The Heroine’s Journey of Jennifer DeSantis

What is the best thing that I love about my work? As a visual artist, I love that I can escape reality by creating new worlds and narratives that offer the viewer the ability to open their mind, heart, and maybe even conjure up a giggle. I love the creation out of destruction aspect of collage – that I can take something out of it’s original context (an advertisement, article, etc.) and create something new from it. I love preserving vintage and discarded imagery and giving it a new life!  As a curator and facilitator of art events at a local gallery, I love the fact that I am helping artists get their work seen and appreciated. I love that I am somehow helping others succeed in their pursuit of a creative path. It is most rewarding to my Spirit.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? this is a very difficult question to answer, because the etymology of the word “happiness” means that the feeling occurs through happenstance, something that happens to one causes happiness. I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect happiness. I suppose the closest and most honest answer I can give is if one can feel confident all the time, and can live stress free. But is that a thing? Does that exist? I told you this is hard for me to answer haha.

What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is abandonment. By far.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I think I get in my own head too much. I beat myself up for my past. I am hard on myself when I feel as though I am not successful or if I feel like I do not have a purpose. I am quite cruel to my dear self, and it is unfair. I would never let someone talk to a person I care about the way that I can sometimes talk to myself.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? There are so many living and working artists I admire! Anna Jensen is working artist I definitely admire. She has shown her work internationally and has been published in several nationally recognized art magazines. I also love her style. It is very true to her and very personal to her as well.

What is my greatest extravagance? Hmmm… I am not sure exactly what to define as “extravagance”. As I have been pursuing a creative path FULL TIME for a year now, my material life has been humbled. Needs come way before wants. I am a sucker for food and beer or wine, and love to eat, drink, and be merry with friends and family, so I think my biggest extravagance now in life is just that

On what occasion would I lie? Well what a bold question! When I go to sleep haha
In regards to this “art life” it’s pretty pointless to lie about anything. The truth of who I am – my wants and desires, my vulnerabilities…my humor… all of these come through in my artistic expression. So – I lie when I go to sleep. I am sticking with that.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I don’t think that there is anything I wholly ever dislike. I go through motions of love and hate while creating the works though. I love it. I hate it. Back and forth until it’s done. One thing that is continually frustrating in pursuing a life trying to make a living through art, is that it’s inconsistent. That can be unnerving to the part of me that craves stability.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?  I really miss having a separate room, a studio to work in. Presently, since we have downsized our living space, I work in a shared space. I was much happier having my own room lol. I also remember feeling ELATED when I had my first solo show. I am presently experiencing great joy curating and facilitating shows for other emerging and established artists at a microgallery in my new home of Albuquerque New Mexico.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’d change my propensity to worry. I would change the anxiety I feel over things I cannot change. I am working on it. It’s challenging for me to live in the present. I also sometimes don’t think before I speak…

What is my greatest achievement in work? Honestly, that has come about recently. With the work that I am doing at this gallery, it is most fulfilling to help an artist pursue their creative path. I think my biggest achievement was recognizing one artist in particular, and listening to my intuition to want them to do a solo show. The show was a resounding success, and I feel that is a phenomenal achievement.

Where would I most like to live? THE SHIRE.

What is my most treasured possession? I’m not into “treasuring” possessions. I’ve had and lost so many material possessions in my life, that I am not attached to any of them.
If I am going deeper than that, my soul is my most treasured possession.

What is my most marked characteristic? My laugh.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Albuquerque literally has art EVERYWHERE. There is inspiration ALL AROUND me in this city. So, this is difficult to answer. I certainly am consistently inspired at the gallery in which I curate and coordinate shows for. The OT Circus. Also, there is a local art hive up the street, Off Center Arts, that is a huge inspiration.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Duel Brewery ABQ hands down. It’s my favorite watering hole, and I feel very loved and welcomed there.

