Meet the Artist - Jenni Murphy
We are lucky enough to have been publishing Jenni’s popular limited edition prints for a number of years now.
Her work is instantly recognisable thanks to its quirky, almost 'surreal' qualities, and beautifully executed distortions of scale.
The tiny intimate worlds she creates are filled with people barely more than a centimetre high and who are dominated by beautiful architectural elements and natural motifs that flutter and turn on the breeze.
You may be familiar with her highly narrative creations (their ability to tell a story or convey a heartfelt message means that they are always a popular gift choice for greetings cards and prints)...but how well do you know the artist herself?
We've taken some time to write a bit about her background, her creative process, and what inspires her beautifully simplistic - yet intricate - compositions.
One of seven children, Jenni's childhood years were spent “running a little wild”, with a good deal of attention focused on cultivating her imagination and “inventing games”.
Rather touchingly, she describes her childhood as “perfect...simple and beautiful, full of camping, foraging and freedom, with my dad being the butt of all the jokes. (He had five girls what did he expect?!)”
A love for painting and storytelling was advanced when Jenni undertook a degree in Visual Communication - and on completion she just knew that it “was the only thing I wanted to do”.
During a brief stint working in an office in central London (necessary in order to be able to leave home...and the bunkbed she shared with her sister!), Jenni designed the company Christmas card. So impressed was her boss that she kindly told Jenni that she could “find someone else to load the printer”, and encouraged her to go out and ‘’do art”!
Fast forward nearly 10 years to the current day and Jenni's limited edition prints and greetings cards are selling in galleries and stores across the country. She regularly works on commissions for “the most wonderful private clients” and has paintings hanging in far flung places, such as beautiful beach houses in Australia, pool houses in Singapore and downstairs loos in Kent!
She now lives and works in Norwich - her studio filled with scribbles of ideas and splashes of paint.
To create her whimsical work, Jenni uses light brushstrokes and deep colours in acrylic on panel (which has been under painted in order to intensify the colours) and slowly builds up the layers - scaling and repeating the leitmotifs until they evoke a sense of wonder and magic.
Her inspiration comes from working in a reportage style. Armed with a sketchbook she takes real people and situations, and filters them through her imaginings and daydreams, ending up with images that suggest there is something much bigger ‘out there’ than our perceived reality.
"My sketchbook is full of people going about their everyday lives, capturing the little moments that make us human - a guy has just tripped over his own dog and is now hugging and patting it for being a rascal as it continues to run around his legs. It’s these 'chuckle to myself moments' that I take back to the studio and work up, creating vibrant, colourful paintings that hang in the homes of those who share my love of the simple joy and comedy that is there in human nature (if you look for it).”
Jenni loves to include stories and material provided by her social media followers, to add a depth and humour to her compositions. She says:
“I am often laughing at the never-ending supply of wonderful material my kindred spirit Insta and Facebook followers provide me with. There is something so special about having real people and their stories in my paintings. They make for such a richer image. I mean you can’t just make up a lady with a blue beehive hairdo reclining with an Aperol spritz on an inflatable pineapple*!”
Jenni's own sense of fun and vibrancy really does radiate from her colourful images, making them accessible and joyful to behold.
"As I shut my studio door at the end of the day, I aim to have created something funny and quirky, filled with people and stories that are uplifting through their joyful, positive outlook, sparking happiness and shared memories. Walking through the park on the way home to my surf chasing husband, I collect my adventurous three year old daughter. Both of whom are a constant provider of new material.”