Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenna Michele.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jenna. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
For as long as I can recall all I ever wanted to be was an artist. I remember being about 5 years old and my grandmother walked in on me coloring on my bedroom floor and said, “Jenna, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I responded, “A colorist!” I could feel her judgmental gaze on my back not knowing what a colorist was so I continued with, “I don’t really know how to draw or paint but if I could make money by coloring I will be rich!” She laughs and responds with, “Well Michele I think that’s a good plan.”
Looking back on it, this was probably one of the most monumental moments of my life. I was fascinated with colors, art, singing and pictures. Not knowing at the time of course that I was an almost crippling visual learner. All I did all day long was color.
In the years to come almost every one of my presents were these giant velvet coloring pages with stacks and stacks of gel pens. (As you can imagine I grew out of that phase.) However, when I was about 10 years old I recieved my first camera. It was a small Polaroid camera where the film was actually a sticker. I remember thinking how amazed and fascinated I was with the idea that I have just frozen this moment forever. The film for that little camera was expensive so they upgraded me to a vintage Polaroid camera. Shortly after that i recieved my first Canon digital camera. That little guy carried me through high school.
By the time I reached 17 years old I was proficiently painting and being an amateur nature photographer with multiple MySpace folders labeled, “Photography.” I originally was against the idea of taking photos of people. The idea was terrifying to me. However, after I reached 19 years old everything moved very fast. I went from doing amateur baby photography to club promoting photos to experimenting in college run way photography to finally landing on what I like to call my version of editorial photography.
Almost 20 years later from when I received that first sticker filmed Polaroid camera, here I am. It amazes me every single photoshoot that I am still so in love with the art of taking a photo.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part it has been a smooth road. Growing into, learning and becoming an “Artist” is all I have ever dreamed of. Painting helped me escape the “emotions” that come with being more artistically inclined. There was a point towards the end of 2017 and most of 2018 where I considered quitting. I suffered a traumatic brain injury and to say I felt lost in my art is an understatement. I could no longer paint with ease, I discovered a hidden talent in sculpting and my photography style changed. To this day painting is just not the same. I had to really dig deep inside myself to find the passion I once had to create
Photojenic Artistree – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business, like any true creative depends on my mood. It is comprised mostly of photography. In fact (during the infamous MySpace days) my business was first named “Jennamchele Photography.” However, as you can tell it is a little predictable and not very unique or catering to my many different artistic moods. I wanted to also showcase my paintings which I felt would be confusing under a name like “Jennamchele Photography.” Then i changed it to “PhotoJenic Photography” but I was not in love with that either. Thus, PhotoJenic Artistree was born.
The definition of “artistry” according to Google is, “creative skill or ability.” Being the unintentional Millenial that I am, I despise being labeled or put into one single box. I am universe in my own right. Physically made up of six elements, all of which connect me to the world we live in. Therefore making it impossible to be labeled under a single definition word. Which essentially is what I think sets me apart from from the rest. Being labeled as photographer, painter, sculpter, etc. Individally, implies that is all you can do.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personally, I define success as being able to do something you love without restrictions. To be coming up on almost 20 years of being able to create art in itself is a blessing but for others to enjoy what I do as well brings tears to my eyes. To hear that I have inspired anyone in anyway just absolutely takes my breathe away.
In my opinion, to still find joy and to be passionate about your “job” is winning at the highest level. If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. That is how 20 years flies by and you remember the day it all began as if it were yesterday.
- Website: www.photojenicartistree.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @photojenic_artistree
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/photojenic.artistree/