100 Creatives: Jenny Schlief
Jenny Schlief: Serious artist portraits are overrated anyway.
(Part of our ongoing series profiling 100 Houston-area artists. No rankings; no order. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for another edition.)
What she does: The mixed-media artist creates work from her personal experiences -- home movies of her two kids, a video of her jumping on a hotel room bed in her skivvies and collage-centric drawing projects based on her high-school sketchbook -- that usually border on her uncomfortable-to-share feelings. Says Schlief, "Often, the work itself is an intensely intimate moment."
Why she likes it: Schlief is definitely not one of those artists that shuts herself in a studio while shunning the larger art world. She gets just as jazzed to work on a project as she does collecting pieces and running a gallery at Red White Yellow. "But sometimes," says Schlief, "I get disappointed at the level of honesty in contemporary art. Like, sometimes it can be too academic or too silly, or just boring. I want to make art that I don't see often, something that speaks about the human condition and experience."
What inspires her: According to the artist, "Psychology, innocence, naivety, humans, awkwardness, late-night conversations with good friends, my family." Then there's the less visceral stuff, such as internet artists, new media work and bare-bones drawings with lots of color. "Abstract collage is starting to grow on me, too," she says.
If not this, what else? Schlief knew exactly what she was going to be when she grew up. She even went so far to tell her mom at age three. "I never changed my mind. I do a lot of other things. I love design and real estate and make money doing both, but my focus inevitably comes back to art."
If not here, then where? Unless there's a Houston, Texas somewhere out there in the spaceways, the H-Town native is totally happy in the Bayou City. "I would be so sad to not be here . . . . it's a world-class city that no one knows about."
Her proudest moment: There's been plenty in her career as an artist, but for Schlief, it's all about her family. "I could say after I spent 23 hours giving birth to my son, or after I gave birth to my daughter and she finally breathed after what felt like an eternity. Or the day I gave up on career path to be with my dad in the hospital or when I pledged to a man that loves me. All these things make me proud because they make me a better person."
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page.)
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