Jennifer Davis

I first discovered Jennifer Davis' work on Pinterest and was immediately drawn to the colorful, exotic imagery. This led me to her personal site and Etsy shop, where I fell in love with her work even more. Jennifer is a fine artist based in Minneapolis and was gracious enough to share her story and work with us today.

Tell us a little about you background and what led you to become an artist.

After finishing all of my general requirements at the University of MN I was still having trouble figuring out what I wanted to DO. I took a drawing class with my roommate and fell deeply in love with making art. I ended up staying on for several more years (taking just about every art class offered) and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine arts degree in painting and drawing - with a minor in Art History- in 1998. So- it was not until college that I discovered my passion for art. I started doing art full time when I was laid off from my day job at an advertising agency in 2003. That is when I made art the focal point of my life.

Tell us a little about your process (research, tools used, etc.)

I've always thought of my process as a sort of Free Association method. I don't plan out any of my paintings, rather I just sit down and start doing- building off of whatever bubbles up. In order to make sure I don't run out of ideas I always try to keep my eyes peeled for interesting visual cues or ideas. My paintings are mostly acrylic/graphite on mounted wood panels, sometimes paper. I also like to paint on found thrift store junk objects.

Your paintings are so colorful and exotic feeling. What sort of things do you look to for inspiration? 

Are there any particular artists, books or songs that really get your imagination going? I collect found images and constantly troll the internet looking for art to inspire. Flickr Commons (vintage Creative Commons photos) is another rich source of inspiration for me. I'm inspired by animals, carnival stuff and all things vintage, especially toys. I love playing around with color combinations. I love looking at other people's art too. Right now I am swooning over:

Marco Wagner 
Aris Moore
Jennifer Sanchez  
I post art I like on Pinterest here: and I am particularly fond of my fellow MN artists- I post about them here:

Outside of painting, what other sort of creative pursuits do you have?

None that I can think of...Ha! I spend time working every single day in my studio.

I also like to ride my bike everywhere and I am a big film fanatic.

What's next for you and your work?

I'm creating a series of hand-pulled prints for Springboard for the Arts CSA: Community Supported Arts Project, and a temporary (cat) tattoo for the Walker Art Center's 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival and some other fun projects. My next solo exhibition is at Low Gallery in San Diego, CA in Sept.

What's the best part about being an artist in Minneapolis?

I've been working as an artist here since the late 90s so it feels like a really small community to me. My community of artists is tight-knit, supportive and inspiring. There is also a lot of funding support and many inclusive opportunities/galleries. I think this is a great place to be a working artists.


What's the perfect way to spend the day in Minneapolis?

My favorite way to spend the day is on a Cycle N Sip (as my pal Betsy named it)...riding all over town on my bike with my BF, Brad making stops whenever we are tired for food/beer/art/music.

We have recently visited many favorites including Sea Salt Eatery (a fish restaurant in a park overlooking Minnehaha Falls), Soo Visual Arts CenterPublic FunctionaryRosalux GalleryIzzy's Ice Cream, several new taproom/breweries and my favorite dive bar Dusty's.

What advice do you have for aspiring creatives who want to earn a living creating art? 

There are a lot of daily tasks involved in making a living as an artist that have nothing to do with actually making art. It is basically like running a small business- bleh. It is easy to get distracted by all of that stuff but the most important thing is to make art. A lot of it and all of the the time.


What's your dream collaboration?

I did a grant project last year involving vintage carousels. I'd love to paint a carousel animal- or a whole merry-go-round full of them...=0)


What does a typical day look like for you? 

Ideally- in the studio all day, outside playing all eve.


What books/articles do you think are must reads for creatives?

I don't know. I wish someone would tell me. I read mostly contemporary fiction as an escape. However, I will shamelessly plug this new book by Daniel Krysa because it is really great: 

Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists

Check out more of Jennifer's work on her website and in her Etsy shop!