Interview with Jennifer Bonwell(Porreca)
q)What is your name?
a)Porreca. Porreca is a moniker. It’s a name of someone close to me that passed away several years ago. I paint partly with her memory. She passed away at a young age. My real name is Jennifer Bonwell.
q) Where do you live and work?
a)I live and work in one of the greatest cities….San Francisco. I’ve lived here for 10 years. I am still in love with this place.
q)What is your creative process like?
a)My creative process is a lengthy one. It usually starts with a lot of descriptive writing, using words to describe the emotions I want to feel when I look at a finished piece. I start with the end feeling in mind. Writing has always been my second love, and I start in my journal. Each series of paintings from the color palette to the content typically is indicative of experiences. I use my paintings as a visual journal of my emotions, and also my reflection of what is happening in the world. From the journal, I move onto researching color palettes and the history of places, people. I draw inspiration from Russian Folk Art paintings, manga, art nouveau, and the magic of life.
q)What is your favorite medium?
a)Acrylic on hardwood. I enjoy using found frames and found wood as well.
q)What is your current favorite subject?
a)Women, flowers, and ribbons tied in various places.
q)How long does it take for you to finish a piece?
a)It really depends on the size of the piece. These days up to one month to complete one painting and to feel great about it. For smaller pieces less time.
q)What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
a)Every day feels like a new day to me, and my greatest accomplishment is that I have been able to balance the demands of the art world, with the creation of my art with my every day friend and family life.
q)Are there any contemporary artists that you love?
a)Theo Jansen, Takaya Miou, Koji Murai, and the dancers of Cirque du Soleil
q)Can we buy your art anywhere?
a)Please visit my website at http://www.jennporreca.com/ and look at the Exhibitions page. It lists any upcoming exhibits and locations. I have an upcoming exhibit at Ad Hoc Art Gallery on July 25th in New York which I’m very excited about.
q)Anything that people should know about that we don’t??
a)I am allergic to most paint.
q)What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
a)Focus and work harder than you’ve ever worked before every time.
q)What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
a)My partner and musician Mike Boo. He’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met and we walk this path together, share our creative space (the good and the bad), and encourage each other in our life and in our art. I couldn’t do this without him.
q)How do you describe your work to those who are unfamiliar with it?
a)It is always hard to put your art in a box with words that are used to describe it, but I usually describe it as a Modern-day urban folklore.
q)What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
a)No formal training, though I grew up in Amish country in Pennsylvania and saw a lot of folk-art as a kid. My mother carved tombstones for a living, roses, praying hands, the faces of jesus and mary. I grew up in my mom’s studio and she taught me about art, about working hard to achieve your own visions of perfect imagery. I learned that sometimes you have to redo things sometimes 20 times before its right.
q)Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
a)My tiny paintbrushes for details and q-tips. I never paint without qtips and water nearby.
q)Who are your influences?
a)Mike Boo, my friends, my family, my history, my books, my life.
q)What inspires you to create?
a)I would die if I couldn’t, so every day I wake up and its part of my day. Creating is my life.