Featured Artist: Jennifer Janesko

Jennifer Janesko002 edited

Artist / Jewelry Designer / Instigator

Janesko has redefined the term “pinup” art.

Kansas City, Kansas

Find her at


When did you decide to pursue art?

I have been drawing and painting since I was a toddler. I started working free lance as an artist in college and continued with that work after graduation.

What was your art education?

I attended Columbus College Of Art & Design in Columbus Ohio my freshman year on scholarship.  I transferred to Stephens College in Columbia Missouri for my second year of college, so that I could pursue fashion design.

Did you mentor or just start out on your own?

I started out on my own, but I had a fantastic internship with a fellow alumni.  She was a freelance fashion illustrator.  She gave me a lot of insight to working as an independent artist.

What do you consider yourself, pro,  working, amateur ?

I am a full time fine artist and have been for over 20 years.  I think an artist is always in transition and continues to grow creatively.  It is a professional operation and I put great importance on ethical and fair business practices.

What is it you are passionate about painting/drawing?

I have always been attracted to drawing figures, mostly women.  Even as a child, this was my subject of choice.  Recently, I have been working on abstract pieces and focusing on how to blend my abstract and figurative work.

Why that? and not babies or pets or landscapes?

Every artist has a subject of choice.  I have always been drawn to expressing a mood or moment in time and this can easily be captured in human form.  Our emotions are complex and the body is very expressive.

Do you feel like you have a particular style and if so what is it?

I feel like my style is more modern.  What that means to me is that I prefer to tell a story with minimal information.  I put the thought on paper and the viewer fills in the blanks to make it their own.  There is a saying in art, “line stops, but thought continues.”

What do you think sets your work apart from others in your genre?

Ultimately that is for the viewer to decide, but my goal is to inject as much passion and truth into every piece I create.  I think if you approach your art in an honest and organic manner, then the viewer will connect with that honesty.

Do you paint from references or from live subjects?

I prefer to create my own personalities and figures.  However, I am very inspired by photography and sometimes an image moves me so much, I want to explore it artistically.  Mark, your images do that for me.  That is why I was honored to use many of your images as reference.  I think we both are attracted to the same type of lighting and line!

What do you consider your greatest strength in your art?

Honestly, I think being a woman helps me connect with female emotions, which in turns translates seamlessly into my work.

What is your creative process? how does an idea grow and mature into your final image?

Inspiration comes at different times, in different ways.  Other artists, photographers, movies, music, almost anything I absorb on a daily basis can create a spark.  I think for an image to be successful, you have to be willing to take the image wherever it goes.  Even if you are set on one idea, if it goes another way, go with it.  A sketch can start one way and the painting can take a whole other direction.

How much time do you spend on any particular image?

When I don’t have a lot of time, but I want to be creative I work on sketches.  Sketches can take from 15 minutes to a couple hours.  Paintings are a completed thought process and I like to work straight through on one image.  Paintings usually take a couple weeks, but I am thinking about diving back into oils, which will really stretch my timeline out over a month.

Wine, beer, spirits or other?

Wine with dinner, cocktails for happy hour, beer if I am eating Japanese or in a pub.

Generally do you create for you? for a client? for a commercial purpose?

All of these.  The beauty of an artistic life is that it can change day to day.  I love the idea of a life outside the box.

What was your single worst mistake you have made in your artistic journey?

Investing too much money into making a large quantity of prints before doing the research.  It was a numbers game and I didn’t do my homework.  I invested in my own printer and now I do my prints on demand…technology saves the day!

Describe your work in 10 words or less

Contemporary figurative mixed media fine art.

Give us some insights to you, your process and your art?

