I saw Jennifer Balkan's work at Principle Gallery in Old Town and really enjoyed her paintings. I like the way she creates light and shadows using color. In the majority of her recent paintings, Balkan uses herself as her subject matter. Very cute and quirky. I would like to do a series of self-portrait paintings as well. 81 degrees, chance of rain 20%, 36” x 30,” oil on wood, 2011
Although I had drawn all my life, I didn’t embrace my passion to paint until 2001. I grew up in one of the countless suburbs of New Jersey in between the Holland Tunnel and the Jersey Shore which spawned my love/obsession with the Ferris wheel, arcade games, funnel cake and all other Boardwalk decadence. I studied behavioral neuroscience at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. After graduation, I worked my way out west to Seattle after a brief stay in Boulder where I found people not afraid to speak their minds, while I worked in a rat lab. In Seattle, I worked serving the mentally ill and developmentally disabled population. From Seattle, I was pulled to Austin to study Latin American sociology at the University of Texas. I attained my Ph.D. in 2001 after conducting anthropological fieldwork on human migration in Chiapas, Mexico in 1999. Although my experience in Mexico was rich, I longed for artistic creativity. In 2002, I quit my full-time job doing social scientific research and threw myself into oil painting and now paint fervently. I have taken art classes at Laguna Gloria Art School, the Austin Fine Arts School and at the Art Students League in Denver. I continue to find inspiration in many innovative painters who include friends both near and far and my husband Jeff whose extraordinary grace on the guitar has taught me that strength lies in subtlety. I now realize that my time studying the human psyche both psychologically and sociologically must have left its imprint on my brain permanently…because I cannot seem to stray too far from it in my painting.