Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Artist of the Month: Jenny Holiday, July 2012

I am so excited to introduce Jenny Holiday, our July Artist of the Month! If you have read Everyday is a Holiday, Jenny's blog, then you know how warm, friendly, artistic, cheery, and talented she is. I love her very distinct sense of style - her blog is my favorite place to be in the cyber world. I could talk on and on forever about how awesome Jenny and her husband/co-business-owner are, but I'll spare you and let her tell you herself instead!


Thank you for joining us on Pink Wonderland today, Jenny! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Oh my goodness, ok, I was born in north NJ, very close to NYC. My parents are both born and raised New Yorkers. We moved to upstate NY when I was a kid and stayed up there till my early teens. We then moved to the Jersey Shore where I’ve been since my junior year in high school. Down here I met my best friend/partner in craft/art/life (Aaron). As soon as we met, we knew it was forever. We started painting furniture for antique dealers right out of high school, studying books on antiques, and just going on instinct we refinished and replicated antique finishes and motifs. Our very first pieces were put in the front windows of some fancy schmancy shops and were selling faster than we could paint.



We both planned on going off to college (for fashion and art)…but soon found that we had already found our calling. We did craft shows, art shows , painted bedroom sets by the hundred. This evolved into creating our very own handmade furniture line and selling to some of the most fabulous stores in NYC and gaining a long list of celebrity clients. Magazines began to call and after a few great features our day to day became a whirlwind… we were working enough for 10 people. We then opened up a studio/shop a few months before 9/11… and it goes without saying that retail in the NY/NJ/CT area was very challenging. So we set our sights on wholesale and ended up doing the NYC gift show and selling to incredible shops all over the country. A total dream! One very big detail that we didn’t consider was that there were only two of us… and every single thing was hand painted by our already busy hands. We worked round the clock getting each and every order out the door.  We knew this is what we wanted to do… but also knew we needed help… or licensing.


Fast forward…we decided to close the store and move into workshop /studio space and concentrate completely on wholesale. The day that we were moving out of the retail shop, my world almost ended. Aaron had moved the entire store to our new space, but after many hours he didn’t show up at home. He was missing for a long time…he left at dawn…and it was now nighttime. I’d later find out that he had crashed the van under a bridge and was out of sight…dying. But in the meantime, not knowing this, his mother and I searched the streets and highways for hours. We went to police stations, called hospitals, kept checking our apartment, the store…we really didn’t know where to look. Later that night, around midnight, I got a call from my father. Aaron was found under the bridge…and flown by helicopter to a trauma center.

So again, fast forward… right through the immediate hospital horrors and try to pick up the thread of everyday living. Art had to be put on pause… LIFE had to be put on pause. The only thing that mattered was Aaron recovering. He was in really rough shape…almost lost his leg, had severe head trauma, and needed multiple reconstructive surgeries. He lived in a rehab for over a month! But he did recover. After many many surgeries he was able to walk… run even! Of course, the rehabilitation had us spending lots of time at home… a place we were not very familiar with in our pre-accident life. We were always on the go… home was simply where we slept for a few hours a night. But post-crash… we were home 24/7.


It was around this time that I found blogs! Oh my gosh my world was just changed forever! I could connect with people right from the safety of our living room. Also, knowing that we could no longer do furniture…no lifting of heavy things, and no van…meant that our art career would be changing in a big way. Being so close to tragedy we truly learned the value of each day and from that point on we became “Everyday is a Holiday”… a name that held more meaning for us than anyone could imagine. From our new home base at home I began selling our art online and started to forge tons of very real online relationships! And honestly the rest is history! :) I know this answer is so scattered and I’ve attempted to cram in way too much information when you simply asked to hear a little “about me”. But I am who I am due to all that has happened to us in the past few years. Our art is our art because of the struggles we overcame.


Did you always know you were going to be a professional artist?
As a kid I would spend hours and hours and hours in my room drawing…most of the time bunnies…with oil pastels. I’d either be drawing, or spending entire days doing my other “hobby”…which was decorating fictional rooms. I would draw up floor plans and then go through the Sears or JC Penney catalog finding all of the rugs, bedding, couches etc! :) I knew I was going to be an artist or a decorator.


