling Sketchbook" by Jennifer Palmer, ink on paper (2016)

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

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Painting, Public Art

Feature: Murals Reflect A Spirit Of Collaboration

Karl Otta   at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

Karl Otta at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

All artists begin with a blank space - a page, a canvas, a block of stone. A wall is, in theory, no different: an open invitation to fill a space with creative design and expression. Yet perhaps it takes a little more vision to imagine filling the side of a building with something that is not a billboard. Instead of presenting the public with a commercial advertisement, why not something that captures the flavor of the neighborhood and inspires community engagement? 

Braylyn Resko Stewart puts the finishing touches on his MAPPED OUT mural.

Braylyn Resko Stewart puts the finishing touches on his MAPPED OUT mural.

Murals exist around Louisville; created by individual artists and often sponsored by community organizations and neighborhood groups, but these efforts, however laudable, are, by and large, disparate projects occurring without synchronicity. They are positive in their impact and done with the best of intentions, but what if these earnest initiatives could be expanded, and given infrastructure to support the desire?

In answer to those questions, Louisville Visual Art (LVA), in partnership with the Center for Neighborhoods, has launched MAP (Mural Art Program) a long-term, sustainable public art program that engages local businesses, professional artists, Louisville Metro, and the greater Louisville community in the creation of large-scale murals to celebrate our city's unique identity and enhance civic pride.

The collaboration was functionally born out of a mural project in Hikes Point in which CFN had engaged with artist Liz Richter to plan and execute a design on a lengthy expanse of wall on the Big Lots building at 3938 Taylorsville Road. In developing her proposal, Richter reached out to LVA’s Director of Education and Outreach, Jackie Pallesen. “That was in late Fall 2015,” remembers Pallesen. “Liz knew community outreach would be important. And she knew we had a lot of experience with that.”

Liz Richter details her Hikes Point Mural and the process behind the project.

That element of Richter’s proposal resonated strongly with CFN Director Tom Stephens, and after she was selected, the communication continued with LVA after both organizations found themselves crossing paths on the hunt for funding. Although CFN had an initiative for public art, P.A.I.N.T. (Producing Art In Neighborhoods Together), it still saw the use and value of collaborating with LVA. “We could have perhaps figured out the answers to some of he questions ourselves, but why not go to the experts instead?” explains Stephens.

Liz Richter working on the public mural at MAPPED OUT.

Liz Richter working on the public mural at MAPPED OUT.

Such a comment points to the shared elements of each organization’s mission, the need to empower diverse community voices while enhancing Louisville's public spaces through the visual arts, and how natural it is to pool resources to better accomplish that goal. Partnerships such as this are essential and becoming more and more common because they make sense. 

The Hikes Point project came about not long after the LVA education team’s research and development for MAP, which had included visiting neighboring cities and meeting with their counterparts in other organizations such as LexArts in Lexington and ArtsWave in Cincinnati. 

Synchronicity was also a factor in providing a first, official salvo in launching MAP, when Ashley Trommler of strADegy Advertising approached LVA with an original design for a mural, called “Flourish.” Trommler had been touring the city looking for just the right location for her inspirational message when she spied a large wall on LVA’s Portland location that felt perfect. 

Mural designed by Ashley Trommler and executed by Ashley Brossart & Alyx McClain. Located at Louisville Visual building in Portland (Louisville, KY).

Mural designed by Ashley Trommler and executed by Ashley Brossart & Alyx McClain. Located at Louisville Visual building in Portland (Louisville, KY).

The newly installed "Flourish" mural was painted by Louisville artists Ashley Brossart and Alyx McClain, and unveiled on July 28. "Flourish embodies the spirit of collaboration between LVA, Center for Neighborhoods and Louisville Metro. Having this mural on our building signifies our commitment to making Portland a creative hub for our city. MAP will create opportunities for local artists and business owners to enhance community engagement and development," said LVA Executive Director Lindy Casebier. 

Mo McKnight Howe, owner of Revelry Boutique Gallery and Board Member for LVA and the Fund for the Arts, worked with LVA’s education team on developing MAP, and organized a kick-off fundraiser at the Garage Bar on August 19 that featured live painting by artists, Karl Otto, Pat Stephenson, Alyx McClain, Ashley Brossart, Braylyn Resko Stewart, Vinnie Kochert, and Liz Richter, with the 8’ x 8’ panels being auctioned on-line during the event. Says How, “Art has a great affect in transitioning neighborhoods. Louisville needs more murals and MAP is the answer to this need.”

Vinnie Kochert at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

Vinnie Kochert at work on his mural at MAPPED OUT.

Artists at work on the mural at MAPPED OUT.

Artists at work on the mural at MAPPED OUT.


keith.jpg

This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


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Photos by Sarah Katherine Davis. Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.