Today, we are interviewing Jen Hernandez, an Artist and Photographer from Ohio. Her artwork has been featured in the Women of Appalachia Project Exhibitions and the Tejas Millennial Exhibition, as well as others.
Most recently, She recently completed a project called Naked: the Nude Body Empowerment Project. This is being featured in the International Women's Art Exhibition at Ohio University on April 13th, 2020.
1. How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
I currently work in virtual education, but my degrees are in Law and Psychology. I have a chronic illness in the way of Systemic Lupus. I grew up relatively poor and learned to create with the materials that I could get ahold of. I have a 14 year old son, and I have been no stranger to hardships. I have been married twice though nothing stuck. It took years for me to recognize myself as an artist and Photographer because I always imagined you had to have some sort of social status to do so. I teach others art therapy techniques because that is how I dealt with the hardships that I encountered throughout my life. My goal remains to help people through artistic expression, whether that is in creating or seeing my vision of art. I do this through Photography, Painting, Drawing, and Digital Art.
2. Who are your role models?
I think that my role models are those who aren't afraid to be their genuine selves. I know how it is to struggle with acceptance both from others and yourself.
3. What inspires you?
I am inspired by all things I encounter in life, whether it would be a hardship or a great joy in life. I think we learn something from all of it. I feel that if we don't, then we haven't been paying attention. I do a lot of nude artwork and photography because I think that is how we really break those barriers and show the vulnerability of humans in general.
4. Please tell us about what you do.
I run Arti St Studio at www.artistreetstudio.com; this works in conjunction with my photography company Jen Hernandez Photography. This is a collective business with my sisters, who are both in different phases of their businesses as ‘Empowered Creatives'. I have a sister who is an author and publisher with Higher Ground Books and Media and a sister who is into all things theater with her company South Wing-G.
Some of the work done by her:
5. What's your most memorable experience?
I think that one of my most memorable experiences was my first solo show at The Orphanage Gallery on Front Street in Dayton, Ohio. I got quite a few people to turn out and see my work, and I got some great feedback though the turnout wasn't so large that it was overwhelming. Watching people view my work is an amazing thing for me. I can't wait for my 70 photo exhibition in April at Ohio University.
6. Which social media channels work best for promoting your work? What exactly do you do on the social media channel that makes it work for you?
I think that social media is difficult at times for artists and photographers because there are so many talented people doing these things that your stuff really can get lost among the masses. I have an okay following on all of my social media but always hope that I can share with more. My largest is probably Instagram because of hashtag use.
7. What's your greatest fear?
I guess I fear that I didn't do enough promotion to bring my work to other people and keep developing as an artist.
8. Looking back, what's one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
I wish I had realized earlier that the “Elite” in the art world are full of it. I wish I had thought of myself as an Artist and Photographer before I had been doing it for over 30 years. I wish I had the same confidence in myself back then that I do now.
9. What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I have been able to continually evolve and grow and learn in my crafts, which has helped me be what I am. I think that was what helped me the most. I have started over many times, and I am no longer afraid to fail sometimes. I learned to be unapologetically me.
10. What keeps you going when things get tough?
I think my love for what I am doing and for what my art stands for is what keeps me going. I think it helps people to understand me as a person a bit more, and I can express myself through pictures sometimes better than words. I also like to think I learn more when things are tough.
11. Any message for our readers.
If you love something, invest in your talent….and not always money, time. Believe it or not, you are worth it.