Instagram: @jennifervanmeter Tumblr: jennifervanmeter.tumblr.com Website: www.jennifervanmeter.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I'm a freelance illustrator living in Brooklyn but was born and raised in London, England. I grew up as a pretty shy child so I'd often spend my time at school tracing whatever children's book was available and my love of art sort of blossomed from that.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.Stylistically I love flat, bold shapes with textured detail done with a minimalistic approach. Conceptually I like to incorporate a bit of fun, cheeky charm and wit/humour to the piece.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?I tend to do the bulk of my work digitally since it takes the pressure off of making sure I chose the right colours etc, but I love using acrylic to paint the detail and add texture to make each piece more unique – my small way of fighting the increasing digital world.
4. What is your artistic process like?For an editorial brief I'll read the article, jot down immediate concepts (usually based off of any visual queues from the piece), and go from there. I’ll then pencil some rough thumbnails, draw a more rendered sketch from the chosen thumbnail, and then go on to finish the final. Lastly the sketch gets scanned in and I'll create the base shapes in Photoshop but hand paint the textured, detailed elements and scan it all in to Photoshop to finish. It's roughly the same for any personal work, except my thumbnailing is more for composition and overall look and less about the concept since I'm already fairly certain about the direction I want to going in.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?I’ve always admired incredible draftsmen and any artist who uses colours in such an unexpected way. There are so many inspiring illustrators these days it's a really wonderful time to be a part of it all, but as a child we’d spend our summers visiting Disney – so Mary Blair has always been a big favourite of mine. I also have an incredibly supportive family and having that support makes it much easier to be creative.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?I'm always on the hunt for a visual pun/joke! I often spend my time looking around and sounding out the names of different objects I come across repeatedly in order to see if there's something there. Also I love watching the way people, particularly in New York, pair different textiles and colours - so street fashion is a good stimulation to experiment with colour and texture in my work.
7. Where did you study?I was fortunate enough study at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated in 2014
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?Oh man, I'd love to be continuously working freelance, maybe at a bigger desk and more spacious studio with other illustrators. I also have a tendency to second-guess my work, so I’d love for that to change in 5 years time.
9. What about in ten?No clue! As boring as it sounds hopefully something close to the 5 year plan. That much preplanning is not in my nature.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?If my illustrations can get a reader to pause and engage with an article that's important or beneficial then that's all I could ask for. Even making people let out the faintest chuckle or something of that nature is a wonderful feeling – it’s art after all, nothing so serious.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?Oh it's definitely a toss-up between sushi and Thai. I love bubble tea and Thai iced tea too so it's all a win-win.
12. Favourite book?Embarrassingly I haven't read enough books to make a sound judgment call, but I've been reading South and West by Joan Didion and it's wonderful - definitely open to suggestions!
13. Favourite genre of music?There are tons genres nowadays and I'm so useless at naming them but I love a bit of everything. Depeche Mode, The Smiths are favourites of mine and I'm a massive fan of anything Jack White touches.
14. What are your hobbies?It's a bit of a cliché but being around my friends and sisters is probably the closest thing I have to a hobby. Any time I contemplate taking up a new activity I usually think about how that time could be spent illustrating and I end up focusing my energy on that. I love what I do so it works out well
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?Ideally working at Crayola and coming up with different, exotic names of crayon colours. But realistically I've always enjoyed acting so maybe something with that, although on second thought I'm not sure that's any more realistic.