Tacocat‘s artists have been in the pipeline ever since they celebrated another birthday in their Grandview digs. I have interviewed Larry Doyle, Lisa McLymont, Adam Brouilette, Christopher Burk and now it’s time for Jen Wrubleski. I have looked forward to this interview for quite a while because I love her take on cats and her sense of humor is quirky and fun!
So here goes…
Jen and I have met several times at Tacocat events and then I found out she works at Pattycake (yummmmmmmm) with a friend of mine. The fact that she loves cats and cakes makes her a winner right there for me! But wait, as I interviewed her, I found out we even had more in common!
Let’s get to know her a little better…she has lived many places: Pennsylvania (woot!), Washington and then Williamstown WV…too funny, I lived right across the bridge from there years ago (way before her time!) in Marietta OH! So, of course, we had to talk about the joys of living in a little itsy bitsy town! Attending CCAD brought her to Columbus and she likes it so much she has never left…lucky for us!
As she puts it, “I started off drawing silly pictures of cats when I was a little kid and now, after years of art school and professional experience, I’m still drawing silly pictures of cats.” Of course, we had to compare notes about cats and even shared pics of our favorite felines in their silliness. She just LOVES CATS and would love to have 27 of them in 10 years…a girl after my own heart!
After graduation with an illustration major, she landed what was supposed to be a part-time gig at Pattycake Bakery that turned into a full time job that she loves. Not only does she work there, she is part owner as this bakery is a co-op business and she is the most recent of 7 owners/employees. Over the time she has worked there, she has worked her way up to the positions of head cake decorator decorating custom cakes and cake-by-the-slice. This job is creatively rewarding to her and she loves the fact that she has creative control over what she does even though she has no formal training in the field. And the other perk is that her “job” doesn’t interfere with her work as an artist, they sorta play off each other.
Jen’s art business is titled Jen Wrubleski Illustration and her first studio was at the now defunct Junctionview in Grandview. When several of those artists moved to Tacocat, it felt only natural to move there with them. Having a dedicated studio is important to her because it helps her focus on her work (rather than doing laundry, playing with the cats, etc!) Ordinarily, she spends about 20-25 hours a week in her studio creating. Being part of a collective is also important to her as she expressed that having other artists to bounce ideas off of has helped her evolve in a way that might not have been possible if she worked alone.
When asked to categorize her art, her first response was ‘I like to joke that my specialty is “glueing stuff to stuff” ‘ But when pushed to be a little more serious she stated that she loves using alternative methods and materials in making her art.In that vain, she strongly encourages artists to bend the rules and try new ways to make artwork rather than sticking with only the tried and true techniques. Most of her works are tactile illustrations that are made by layering graphic shapes with more involved patterns. Inspiration comes form the colors, shapes, and textures of the world around her.
As her website states:
She meticulously collages mundane materials like wallpaper, decorative papers, and buttons into colorful storybook scenes. Her bizzarely adorable characters are bright and cheery, yet they all have a slightly mischievous glint in their eyes. As a viewer, she invites you to create your own stories about these whimsical images.
She’s tried some new techniques lately and perfected some using wood panels because they make it easier to apply more layers. She is particularly fond of re-purposing paper materials. She builds layers of paper with thin glazes and sanding between them to give more depth to her works. Keeping several pieces going at the same time so she has the time to tweak them and view them over time rather than focusing on one piece at a time.
Over the last few years, she has had shows at Haiku Restaurant and Brothers Drake Meadery and participated in Chalk the Block in Easton…she will be participating in this event again next weekend. Just recently she had an exhibit of her vegetable works at North Market. She and fellow Tacocat member, Claire Smith also were the curators of a yummy little show that I had the honor of participating in at the gallery called Snack Time.
As for what the future holds for her and her art, she says she is a ‘baby step’ kinda person with no grand plans just continued focus on her art.
And of course, there was more humor from this quirky and cute young lady when I asked her is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you? Any suggestions for other questions that should be added to interviews? and her response was:
Let’s just talk about my cat for the whole interview. Gotta love this girl!!!
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