What books influenced my life and how? 1. The Bible. I read it every day for spiritual nourishment. I don’t take it verbatim, like everything is fact. However, there is much wisdom and knowledge contained therein, and I am especially fond of “Eccliesiastes” in the Old Testament. 2. The Silmarillion. This is JRR Tolkien’s history of middle earth – like the genesis of the world he created. Although the Professor would not like me saying it is allegorical, it most certainly is to me. 3. I read this book simply called “The Taliban” about 13 years ago. It blew my mind. I discovered the deeper workings of global politics, and our role in perpetual war. This book influenced how I view the world greatly.

Who are my favorite writers? Tolkien, George Martin, and right now, Patrick Rothfuss.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Oh, come on! Do I get to make a playlist haha. Ugh! This is SO hard! If I had to pick a SONG, I would choose Jeff Buckley;s “Hallelujah” as the last song I hear before I leave this body.  If I had to listen ALL Day, well, I’d have to make a playlist… which would include Massive Attack, Everything But the Girl, some Bowie, some Buckley, some Petty, some cheesy 80’s music, and lots of George Michael. There’s more I’d like to list too, but it seems that I’ll go on and on because there are so many songs I just love. 

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? I was just talking to my husband recently as to how blessed my life has been that everywhere I have lived, I have been so fortunate to have some incredible strong, intelligent, and inspiring women as mentors, and well, they have all taken me under their wing at some point.  First and foremost, my mother. We have been through SO much together, and she has proved to me that your resolve to live a better life can make that happen. When I moved to Atlanta GA in my very late teens and early twenties, I worked for a woman named Amy Head. Amy gave me the confidence to let my inner beauty shine outwardly. Taria Camerino, an AMAZING pastry chef in Atlanta, took me under her wing, and taught me much about pastry, but more importantly about NON ATTACHMENT and being true to yourself. 

Since moving to Albuquerque, I have met quite a few women who I am honored to call friends that inspire and encourage me here.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Rat Race (the new version with John Cleese). It is the funniest movie! And laughter is so important in our lives!

What role plays art in my life and work? 
I am an independent, self taught, ever emerging artist and I am blessed to curate and coordinate art events at a gallery in Albuquerque. I also run an online art auction group on facebook.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
Fan/Sponsor – I don’t know really… I am grateful for anyone who has supported my art. I also am not sure I feel comfortable naming my collectors/sponsors. All of my friends and family are very supportive in this path I have chosen/carved/am carving out. My husband has always been nothing but encouraging, which helps a lot, when I go through those insecure bouts.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018?
Artists who are motivated, and positive and fun! People who communicate and respect being on time. I am very open. I would love to create some album art for a musician. I would love to have my work published in a book or magazine again. 


Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018? Another difficult question for me to answer. I am a very open person and love people, so I would love to meet whoever I am fated to in regards to this artistic profession.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? There are a couple, and these both relate to the gallery in Albuquerque. I am curating a show on May 19th called “Euphemistic” which will feature local artists’ interpretations of “23 emotions people feel, but can’t explain” – which was floating around the internet. I am also facilitating a small fundraiser for the gallery, for the Occupational Art Therapy program. I am extremely excited about both events!

Where can you see me or my work in 2018? You can see my work on facebook, of course: www.facebook.com/ladyjennd
– On Instagram at: www.instagram.com/ladyjennd
– I also host weekly online art auction in a fb group I created called the “Global Artisans Online Auction” : www.facebook.com/groups/GlobalArtisansOnlineAuction
– I have a tictail sop as well: www.ladyjenndart.tictail.com
– And if you are in Albuquerque NM, you can see some of my work at the OT Circus Gallery

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Quite frankly, passion never dies. You may not feel passionate ALL the time, but fear not – passion lives and breathes through you.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Leslie Murphy, Angie Philips, Jenn Conley, Bethany Vaughn Brown, to name just a few.

How can you contact me?
On facebook, of course: www.facebook.com/ladyjennd
– On Instagram at: www.instagram.com/ladyjennd

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