Jenn Ski was the kid who always had watercolor all over her face. “I loved to paint and cut up colored paper, and I loved winning awards for my artwork,” says Jenn, who fondly remembers earning first place for transforming a “lumpy-bumpy” pumpkin into a warty, old woman in a Halloween contest. “But I never thought I could make a living through my artwork.”
So Jenn studied graphic design in college and became adept at creating on a monitor. Then the computer game company she worked for closed. “I was sad and jobless,” she says, “And my husband said, ‘What do you really want to do?’ and I said ‘Make my own art.’ So we bought a huge printer and I used it to make prints of my abstract art and opened an Etsy shop and my work started selling.”
Today Jenn’s fans can find her art on prints, cards, scrapbooking materials, and fabric. Ten Little Things, her first line with Moda, exemplifies one of the directions her work has taken—children’s illustrations. “I never drew little animals but was more of a landscape person who would go outside and draw trees,” she says. “But I’ve been able to morph my abstract designs into children’s art.”
These cheerful images feature Jenn’s signature wonky shapes and are inspired by a passion for the 1950s aesthetic. She and her husband searched long and hard for a ‘50s-style home and found one in New Hampshire, which they share with their kitty, Floyd.
Jenn’s illustrations are typically created on a computer, but lately she’s returned to painting and collage techniques. “When I started painting again it was stressful because I kept wondering ‘Where’s the undo button?’” she says with a laugh. The process is enjoyable enough, however, that this month she’ll have six pieces in the Enormous Tiny Art exhibition at the Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
When she’s not drawing or painting, Jenn can be found gardening on her wooded lot. “I love moving rocks around and I have an herb garden,” she says. “Every year I’m a different gardener with a different plan. Mostly I just love raking and being outside.” During the winter months, she pokes through local thrift shops, finding items to keep or resell. Her husband makes furniture and has filled the garage with woodworking equipment, so Jenn’s collecting has taken over their guest room.
While she’s got a painting studio, there’s no sewing room in her home. “I’ve only ever made tiny things, like pillows, and when I was little I’d do cross stitch or sew by hand,” she says. Her experience with Moda has reawakened an interest in fabric. “I’ve always wanted to learn to quilt, if only my brain can comprehend it,” she says. With all Jenn’s other talents, we’re guessing that shouldn’t be a problem.