Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Subterfuge Studios Project: Episode 1: Jen Raven

Subterfuge Studios Project is a new blog series aimed at providing a glimpse into the studios and spirits of an eclectic mix of local artists. Whether they be painters, writers, musicians, performers, designers, or crafters, each artist featured in SSP has agreed to share his or her personal space with you, the reader. All bio and interview questions are answered in the artist's own words. 

First up, a peek into the space and mind of the quirky, indomitable Jen Raven.

Jennifer Powers (aka) Jen Raven 
I can be overly enthusiastic about a wide range of mediums.  Acrylic gesso and acrylic paints are what I enjoy most.  I'm also a big fan of heavy gel mediums, watercolors, photoshop, spraypaint, pencil, crayon, sharpie, clay, faux furs, feathers, foams, wigs, papers of all kinds and paper mache, paperboards, fixatives, varnishes, threads, yarns, trims, plastics, metals, polyfill, found objects, wires in every gauge, fabrics of all kinds, notions of all kinds, tapes of all kinds, and glues of all kinds.  I could keep going and going with this list.  And I love tools and machines as much as I love materials.

Studio name: 
My nick-name for the studio is 'Willow Run' after a WWII manufacturing plant in Michigan, which was built by Ford Motor Company for the mass production of B-24 Liberator military aircraft.  Willow Run got off to a slow start, at first, and had the press joking, "Will-It-Run?"  But then they got the bugs worked out, and production picked up to an astonishing degree ... the amazing production capacity of this plant (640 B-24s per month!) helped the Allies win the war.  
We live in Bakersfield's Southwest.  My studio is a converted space in our home.  
Studio dimensions:

Studio space measures ten feet by fifteen feet; we took the doors off the closet to make the room bigger.  
Favorite feature: 
For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of having a dedicated work space that was all mine, with enough room to accommodate supplies and materials, while still also having enough space to handle several projects-in-progress at once. I finally have that space.  I still turn into an emo kid and get choked up when I walk through the door, every single time.  I can't believe my good fortune.  This studio has good light, lots of shelf space, three separate flat work spaces, and enough room to accommodate three standing easels at one time.  I'm home.

More info at: 

1. Favorite candy and why?  

Pink coconut bonbons from See's.  (The Tiperary bonbons are very good, too.)  I like these bonbons because they are like everything good about frosting, but concentrated.  I love frosting.  Love.  Frosting.  Keep the cake and just give me the frosting.

2. Do you have a collection, and if so, what do you collect?
I do have a collection:  I collect art pieces with wings.  Right now the favorites in my collection are two winged pieces by brilliant local talent Susan Roussel.  (Susan will be part of a small group exhibit, 'Fright Sights' opening First Friday, October 7 at The Foundry, 1602 20th Street, beginning at five pm.  Admission is free!)
3. Local musician/artist/writer etc. who deserves more attention:

The work of local Painter (and currently, Volunteer Gallery Director, Gallery Manager, Curator and Teacher) Jesus Fidel absolutely needs more attention.  We are damn lucky Jesus Fidel chooses to give so generously of his time and talent to building Bakersfield's Art Community.  If you don't know Jesus yet, spend some time at The Empty Space Gallery and get to know him.  He's an amazing painter,  and one hell of a nice guy.

4. Inspirations?
Human relationships --that is, our relationships with our selves, with each other, with our world -- make up the bulk of my subject matter.  One way or another all of my work revisits this theme.  My inspirations are drawn from literature, theatre, history, and of course, personal experience.  I am deeply moved, and I have a strong desire to communicate these feelings to others.  

5. Personal soapbox:
My pet charity here in town is the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.  Please join me in supporting this excellent group of people in helping to make our community safer for everyone.  They can be found on Facebook, and also at  
(My philosophy or things I find important would take up pages and pages and pages and I'd never get done.  I'm just too worked up about too many damned things, lol).

[Ed. note: To check out more from Jen Raven, stop by downtown's First Friday event, October 7, 2011, from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.]

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