Artbiz with Teresa Jenellen

Nov 4, 2016   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments


Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

I was lucky enough to meet Teresa on a low budget horror film shoot, where we were both extras, sorry, supporting artists. Over the course of two very long nights, we chatted about art and trying to make a living doing it too. It also turned out that we had a lot of mutual friends thanks to the Aberystwyth connection. So after the shoot, I checked out her site and was blown away by her artwork. Many thanks to Teresa for taking the time to speak to Artbiz.

Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

Teresa Jenellen, I’m a freelance artist, I have two children, two dogs, three cats, a lot of vet bills and a mortgage. But thankfully I also have a lovely husband so the bills are shared.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I’m a painter, illustrator and ceramicist. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but only full time since April this year.

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Q3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I quit my proper day job as an admin assistant in April (after 7 years at a desk), but I have pretty regular hours at a pottery so I guess that is my day job now, sort of. I mainly make dragons there.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

Regular income of course!

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

That it takes too much time, and stress and brain cells…it’s pretty difficult to come home and feel creative when you’re burnt out and have a raging headache from sitting in front of a computer all day. And I wasn’t able to switch off from it, because the day job was never finished in the day and quite often became a night job too as I carried on answering emails in the evening. Obviously I’m referring to the old admin job here, the pottery which is (sort of) my day job isn’t like that…I make dragons….and come home and do all the things I’ve been planning on doing while I was making dragons.

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

I have no complaints, I’m living the dream. (Luckily my idea of happiness doesn’t involve financial wealth)

Q7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

I’m very fortunate that I have balance in that respect, I do the pottery commercial stuff, I do a bit of illustration fulfilling brief stuff, then I do my own whatever is in my head stuff. Its better like that, I get restless, I need a bit of everything to keep me focussed.

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

Yes I have. If the commission isn’t something I want to be associated with, or the client is particularly difficult and the work is clearly going to end up taking a ridiculous amount of time which I cant fit in to my schedule I’ve learnt to say no thank you.

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

Nope, no plans. I used to make plans but life happened and shit happened. I’m just grateful for every day that I have a lovely family and breath in my body.

Q10 What do you think of your “industry”?

Love it, love it, love it.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Copyright Teresa Jenellen

Brian Froud, of course, because he has spent his entire life in Faerieland, and of course we have him to thank for The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth – All hail Brian Froud!!! And Alan Lee, I was obsessed with his paintings when I was growing up, I actually teared up reading his ‘The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook’ I got so emotional looking at his sketches. My dad used to buy me their books when I was little because he loved their work too so I have some first editions, but they are well worn and well loved. To me Brian Froud and Alan Lee are shining examples of artists who have spent their lives painting what they loved and that is inspirational.

My favourite contemporary artist is David Stoupakis, he’s amazing, I’m a teeny bit obsessed. what he can do with oil paint is… and he had dreadlocks…






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