We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer D. Printz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer D., what role has risk played in your life or career?
I feel risks are important ways to move our lives ahead in new directions. Another way of expressing this is the old saying “if you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” I often take risks from experimenting with a new medium or material, trying something new, reaching out to someone, and so on. It is about being curious and investigating new things. I have made risky moves too – such as taking the leap and moving to Miami with my husband in the summer of 2019. A risk we are both glad we took!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Several things keep me busy professionally. I teach drawing and printmaking at Florida International University. This past year I have been busy adapting my teaching to the remote format and keeping students engaged with videos, discussions, and assignments.
I am also busy in the studio making art. At its heart, my studio practice is about trying to figure out what organizes our lives and the universe. I research ideas from science, but work in a mediative manner. I combine the analytical and intuitive in the same way I combine materials. I merge photography and drawing to create poetic moments. In my pieces, a bright sky filled with stratocumulus clouds will be interrupted by passages of dense mirror-like graphite. The time signatures of both processes are compressed in the work. The quick moment of taking the photograph and the build up of seconds into hours of mark-making on the page. It resonates with the fleeting nature of life, our impact on our environments, and the different time structures within our universe.
I am very excited about my recent explorations into working with textiles via printing my photographs onto fabric. These pieces are then sewn together and developed into sculptural forms. I was inspired to use fabric to exploit its fluid qualities and due to how its woven structure represent the interconnectedness of all things. As a sky folds in and upon itself, the limitations of our seeing and our memory become evident, along with the dynamics of the surrounding universe.
My journey is something for which I have immense gratitude, as even the difficult times have made me the person and artist I am today. When I was finishing college, there was a disturbing statistic suggesting the majority of art students would not be making art 10 or even 5 years after graduating. I made a commitment to not be a part of that majority, and I still have that dedication to my practice. It has allowed me to prioritize being in the studio and findings ways to create through all types of life situations. The most important lesson I learned along the way was to listen to myself and to trust my inner knowing. I make the time and space to do that, and I’ve found the more I act on the that small voice, all things – in the studio, at work, or life in general – are better.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think the first thing would be to spend some time in the Everglades. We would bike the loop at SharkValley and rent an eco tent at Flamingo Point, spending a night or two for kayaking, while taking in all of the diverse flora and fauna. The Everglades are a unique ecosystem, different from anything else on earth, and I want to keep learning about them for myself and to share it with others. It would also be fun to visit the cultural spots in the city. First on the list would be a museum tour that would include the Frost Art Museum, the Rubells, the Margulies, the ICA, and PAMM. Each institution has so much to offer for any visitor. We would have to stop by the Bakehouse Art’s Complex to see my studio and the exhibitions and artists there as well. I love both the Deering Estate and Vizcaya and would love to take someone to both in one day to get a feel for the different personalities of the brothers who built these two amazing homes. We could grab lunch in-between at Kush in Coconut Grove. Of course, we would have to include some sand and surf, most likely at Billy Baggs State Park. South Beach would be ideal for a walking architecture tour. I love cooking for people, so I would want to do that for whoever was visiting, but I would make sure we visited a few good spots, including Lincoln’s Beard, for a beer. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without a doubt, my professors made a huge impact on my life and deserve many shoutouts! I was a first generation college student and many of my professors were also mentors who opened up my horizons and dramatically changed my life. I would not be where I am today without their guidance and I am a professor because of them. Anita DeAngelis taught me about professional practices and the importance of the business side of art early on. She got me and other students out of our safe bubble on campus and into the world – be it field trips to another city for specific art supplies or national conferences. I will never forget attending a conference with her and meeting the person who wrote the textbook for one of my classes and how impressed I was. Carmon Colangelo was my graduate mentor and he really challenged me and my work in a lot of ways. He also taught me about pursuing your passion and finding balance. Just a few years ago, he shared his philosophy about trying to create perfect days as often as we can-advice I have taken to heart.
I would be remiss not to give a shout out to a long list of friends who have been there in different ways and at different times in my life. There are many artists who have shared their work, studios, and support in a lot of different forms and ways over the years. The list is long, too long for this, but they know who they are, and I am forever grateful.
Ronnie Lee Bailey