Illustrator Jennifer Blume

Tell us a little about yourself.

I have been a published artist and illustrator since earning my degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  I’ve worked for magazines, gift and print companies, book publishers and music theaters.  I was doing very realistic and technical illustration for a few years until I decided I needed to focus on my passion for music and fashion which led me to explore digital collage.

This past year I launched my blog bohoheart which started as a style blog but morphed into my online portfolio/inspiration board.

Your artwork has very fresh and yet art nouveau vintage quality to it. How do you describe your style or aesthetic?

My current style draws heavily from art nouveau imagery with it’s stylized natural forms and I have an affinity for the ideas involved in the movement.  But including references to psychedelic art and sexuality along with adding hand painted elements brings the focus towards my own aesthetic which is more rock n’ roll and bohemian.  The dichotomy of the edgy rocker and the gypsy free spirit are at the heart of all of the work I do and things that I love.

Do you approach each piece as a story with many layers, or more as one captured moment?

I see each piece as a window into one world I am creating.  It’s some sort of sexy utopian paradise.  Arcadia and hallucinated dream world.  The characters spend a lot of time engaging with the natural world and it’s creatures and for some reason end up getting naked and swimming in mirrored pools.  But I’d like to think there’s a bit of menace below the surface.  Something not quite right.  Which in the art nouveau world would indicate the encroachment of industry equaling the destruction of open wilderness and wildlife, which is something I think a lot about.

You’ve started to work with mixed media, most recently combining photography and illustration. How does this change how you approach your art?

Well, I’ve always been into photography.  I thought at one time I wanted to be a fashion or music photographer like Anton Corbijn or Hedi Slimane, and I still photograph often.  When working for fashion and style magazines, I wanted to show that my illustrations could be combined with fashion photography for editorials and such.  So now I see a photograph that attracts me and I think about how I can immerse it into the world I’m creating with my illustration.  Aside from my illustration, I have recently been working on photo collages of musicians, so it’s exciting to have the combination of photo and drawing work out in a way that makes me happy.

You are based in New York City, how does this effect your work, if at all?

Actually I am living a bit outside of the city at the moment. It’s heartbreaking for me to be away from the bustle and culture.  It’s inspiring to be around so many creative people and so much diversity in art.  But there is also something to be said about creating your art in a more isolated place surrounded by nature.  It allows you to be influenced only by what is in your head in the absence of so much stimulation.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or not.  I am planning on living in a city again soon.  Maybe I will move to L.A to see what palm trees and ocean waves inspire me to do.

What’s next for you?

I would love to continue to combine photography with my art and collaborate with more photographers.  I am also very interested in collaborating with designers, jewelry and fashion, package and CD design, textiles.  I can see so many different amazing applications for my art, so I am excited and open to tons of ideas.  And travel!  At times it’s a bit difficult to get out of the world of my computer and see the world and what other artists are doing.

To learn more about Jennifer Blume, visit her blog.

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