Monday, September 12, 2011

In The Michigan Studio with The Other Jeanie and a Giveaway


It has been some time since I interviewed an artist for my “In the Michigan Studio” occasional feature.  Since my March surgery and its long recuperation I have been steadily working into a full schedule. And I’m way overdue to bring you another talented Michigan artist.


A bit of background first. As I was looking through artists on Etsy to feature, one Michigan artist’s work just jumped out at me.  And – surprise – turns out she lives just a mile or two away from me!  I wrote to her and asked if she was interested and she very enthusiastically responded YES. We arranged to meet and as we sat and talked you would have thought we had known each other forever.  It turns out that we have SO many things in common, not the least of which is that we both lived in the San Francisco area and deeply love that city. She was also smart enough to bring some of her work so I could see it up close and personally vouch for her work.  Yep, it’s gorgeous!!  But enough … let’s get to it so you can get a taste of this talented artist and her work. 

FK: Jean, you have your cappuccino (non-fat) and your fruit smoothie (OJ, frozen strawberries and raspberries, and bananas – no dairy) and I have my coffee (Starbucks vanilla flavor, large Winnie the Pooh mug) and my yogurt (Light and Fit Strawberry Cheesecake), so let’s start with the basics. Tell me who you are and where you can be found.

Name: JEAN LANNEN

Website: http://www.jeanlannenimages.com


Facebook:  (I have three!!!)

FK: The first thing I have to ask is where the name “theotherjeanie” came from.

At first I was toying around with "The Other Jean" to sort of separate my artist self from my "portraits/events/corporate photography Jean.”  But then I liked the idea of Jeanie in a bottle - making wishes and all the magic it conjured up. So I suppose it is a mix of all that. Being self employed, I'm always wearing different hats: Secretary Jean, Assistant Jean, Real Photographer Jean, Production Jean, Retoucher Jean, Paperwork Jean, PR Jean.  I don't think it's very healthy to keep separating myself into parts, something to do with the negative part of the ego, so I am working on stopping all that splitting up of the parts of me.


FK: I totally know what you mean!  I know you live right here in Bloomfield Hills, but you’re just now getting re-acquainted with Michigan. Tell us about it.

 I was born in New York, and moved around LOTS as a child, teenager and young adult. My dad did such a great job at work that he was constantly promoted and my mother kept improving every house. So that combination lead to moving around the Midwest. It was difficult at the time, but I’m very happy that it all happened the way it did. I love my life and my family. I’m very thankful and very fortunate.

I just moved back to the Metro Detroit area after living in San Francisco for 23 years. I lived in Pacifica, which is a little town right on the Pacific Ocean, about 11 miles south of downtown San Francisco. Even though there was always an incredible amount of FOG, especially during the months of June thru September, I loved living in the Bay Area. I changed so much in every way: artistically, spiritually, socially and physically. I was involved with the artist community in Pacifica – and showed my work in exhibitions and galleries.

The San Francisco Bay Area is all about freedom, being yourself and not being judged. I loved living 3 blocks from the big ocean – such an open, vast energy field of calmness. I had over 85 plant containers in the backyard filled with varieties of plants and flowers. Most of my “flower” photographs were taken in that backyard – and I grew most everything from seed! Nothing ever died there – it was amazing.

FK: Stop-stop!  You’re making me so nostalgic for San Francisco! I still miss it, even though I haven’t lived there for many years. So here you are, back in Michigan. 

After 23 years there, it was time to come back, enjoy my parents and siblings and buy a “real house” with a yard and green grass and trees and blue sky and crickets and birds and thunderstorms and warm nights with stars and full moons (and no fog). My husband and I live in the “lake” district, in Bloomfield Hills, a suburb of Detroit. I don’t know if it’s really called the “lake” district, but that’s what we call it! We exchanged the ocean for a lake across the street. I’m really loving the trees and breeze and weather and green. All these special childhood memories and feelings are surfacing and making me feel at home. I love to sleep with the window open, even when it’s cold out.
 I’m still sussing out the atmosphere and sensibilities of the community; that will take some time. But - I can tell I’m more open and friendly than most people I’m around. Also, I think I may stand out a bit, for whatever reason, but that’s okay. I look forward to meeting more artists and re-discovering downtown Detroit, Royal Oak and Ferndale – and the outer little towns. I do look forward to the leaves turning colors here. Some of my favorite images are of colored leaves and trees. 