One thing that immediately drew me to your blog and shop was your distinct style and palette – pastels, aqua and pink, vintage, sweet, and adorable. Have your style and favorite colors always been the same?
I have allllways loved pink! When we were little my room was pink and my sister’s was purple. My mom would always buy us things in our colors! :) I fell in love with aqua about 12 yrs ago when we would find all sorts of fabulous chippy peeling paint cupboards and shelves at antique shops. And I mostly only wear black. I always sorta combine doll-like cutesy stuff and a little rock n roll…Wednesday Addams meets Betsey Johnson ;)



You mention living in the Jersey Shore quite a bit. How does your location inspire you?
Living on the Jersey Shore is really special. First off, where we live year round is actually a vacation spot to most people. We’re surrounded by rollercoasters, ferris wheels, boardwalk stands, all that good stuff. The signage is amazing…the fun fonts…everything is hand painted…the colors and the lights. And there is so much history. The boardwalks along the Jersey shore look like they did 75 years ago. All the shore towns are full of old Victorian homes. We collect old shore postcards and we can take a short drive or a walk and feel like we’re stepping right into those vintage scenes.  



Who are your favorite artists?
Gosh…I have so many! Too many to list! And as far as “artist” goes…I never limit that term to those who paint or draw, etc…  Maybe at the top of my list is Betsey Johnson! I adore her! Top to bottom…she is who she is. Her art is apparent in every aspect of her life. She is an artist in the truest sense of the word!


Dessert is a frequent subject of your artwork. Do you bake frequently?
I do indeed bake! Often! I LOVE seeing a whole lotta sweets lined up! And I love baking LOTS of one thing! I kinda see it as “playing bakery”.  And I’ve done some big orders over the years. Aaron thinks I’m crazy for taking on the extra stress but I love it. Baking hundreds of cupcakes for baby showers, graduations…that sort of thing. To me it’s a good time!

What is your favorite dessert?
My favorite dessert…oh gosh… well, I adore anything pistachio flavor! So a pistachio cake/cupcake or macaron! :)



What is it like working with your significant other?
We pretty much share a brain at this point. We finish each other’s sentences, and can predict each other’s moves and plans. Our styles really mesh super well.  It isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and I can understand how some couples would end up killing each other…but we’ve found that it works for us. We are good together.  We’ve been successful at it and have plans for all sorts of new and exciting things.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
When not working I love art journaling and painting. My personal painting is way more abstract than the art we sell. I love color and shape and vibe…I get lost in it.  Aaron and I love antiquing; oh and I adore Pinterest! :)



You are such an accomplished lady! You blog frequently, post all sorts of gorgeous projects, paint, run your business, and still find time for your family. Any tips on time management that you would like to share with us?
First, thank you!!! I’m the last person to give tips. I’d actually say I’m looney tunes…haha! What I can say is: schedule and balance are the most important things. When you get stressed or worried about deadlines or orders…the one thing you can count on is your schedule. I know it sounds like I’m over simplifying. But if you put in the time…the same time everyday…you have some control.  And balance…you must take time for yourself. This means time with your family and/or your significant other…time for fun.  If you don’t then you’ll resent your work…and you will just burn out.


What advice would you offer an aspiring artist or someone who wants to start a small business?
My advice is: make your art as often as you can! Get involved in a scene…local or online. Blog! Get out there and meet like-minded souls. Share what you love, what you create, what you are hoping to do. There are so many amazing people who are willing to share their stories and cheer you on! Also know your market. Research all the tiny details. Before you dive in, make sure you are ready to handle the orders and the customer service end of things, not just making the art. Or, if you are an “incurable” artist…and business stuff makes your head spin…then maybe find a partner who will handle all of that stuff while you’re being creative 24/7.


Your decorating and project posts are always fun. Do you have any tips or suggestions regarding decorating and organizing a creative workspace?
Thanks so much!! Our home is not typical by any means. We have bunnies in the kitchen, doll heads on shelves, toy pianos on tables…but the bones of our look is cottagey. I love collections and happy vignettes, but I also love basic, clean design. I like to offset my cottagey pieces with midcentury modern. You should always surround yourself with the things you love and that inspire you. It’s your home…it should represent you and the things that make you you!  As for the studio…I adore vintage cake stands and wire baskets, jars, and crates. One of my favorite things is a vintage shopping basket from an old five & dime. It’s aqua and says Newberrys on it!  Oh…and I adore IKEA for shelves and all sorts of jars and baskets and bins.



