Jenny Brown's Blog
Go Ahead and Ruin It
May 16, 2013 by Jenny Brown

I was delighted to be asked recently to be a part of "BalletX," a benefit exhibit at
Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia which goes on view in July. There was only one catch-work for the show had to be made or presented on a 10" x 10" cradled board. I've tried to display my collages in this manner before, but it hasn't been that successful. I always found myself fumbling over the process, so frustrated that I couldn't slow myself down enough to be more thoughtful about mounting and treating the materials. I can't do something like this, I told myself-
I like making my work my way because there is a sense of immediacy in results!

But I have found that when I stop taking risks and trying new things, my work can become too repetitive. Since I knew exactly what images I wanted to develop in the collages, I was really able to focus my energy on mastering the art of preparing these board presentations. As much as I have always hated creating/building/making things that take "too many steps," (much the way I dislike cooking because of the many steps),  this process became almost mediative for me--fixing the paper to board, using a roller to smooth out bubbles, and finally, the biggest step-varnishing! 

Once mounted on board, I found my collages taking on a new role in space, and a new presence, and I really liked it. Maybe it's that the collage on board allows the viewer to get closer to the work, where as in a frame there is the barrier of the glass? Or perhaps it's the element of having a work that is more of an "object," having more density?

I'm glad I didn't let my usual fear of messing things up keep me from trying this. And I certainly did mess up on the first few pieces-streaky, clumpy varnish, wrinkled paper, etc. But I didn't wallow in the loss of a few collages to some less-than-stellar varnishing. My freshman year Introduction to Painting teacher's advice was echoing in my head all during this experiment. She said it was never good to get immediately attached to a work-there are always things that can be improved about the piece (but you might not always get it right). That it's better to give it a shot and possibly ruin something, rather than sit there too satisfied with a first attempt. If it gets ruined, it was never really good in the first place. Excellent advice that once again rang true during this project. So I went ahead a ruined a few pieces, and ended up with Flowering Bark (shown above). Infinitely better than the pieces I started with.
Jenny Brown is a Providence-based artist who loves drawing, collage, and working with found materials- especially old paper.

Archived Posts
August 2018
- Jenny Brown Art for Alex & Ani

June 2018
- Power of the Flower at Concord Art

March 2018
- Jenny Brown Art at the AAFNYC 2018

January 2018
- Jenny Brown Art Prints Now Available at!

August 2017
- Jenny Brown Art Prints at Artfully Walls!

February 2017
- Jenny Brown Art at Anthropologie

November 2016
- Jenny Brown Art Pop Up at West Elm 12/3!

October 2016
- Looking for Limited Edition Prints of my work?

June 2016
- Where to Find Me

December 2015
- Thank you, 2015

January 2015
- Welcome 2015

August 2014
- Treasure of the Stars & the Sea

April 2014
- Upcoming Collaboration with Pony Anarchy Magazine

February 2014
- Enormous Tiny Art #15 at Nahcotta

September 2013
- Work/Life 3: The UPPERCASE Directory of Illustration

May 2013
- Go Ahead and Ruin It

April 2013
- Regeneration

March 2013
- Barnacles and Blossoms at Voltage Coffee & Art

February 2013
- Losing Face

October 2012
- "Harmony" at Castleton State College

May 2012
- In the Moment

March 2012
- Harmony

January 2012
- The Search...

August 2011
- The Beginning...