The Heroine’s Journey of Jill Trager

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I get to work with emerging and seasoned artists from all over the East Coast! My partner and I have transformed our negative experiences in the art world into a community and family that supports each other and gets to grow together. I’m so proud of every achievement my artists have and incredibly honored to be able to give them a platform to showcase their talents.
What is my idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness changes almost everyday. Right now, it would be to make a living doing what I love and have the ability to reach more artists from across the world. I’m exhausted working a full time job, coming to my studio right away and working another full time job but it’s worth it every time we get to see a new show come to life.
What is my greatest fear? My greatest fear is the fear of failure. What defines my success tends to change often but my fear of failure is constant. I don’t even know what my failure would look like but I know giving up due to stress, exhaustion or fighting against larger organizations is not an option. I want to make a difference in my local art community and I don’t want to let them down.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Self confidence is a major issue for me and always has been. Professionally, it’s always hard to step back and recognize how far I’ve come and give myself credit. When an artist travels to Philadelphia from Florida just to show with us for ONE NIGHT or a local paper writes about us I often question, “why? why us? why me? what have we done that’s so special?” Everyday I fight for my artists to believe in themselves more and show how proud I am but it’s hard to turn it around and recognize my own achievements.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Robert, the owner of Tattooed Mom is larger than life for me. Five years ago, he gave us a chance to bring together a handful of artists to show their work and a place to screen our films. He has nurtured us and been the driving force for why we are still standing today. Robert has given hundreds of artists a place to belong and a platform to be themselves free of judgement. I love him dearly for everything he has done for Jerks and for the arts.
What is my greatest extravagance? I love makeup and can never have enough! I have a giant cart of makeup I roll around my apartment when i’m getting ready and I always enjoy coming up with new and obnoxious combinations.
On what occasion would I lie? I try my hardest not to hurt anyone’s feelings if it isn’t necessary so if it is something minor, I guess I would lie.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I can never get ahead. There is always another show, film or event to plan. The second I get done one event there are five more waiting for me.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Every single show right before the doors open, when everyone is running around like a nut to clean up, hang that last piece or get changed I always take a look around and appreciate the work I do. These shows have become my world and on the 5th anniversary show, my best friend and partner in Jerks proposed during a show. It really reminded me just how big of an impact these shows, Tattooed Mom and our artists have had on my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If I could, what would I change about myself? I would allow myself to let go of the past just a bit and be more present in everyday life. I struggle daily with the passing of my father and always worry about what he would think of the work that I do. Somewhere in me, I know he would be proud but I never let myself believe it.
What is my greatest achievement in work? The fact that I’m still standing! We have been running shows at Tattooed Mom for five years, we have our own studio, still making movies, I work with a brewery and observation deck to run events and I’m doing it all with my best friend by my side!
Where would I most like to live? I’ve always dreamed of moving to Rome.
What is my most treasured possession? I have two- one is my dad chain with my uncles pendant on it and the other is a book my mom gave me when I was about six.
What is my most marked characteristic? I’m a hard worker and passionate about the work I do. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I’m always making a new list of what I to do next or thinking of how I can improve something.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The most inspirational location in Philadelphia will always be Tattooed Mom. No matter what kind of day I’m having, if I’m coming in to run an event or just to have lunch, I always feel at home and get inspired the people around me. Some of my best ideas have come from yelling to my partner over a basket of tater tots about a new film.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Again, Tattooed Mom! They have the best and most creative food!
What books influenced my life and how? Fairy tales have played a major role in the work I do and the feature film we are creating.
Who are my favorite writers? Stephen King will always be one of my favorite writers.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I would listen to a mixture of Lamb of God, Slipknot and Garth Brooks!
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Batman.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My heroine in real life is my sister, Lauren. She has always been my number one fan and has always been a driving force to keep me going. I don’t know where I would be without her but I do know that the best
moments are spent together, screaming along to Garth Brooks in her car
or traveling to see him live.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Back to the Future will always be my favorite movie of all time. It opened my mind up to the opportunities available in film and has created my love for film and art.
What role does art play in my life and work? Art is my entire life and I think it always has been. Everyday, I’m working with artists, using floor plans my intern designed, planning and curating events as well as going into pre-production for new films. I would be lost without art.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My number one fan will always be my big sister, Lauren. Robert from Tattooed Mom has been our biggest supporter and I would not be standing if not for my best friend, business partner and fiancee Brandon.
Whom would I like to work with in 2019? I would love to get our friend, Dangerous Bob out of retirement and working on set with us! DB created some of my favorite props for Back to the Future and has been such a huge supporter of the work we do.
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019? I would love to meet Stephen King and James Wan. Their stories have shaped my view of film and art.
What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on? We have recently been given the opportunity to create interactive installations, group art shows and extended art shows with One Liberty Observation Deck in Philadelphia. I can’t wait to get started and to see what this new adventure brings!
Where can you see me or my work in 2019? The first Friday of every month we are at Tattooed Mom hosting group art shows. 2019 will also start up our work with the observation deck in Philadelphia as well as continued work with Midnight Oil Brewing
Company in Delaware.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I will be 90 years old and still standing at Tattooed Mom running shows! “Passion Never Retires” means that no matter how old I am, I can still keep pushing forward with my passion instead of settling down to a specific way of life because I’m a certain age.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Paige McCleery was the best intern I could have ever asked for. She is an incredible artist and I can’t wait to watch her career blossom as she graduates Moore College of Art and Design in the Spring!
How can you contact me? You can find out more about all of my work through or feel to email me

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