FK: Tell me about your education background. You received your degree here, didn’t you?

I graduated from Center For Creative Studies in downtown Detroit, and received my BFA in photography. It was an amazing four-year experience. During that time, I also worked at the coolest commercial photography studio – Ameen Howrani Photography. Back then I wore black, went to art school, was a photo studio manager, freelance photographer and went to tons of rock’n’roll concerts with my camera. I met lots of bands and became friends with a few. To this day, I’m good friends with Todd Rundgren, and even photographed at least 7 of his albums and even shot his and Michele’s wedding in Hawaii.

Todd Rundgren, Body Robe in Blue/White

FK: You have quite an artistic history, Jean! And now here you are – my neighbor! Tell me about your etsy shop. I love your description: “whimsy, wonder, and curiosities.”

I reserved my Etsy shop The Other Jeanie back in 2007, but didn’t get around to actually filling it with art and officially opening till February of 2011 – only 7 months ago! I think I spent a solid 6 weeks 24/7 working on the shop in the beginning. There was so much to learn, and then I had to tie the blog and website and Facebook into it. OH MY!

I definitely have a “creative” brain that is constantly turned on. I love creating something tangible out of a few ingredients or trinkets, and/or creating an actual piece of art that I can hold in my hands, that never existed before. That’s the reason I loved the darkroom and photography. I loved the actual “craft” of it all - the hands-on approach. 

I’m very inspired by light. It’s all about light and shadows, and then, color and composition. It’s all important, but light is the key. On the “shadow” side, I’m very attracted to discarded and left behind objects, vintage toys and the aspects of time. I love abandoned atmospheres.


Then on the “light” side – I like color against color and playing with selective focus. It’s very magical looking thru a macro lens and discovering another world.
The whole black/white, shadow/light side is very Wizard of Oz to me and I think that’s why I was attracted and inspired by the 1939 film. I have been very intertwined with that film since I was a wee little girl. I like playing with the iconic images and love the conceptual ideas.
When I create my one-of-a-kind altered photographs I fuse a print onto stretched canvas and then treat the surface and edges with acrylics and paper. I actually developed my “altered photograph” technique in 2006. I purposely set out trying to come up with a way to create and display my original photography without the use of glass and standard frames. They have magic when you see them in person, because I treat the surface with texture, spot varnishing and finish the edges.


 
FK: Jean, I have to say that holding a few these altered photographs in my hand is definitely magic.  I’m in love with them, and as excellent as your Etsy photographs are, they still don’t do justice to seeing these dimensional pieces for real! What other magic do you have for us?

I also collect dolls. They have to be unique, old and hold emotional value for me. So when I take photographs of them they are basically my self-portraits.






FK: Jean, where do you create your art?

In my new home I have this dedicated room for my studio. It’s sort of big, in the front of the house, with two windows that look out into the trees and the lake across the street. The windows crank open, and there’s this long porch outside. I want to hang heavy curtains on the entrance so it will feel like a “New Orleans Salon.” I’m not sure what that means yet, but it will magically unfold. I want to be able to invite clients over to see new work on the walls. It will be lovely.

FK: What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you? What part of being an artist is hardest for you, or that you dislike the most? 

I love finishing a piece and realizing that it came out of thin air. It came through me. It is frustrating when the “technique” holds me back. I love to have all the supplies around me and then I can just create and let it all happen. It’s very hard to stop when I’m in the middle of a project because it’s usually impossible to jump back in and arrive in the same state of mind. 


When I shot my 50/50 Eye Candy series, I was responding to the sun coming thru the west window and how it affected the little trinkets, baubles and balls. The light was constantly changing, so there was this inner pressure to keep shooting till it got too dark. I just kept pushing and pushing and arranging objects and changing the focus till it felt right through the viewfinder. It’s a very instinctive process, and I shoot and shoot.





I love it when a piece connects with another person. Usually, my pieces really connect with people or they don’t connect at all – there usually isn’t any in-between. It’s satisfying when I get letters back from people about how they love the work, and how they see it every day in their house, and how it inspires them.

FK: I know those feelings all too well!  What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?

I love cooking and creating little meals that didn’t exist an hour ago. I love the whole idea of ingredients, chopping, hot pans and cold oil. 