Are you working on any projects or pieces that you are excited about?
Right now, we are so excited about our hand painted paper packs! We just debuted our first pack, The Beach Bungalow collection. It is a pack of 6 original floral patterns inspired by summers spent at the shore. We would love to have a full scrapbooking line, and we are currently seeking a partnership to make that happen! We have so many requests for wholesale and there’s just no way we could fulfill all of them if we are producing everything ourselves.  There are so many ideas that we need to turn into licensing agreements. We just need to get to that next level to make that happen. Fingers crossed!


Any big plans for your business?
Aside from a scrapbooking collection we would LOVE a fabric line as well. We’ve known for years that that is what we were meant to do together…and now is the time. We are really excited about all of the possibilities! We dream in pattern and we both work so well together when it comes to creating full collections. We’d love to see our patterns on bedding, dresses, pillows, quilts, bags, etc…  And we also hope to do lots more teaching! We LOVE teaching at fabulous art retreats and events! Overseas would be dreamlike! :)


Thank you so much for sharing your stories and advice with us on Pink Wonderland, Jenny!

You can find Jenny and her (and Aaron's) work in these places:

I adore Jenny, Aaron, and their artwork so much! I have so many pieces on my dream home decor list... and I swear someday (not too far off, hopefully) I will get them all and fill up my walls with cupcakes and pastels! I seriously wanted to post all of the pictures from the shop and blog but couldn't fit them all, so you will just have to check out the links for yourself. But, I am going to squeeze in two more paintings...


P.S. As timing would have it, Jenny happens to be running a giveaway on her blog, including a $45 credit to my shop. Check it out here!

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Artist of the Month is a monthly interview feature with an artist. I am very selective about whom I interview - I pick artists I believe in, whose style I truly love. Previously featured artist:

24 comments:

  1. Oh Kelsea, I cannot thank you enough for all of your kindness, passion, and support! I am just truly truly honored to be your artist of the month, and more importantly...I am just honored to have met you! Being an artist for a living is very tough...Lord knows, it isn't the financial rewards that have kept us in the game this long! Besides the unexplainable inner desire to create, it is coming into to contact with bright souls such as yourself that has motivated me and Aaron to get up each day and live the Artful Life. Thank you so much for caring about what we do and for putting so much time and effort into showcasing us in such a fabulous manner. Love ya to bits! xo, Jenny & Aaron

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    1. Jenny and Aaron, featuring amazing artists like the two of you is my absolute favorite thing to blog about, no competition! I am so happy to have met you too - you have no idea!! I am still so amazed by how much you live and breathe art. Even in your free time you're art journaling and painting. It's so inspiring and awesome!! Thank you for putting so much thought and time into your responses too - I know I love seeing the story behind the art (which is why I started this feature in the first place) and I'm sure anyone else who reads this will appreciate it just as much!!

      <3 Kels

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  2. what a great article...I have learned so much about Jenny and Aaron. that I admire them even more...thanks.....good luck Jenny and Aaron.....

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    1. They are inspiring, aren't they? =)

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    2. Really good article!!

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  3. Wow..I have read their blog for a long time now, mainly admiring the adorable artwork, but somehow missed this massive detail in their lives! He was so lucky to survive, what a touching story.

    <3

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    1. It was news to me too, although I am a newer reader of Jenny's. I appreciate so much that they shared this story with us!

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  4. What a nice way to learn more about Jenny and Aaron. Two of my favorite artists on the web!!

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    1. Me too, Betty, and thanks for visiting!

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  5. What a great interview! I love hearing about Jenny's journey to becoming the artist she is today, and how she and Aaron have followed their hearts and muses and learned to balance life and art. Wonderful and inspiring!

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    1. Definitely! Inspiring is always one of the first words that come to my mind about Jenny and Aaron!

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  6. I love Jenny! Her work is AMAZING!!!

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    1. Totally agree! Love your bright hair & bow, by the way. =)

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  7. Jenny is amazing!! I just love her! Her and Aaron are just so talented!! Thanks for featuring her!!

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    1. Thank you for reading! I totally agree!

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  8. I love the "Me & You"! Too cute :)

    ♥ Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

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  9. Great feature! Jenny rocks!

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  10. What an incredible interview Kelsea!

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    1. Thanks, Kailey! It was really all Jenny. =)

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  11. what an amazing woman! this interview is so heartfelt. really enjoyed reading this post, kelsea. her talent is so massive and what she's been through and currently doing are very inspiring. i love jenny! :)

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    1. I totally agree, Aizzing! What a perfect way to describe it: heartfelt. =)

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