Jenny Belin is a Brooklyn based painter who has been working as a fine artist since 1995. She started as a fashion illustrator with drawings published in magazines and newspapers including the New Yorker and the NY Daily News. She began running her pet portrait business in the late 90s and continues to receive commissions with regularity.
Her non-commissioned works vary in subject: women, flowers, and pin-ups create a thematic intersection of feminism, power, and beauty. She has had solo exhibitions of paintings in New York and Los Angeles. Her work is in collections both nationally and internationally.
How did you get into the industry?
I began taking art classes when I was very young. Later I studied art more seriously in high school and at Skidmore College, where I graduated with a degree in Fine Arts. I started painting pet portraits professionally in 1998. Making pictures of cats and dogs had always been a lot of fun, but I had never considered this kind of work to be a career option, until friends and family encouraged me to give it a try. I was lucky early on to receive great press from Domino Magazine and Apartment Therapy. This exposure opened many doors and helped put me on the map.
What’s the best way someone has responded to your artwork
I began my series of feminist portraiture in 2016: First in this series was a painting of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In partnership with feminist and muse Diana Kane we made the RBG portrait into a wearable pin, which Diana sells in her Brooklyn Boutique. The pin has reached a lot of people and was even worn by Madonna at the 2017 Women’s March. In 2019 I received a handwritten thank you note from RBG herself.
During my professional career, I have always painted women and have always been a feminist. The appreciation of this work and my perspective is very meaningful to me.
Inspiration for your work, and your vision for the business?
The most inspiring artists are people who reinvent themselves throughout their careers, even if this means taking risks and being provocative.
What goals do you have for your work in the near future
In July 2018 I moved into a new studio and started making paintings on a larger scale.
I am beginning a new creative venture, designing chiffon silk scarves with elements of my recent paintings.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
My best experiences with commissioned work have been with people who were clear about what they wanted, while at the same time had familiarity with my style and trust in my abilities.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Find your people; keep making connections and new friends. Stay Grounded but keep dreaming. If you don’t have a thick skin, pretend that you do.
What do I do best?
My focus is always on an individual’s distinct style and character. The uniqueness of my subject’s personality is what I capture best.
What are my aspirations?
More shows / More exposure
“Tell your story and you will be interesting” – Louise Bourgeouis
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
1. Flea Markets and flower districts in Mexico City.
2. Gardens and swimming pools in Los Angeles
3. The Vatican Museum in Rome.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Big chunky jewelry from stoop sales + EBay.
Vintage Applique (Bees and Cats.)
Sicilian Perfume, Leopard Tights, Opera Pink Gouache, Black Star Ink.
My Current Passions?
* Avocados * Borghese Gallery * Crepe Paper * David Bowie * Eve Babitz/ Edamame/ EBAY * Fiorucci/Felini * Greta Garbo,* Hot Coffee * Iced Coffee * Joan Didion/ Jean Luc Godard * Kamala Harris* Lipstick /Lollipops * Mexico City * Nostalgia/Neon * Ornate wallpaper * Pablo Picasso * Q-Tip * RBG* Strong personalities/Scrabble * The (19) Twenties, * Unique Points of View * Vermillion/Vintage * Women for president * X- tra Avocados, * Yoko Ono *Zinnias
My Daily Thoughts: Bowie-ism
Goal of the Day: Sound and Vision
Thought of the Day: Station to Station
Action of the Day: Rebel Rebel
Deed of the Day: Suffragette City
Tip of the Day: Hang on to yourself
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
Personality. New Yorkers have so much of it. I love this city because people are brassy, passionate, and stylish and often make me laugh.
I also feel so fortunate to live in a city filled with great museums and culture.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
French press coffee made every morning by my dear one
What should everyone try at least once?
What Book to read for moving and emotional inspiration:
Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America by Britt Collins
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
In Sketch-books, my own and ones I’ve found here:
Printed matter: https://www.printedmatter.org/
Sketchbookproject : https://www.sketchbookproject.com/