JEN & JENNIFER
Apart from creating wonderful artworks - any other hidden talents we should know about? Also, can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Jennifer Darr the artist behind Jen and Jennifer, an illustration studio currently based in London. Born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, I am a flower obsessed tea-drinker, brunch-lover and traveller with degrees in fashion design and graphic design. At the beginning of 2014 after working in the Australian Fashion industry for 10 years, I made the 16,500km move to the UK. It was in London that I began illustrating freelance, and Jen and Jennifer was born. I now work predominately in ink and watercolour with a love of fashion illustration, lettering and content creation.
As far as hidden talents go I love to bake and used to work as a Fashion Designer before going freelance. I also have a love of travel and photography (for which I’ve just started an account on Instagram @theseptemberchronicles)
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
To me it’s about having an acceptance in yourself and not comparing yourself to others. Personally, as soon as I hit high school I started to struggle with my body confidence. It’s something that still influences the way I see myself.
When it comes to female support – what comes to mind for you? Is it positive or negative?
I’ve been very lucky to find myself in the company of some very supportive females. Instagram in particular has had a very positive impact for me in finding a like-minded community of creative women.
What the biggest risk you’ve taken to date? What were the pressure points and was it worth it?
The biggest risk I’ve taken was quitting my full time job as a Fashion Designer and moving halfway around the world. I was newly married at the time and being so happy in my personal life just highlighted how unhappy I was in my professional life. Although now I see the bigger risk would have been to stay in a place I was and not chase a better life.
What’s been one of your most memorable jobs?
Not long after becoming full time freelance I was commissioned by my home town of Brisbane to illustrate the cover of their city Shopping Guide. I was given a lot of creative freedom and it felt full circle to work with a team in the place I grew up.
How has your work and practice developed over time?
I think working for myself has largely impacted the way I practice as it has forced me to be more motivated and’ get up and go’. Working for a variety of clients also means I’ve been pushed outside my creative comfort zone and thankfully this means I’ve tried my hands at a lot of different mediums and techniques.
What or who have been some of your main creative influences?
When I was quite young I stumbled across the moody work of Rembrandt and modern artist David Downtown. David was my first introduction to fashion illustration and I still adore his work. Having come from a background in Fashion Design I find fashion shows and street style massively influential too. But tend to draw on a variety of influences including film and TV and travel.
As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception of your body and confidence changed?
I’ve found the longer you spend in your body they more you know it and come to accept it. Growing up also means you gain a stronger sense of self and no longer put so much importance on what others think of you.
When drawing female figures and personalities – do you take your own body into account?
Absolutely. Without realising it I think I do tend to draw women who look like me as its familiar and comfortable. I’d love to start expanding who I draw though and it’s something I’ve been quite conscious of lately
Social media has seemed to normalize showing your body off (quite a lot) publically now – Do you think it’s affecting body image positively or negatively?
This is a really tough one. I think it’s wonderful that through social media all sorts of bodies are being seen and shared that weren’t previously highlighted in the mainstream media. However unfortunately I also think the drive for “likes” and “follows” is forcing some younger girls to feel like it is necessary for them to show off their bodies. I think each individual needs to think a little longer and harder about the reason and necessity behind that bikini body shot before they hit post. It seems like a modern form of peer pressure to me, and I find it really disappointing that there is a trend of influencers putting so much emphasis on their bodies. That how you look seems to gain more attention than what you do or how you think.