My process always varies.  In the last couple of years, I have been pushing myself to try new surfaces, materials and techniques.  I want to push myself to care less about what works commercially and focus more on my emotion and my creative ability.  Just like any field, you can get stuck in a process that always seems to work for you.  It is a challenge to try the unknown and sometimes risk losing collectors or disappointing people, but as an artist it is your job to look at the big picture and reconnect with the feelings that you had when you began a creative life.  In the beginning you have no reference point and that allows you to create freely.  Once you distribute a body of work, the public will be quick to make sense of what you are doing and put you on a shelf in a certain category.  That is what I must push against and that is why I have been working more organically in my studio, meaning I don’t have a set goal.  I just allow myself to take things wherever they will go and I hope that collectors will stay on board for the ride.

What other artists, photographers etc have influenced your work? and how did they?

Some of the first photographers that influenced me were Helmut Newton, Scavullo, Horst and Bruce Weber,  I am drawn to fashion photography in a major way.  A lot of the black and white high key stuff really inspires me.  My house is full of more photography than paintings and drawings.  I studied photography a little and finally bought a digital SLR last year,  Currently I use it to photograph my art and take model shots, but I plan to reach beyond those shots.  I am also a jewelry designer and I always hire a photographer for those shots.  It is important to me that the styling, makeup and lighting are all perfect and if you are also shooting, it is too much to control.

Social media… a god send or the spawn of satin, explain!

Whatever bad is out there (image piracy/distraction/information overload), it is godsend for entrepreneurs.  The ability to reach art collectors and consumers directly is a game changer.  I sold over 30 original paintings at a gallery in Las Vegas in the early 90’s and I don’t know a single buyer.  Collectors prefer to know the artist or designer and social media allows them to see your process and know your thoughts behind the work.  People are interested in connecting and most people would rather own art that has a back story, that has a deeper meaning.  I have had a lot of early collectors fine me again on social media and that is very valuable to me.  For me personally, I love to discover the work of other artists or watch their video demonstrations.  Instagram is my favorite place to discover art and photography.  I am visual, so social media is amazing for me professionally and personally.  The downside for me is that it takes time to keep all those platforms updated, but you just build it into your daily routine.  A lot of artists hire people just to mange social media, but I am not sure if I can let go just yet.

When you are painting a model what is it your setting out to achieve?

Painting an actual model or doing a commission based on a real person is very challenging.  You walk this like between your own style, depicting the person as they really are and depicting the person as they see themselves.  There is more psychology involved than you might imagine.  Women are very sensitive about how they are represented, so it becomes more of a collaboration.  It is delicate.

When you started painting did you every imagine the level of success you would have?

I never think about success in terms of fame or acknowledgment, I never cared about those things.  My idea of success is being allowed to freely create and make money in the process so that I can travel and continue to freely create.

How did it feel when you sold your first original painting and realized a collector had purchased it?

Over the moon.  Selling a painting means it is time to create another!  My fist sale was at a small shop in my home town.

Can you describe your technique in general terms? brush, air brush?

I always start a piece with a small  pencil sketch.  If I want it larger, I project the small sketch onto a large surface and tighten up the details.  Once the pencil sketch is set, it could go a number of ways for the finishing technique.  Some things I like to use are ink/charcoal, watercolor, acrylic, pastel and now oil.  I have moved away from airbrush, which I explored for over 20 years.  I will always have a connection to the airbrush, but it was time to put my hand to paper.

Did you every try painting men or any other subject than woman?

I have created private commissions for male collectors, but I don’t want to do this full time, so I don’t show those pieces.

Anything else we need to know?

Although I sell original sketches and paintings, I have also published 2 books and limited edition prints.  I sell my art in calendars, including a 2016 which was released last November.

savage_printundone 24sugarPanties printopen bookImmersionIMG_3142vertigo printDreamscape largechanceBad Habit
Ten Questions for Jennifer Jenesko

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?


What turns you off?

Liars, thieves and hypocrites

What is your favorite curse word?


What sound or noise do you love?

Sliding into clean sheets and my cat purring

What sound or noise do you hate?

Leaf blowers and people chewing

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Writing songs

What profession would you not like to do?


If God exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Your dad has been waiting




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