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Meet Jennifer Tiedemann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Tiedemann.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in a small suburb of Boston, MA, and I’ve always been creative. My parents encouraged me, and I practiced art, theatre, writing, and other forms of expression throughout my childhood–if I wasn’t at school or actively involved in creative extracurriculars, I was probably sitting on the couch with a cat on my lap and a fantasy novel in my hand. I was a daydreamer with a vivid imagination, and that’s still true.

Despite my constant interest in the arts, it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. I was always trying to combine my various interests into jobs (i.e., if I love fashion, theatre, and drawing, maybe I should study costume design in college), but nothing really stuck in the long term. When I was a sophomore in high school, my art teacher introduced me to scratchboard art, a form of drawing that involves scratching lines into a dark surface to reveal a white layer underneath. This became my favorite hobby for nearly ten years; I studied non-performance theatre at Emerson College and spent most of my weekends doing makeup or wardrobe on student film sets, but I’d pick it right back up again every summer.

In my last semester of school, I participated in an internship program that brought me to Los Angeles, and I stayed after graduation because I wanted to work on film sets. If I was home from set, I was usually working on my own artwork–drawing, painting, scratchboard, and occasionally sculpture. About two years ago, I received an invite to an artist-only social network, and I learned about ways to sell my scratchboards as prints online; before that point, I didn’t think it was a career option. I started taking art classes again, to learn how to work digitally on programs such as Photoshop, as I really wanted to have mastery over more than one medium. Ever since then, I’ve been focused on bringing my ideas to life.

Please tell us about your art.
I currently have a few different collections I’m producing. I like to think of my first series as the horrors of every day; it’s derived from photos taken while traveling and translated into my scratchboard style. I take many of the photos myself, but friends and family also send me what they find sometimes. These pieces usually show abandoned places or trees with humanoid characteristics. They’re often naturally created, but sometimes it’s fun to use my imagination to stretch the truth a bit. For example, I saw some withered Joshua trees in the desert and reimagined them as a group of witches in a piece called “The Weary” last year. I started a second scratchboard series in May of this year after attending a local horror convention, which is based on houses or other settings seen in horror and fantasy films. I am a creator, but I’m also a fan, and this pays homage to some of my influences in a direct way. In terms of my digital work, I occasionally choose to paint landscapes or architecture in color, but it’s also become a valuable tool for my scratchboards. For any landmark or setting that I want my audience to recognize, I’ll often draft up the whole piece in a few layers in the iPad application Procreate as a visual guide. The thing about scratchboard is that there’s no perfect way to fix a mistake, so it forces me to be deliberate with every mark I’ve made. In terms of process, I am very detail-oriented, and this technique has allowed me to get the basic forms done faster so I can move on to the area where I’ll spend most of my time. In any medium, I strive to create work that is often dark or whimsical, but it’s never meant to be sad.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Something that’s helped me out a lot is just knowing that you honestly aren’t alone. I met most of my close friends in school, and though we aren’t on the same creative path, we’re all struggling together to accomplish our respective dreams–whether they’re in writing, acting, filmmaking, music, or art. People sometimes told me that I’d need to put aside having a social life in order to survive as an artist, but I had to find that balance between work and human interaction in order to preserve my state of mind. I can be shy sometimes, but I’ve managed to make new connections through work, taking continuing ed classes, and even just commenting on the Instagram posts of other artists whose work I like. If you just keep putting yourself out there in any small way that you’re able, you’ll find a community!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I update my Instagram profile @jtiedemannart as close to daily as I can. It includes finished works, works in progress, warmup sketches, info about upcoming showings/sales, and occasional life updates. My “horror of the every day” series is currently available as prints or merchandise through the websites Inprnt, Redbubble, and Society6, all under the username “JTiedemann.” My portfolio website, jennifertiedemann.com, contains just the highlights of my collections. I’m also happy to do commissioned work!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos: Jennifer Tiedemann.

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