Jenn Porreca


San Francisco based artist Jenn Porreca paints innately perfect visions of Eastern culture fused with a modern sensibility. Born in England in 1977 to a stone mason mother and a classical musician father, she has never been devoid of artistic influence. Well known for her textural techniques and unique style, it surprises most that she has never attend art school or studied academically. It’s her constant experimentation and life experiences that have fuelled her work and passion for art. I recently caught up with Jenn to chat about her work, influences and what’s next for her career as one the San Francisco Bay’s most exciting artists.

So Jenn, introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
Hi there. Wow – who am I? I think i’m figuring that out each and every day. I do lots of things….often they involve combining colors, rearranging shapes, patterns, typography. I’m also really into cooking, toy camera photography, fashion, furniture and researching whatever the day brings. I like to forget the evils of the world by remembering the beautiful things life has to offer. Sometimes these things lead to painting, and sometimes they don’t.

Can you describe your work in one sentence?
I’m sorry to say that I can’t – I wish it were that easy. But i’ve heard many people describe it in one sentence with lots of different words.

How did you get in art, was it something that was encouraged of you when you were young?

I was fortunate to be born with artist’s blood running through my veins. My mother was a stone sculptor and for a trade she had a business making tombstones and monuments for city centers. My father was a classical musician.

I see alot of East Asian influence in your work, is that result of heavy travelling to the continent or a distant respect?
Yes, for a long time i’ve felt drawn to Asia and have multiple points of influence in my life from family and friends and I’ve traveled there many times.

I really liked your piece on the mini grand piano, was that a one off? or do you plan to explore similar more obscure mediums?
Thanks so much – the grand piano was a vintage children’s toy piano my husband found for me. It always feels a little left of center to work on found objects, but once you get over the fact that its not traditional in terms of medium – it feels great to have created something a little bit different.

If you could point to one major influence on your work what would it be?
Life’s journey.

Are you happy for new technology to creep into your work or are you strictly traditional?
I’ve never been traditional about anything i’ve done, i’m not a fan of oil paint, which alot of other artists would have issue with (i’m actually allergic to oils). And then in terms of school and traditions I was self taught so had to make up my own rules and find my own way. This has been both a blessing and a curse at times. Either way, though, i’ve always experimented with different ways to integrate new things into my work. Recently i got my hands on a Wacom tablet and projector and this has been amazing in terms of scaling sketches to large sizes, creating patterns, and editing imagery long before i lay down paint to panel.

What does the rest of 2010 hold for you?
I opted out of a number of shows that i had planned for this year so that i could take some time to paint without deadlines. I’ve been showing for four years straight, deadline after deadline, and realized i wanted to take some time to reconnect with myself and reconnect with my work and what direction i want to take it in next.

You can check out more of Jenn’s work at her official site here or have a quick look at our mini gallery below.