I also love holiday decorating, food styling and gardening. I’m constantly arranging and making displays. One year, while living in Pacifica, I got carried away and really did a great decorating job on the outside of the house and won First Place in the neighborhood’s Outside Holiday Illumination Award. I didn’t even know there was a contest! 



FK: That's funny! Jean, I wish we could go on and on. Your energy and enthusiasm for your art just jumps off the page. But I think it’s time to talk about what your giveaway will be for some lucky – and I mean LUCKY – reader.


The giveaway is:

One 8x10 print of your choice from the following three:


How to Enter
You have several chances to be entered into the random drawing. Each one must be entered as a separate comment.  

First entry: Visit Jean’s shop or blog, come back here, and enter a comment about your favorite piece(s). 

Second entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Jean’s blog (or comment if you already follow).

Third entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Jean’s Facebook page. 
Fourth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my blog (or comment that you already follow).

Fifth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up as a fan on my Facebook page (or comment that you are already a fan).

That's five chances to enter for the random drawing!  Please be sure that your correct email address is in your profile; if it is not, include your email address in your comment.  I will use random generator to pick a winner after 12 noon EDT on 
                                                                        
 Tuesday, September 20

Good luck to all of you!

39 comments:

  1. Very interesting artist profile, Felicia! Jean is a very talented person. We're lucky to have her back here in Michigan!

    ReplyDelete
  2. fave: pink calla lily ( I ADORE those flowers)
    deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  3. new GFC to Jean's blog
    deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. like Jean on FB as deanna time
    deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  5. like you on FB as deanna time
    deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  6. GFC & RSS follower of your blog
    deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love "Blondies Big Blue Eyes." There is something about it....

    Katie

    jogblogjog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am a new follower of Jeans blog.

    Katie

    jogblogjog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I follow this blog too!
    Thank for doing such a great giveaway. Good luck everyone!

    Katie

    jogblogjog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  10. My favorite is the Red Tulips in the sun

    trustjesus7771 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  11. pink calla lily
    jessicawedwards@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Christina - xristya@rock.com - I like Dorothy - Wake Up - Wizard Of Oz Inspired, from the shop!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I like the Summer Sunshine Bouquet
    lusizova at gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. my favorite item is the Pink Bleeding Heart Flower - Fine Art Photograph


    uk7ss@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. i am a publci gfc follower of your blog as uk7ss@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. i am a public gfc follower of Jean Lannen.blogspot.com with the name uk7ss@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really like her Red Tulips in the Sun - 6x6 Original MM
    brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am following Jean's blog via gfc
    brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. liked jean's fb page
    Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard
    brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  20. liked your fb page
    Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard
    brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. following your blog via gfc
    brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  22. love the Magical Red Ruby Slippers print
    kyfaithw at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  23. follow Jean's blog
    kyfaithw at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  24. follow your page
    kyfaithw at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  25. liked Jean's fb page
    kyfaithw at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  26. follow your fb page
    kyfaithw at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'd have to say my favorite photo in the shop is the Summer Sunshine Bouquet. The bright colors just fit me. :)

    KarisaTomkinson{at}gmail{dot}com

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love the Wizard of Oz pieces, especially the Tin Man - my favorite!

    ReplyDelete
  29. great interview & photos - love the eye candy & dark shadow pieces. Off to visit the links

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  30. Still have to go with the eye candy mermaids treasure as a fave. Loved browsing through the etsy shop & blog.

    Now following Jean's blog & already follow this one

    ReplyDelete
  31. I like the Orange Poppy with Heart. Mainly because I like flowers. I also really like Blondies Big Blue Eyes.
    tish

    ReplyDelete
  32. My favourite from your Etsy store is the Pink Bleeding Heart Flower - Fine Art Photograph, Print - Spring, Summer, Impressionistic, Floral, Surreal,Ethereal - Soft pink, red orange, lime chartreuse green, hearts, petals, tangerine, peach, pretty - Photography By Jean Lannen, The Other Jeanie

    mubinster at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love the Dorothy's Dress print!

    ReplyDelete
  34. i like The Foggy Bridge - San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge - Archival Print - Creepy Stormy Spooky Dark Gothic - By Jean Lannen The Other Jeanie.

    it is very interesting and i can relate to this place, this weather etc.

    egle dot mane at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Very interesting photos. Especially
    like the Eye Candy.

    ReplyDelete

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