100 Creatives

100 Creatives: Jennifer Chen

(Part of our ongoing series profiling 100 Houston-area artists. No rankings; no order. Check back every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for another edition.)

What she does: By the most technical definition, Chen's current art is designing and making darkly whimsical jewelry pieces and selling them through her company Komodokat Designs. However, each piece she creates is hand sculpted and never made from a mold, so she tends to view them as miniature sculptures displayed as a fashionable art accessory rather than as jewelry. We never go anywhere of import without a custom Cthulhu lapel pin of her manufacture.

She has also worked with graphic design, mixed media, painting, and drawing. Our personal favorite example of the latter is a Chick Tract she designed to promote her husband Paul Fredric's band, Asmodeus X.

Why she likes it: "When I started Komodokat Designs in 2007, it was born out of my desire and need to create artwork infused with humor and positive vibes in the effort to cast it out into the world as an extension of myself. The intention was to start a new project that completely deviated from my norm and to see where things went from there."

What inspires her: Chen's biggest inspiration is the act of creation in and of itself. She has been an artist in multiple disciplines since the age of four, and has been involved in art competitions since the age of six.

"I've lived my entire life with the need and desire to create things. Art has always been an integral part of my life and without it I'd be lost. Art makes everything better. It allows me to step outside of the box and focus my attention on something which allows me to transcend the limitations of my human capacity."

If not this, what? Chen is dedicated to continuing to build Komodokat Designs. However, she was the editor of the goth publication Spectre Magazine from 1991 to 1998, has created a full-color tarot-deck, and has worked as a freelance designer for local musicians and businesses in the past. So there's always a variety of options to welcome her back.

If not here, where? "I don't think there is one place geographically that I would prefer to live and work. There are places close to my heart, but I'm actually happy right now and willing to roll with whatever comes my way. I can think of a lot of luxuries I'd love to have or places I'd love to live, but they wouldn't make much difference, really.

"One of the most important things I learned throughout my years of creating is the art of non-attachment and realizing that the end-result isn't really the most important thing when it comes to my life. I could live anywhere in the world and know that I could still create. It took me a long time to see this, and that knowledge permanently resides inside myself. I think that is more precious than living in a beautiful city, or having an amazing studio-space, or whatever. Material and external things, -those don't make a person whole. What makes me whole is the awareness I have something that's always with me -my art."

More Creatives

(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page.) Howard Sherman - Painter Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad Misha Penton - Opera Singer and Theater Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto - Photojournalist Tracy Robertson aka Batty - Goth Fashion Designer Tierney Malone - Creative Type Dolan Smith - Painter Jenny Schlief - Mixed-Media Artist David Eagleman - Writer Anna Sprage - Painter Philip Lehl - Actor Andy Noble - Choreographer David McGee - Painter

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner