Living in a city like New York can give you opportunities like few other places. Jenna Snyder-Phillips had gone down the path of many of her design-hungry contemporaries. She moved from her native Philadelphia to Manhattan to study interior design and architecture at Parsons School of Design. But it was on graduating that an opportunity presented itself that played a great role in changing the course of her career direction. Jenna worked with the art curator at the Gramercy Park Hotel, and got to appreciate the role of hanging large-scale works by the likes of Julian Schnabel. Soon after she found herself painting, and on the encouragement of some friends showed the works to a local interior store. Since then Jenna's art has gained global traction, and is sold through Jonathan Adler stores worldwide.
Which five words best describe you? That's a tough one. But I would have to say the five words that describe me best are: Creative, inspired, passionate, resourceful and sometimes a bit of a day dreamer.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I think art chooses you. I've always been inclined toward artistic expression in all of its forms. As a child I was obsessed with arts and crafts from drawing to painting and clay to beads. I would work with whatever materials I could get my hands on.
After graduating from Parsons, I started my career working with the Ian Schrager Company on the Gramercy Park Hotel. Assisting the hotel's art curator I learned firsthand how artwork by the likes of Julian Schnabel can completely transform an interior space. When I wasn't busy working I would spend my free time painting on the floor of my Chinatown apartment. My friends were the first to see the art and encouraged me to start showing. I shared the work with a neighborhood interior shop whose aesthetic I really respected and the whole thing grew from there. For me, sharing my art is like sharing a piece of myself. So I feel very lucky that so many amazing interior designers and art collectors have really embraced the art. The rest is history!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don't give up! Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Go after what you want and work hard for it, but know that it also takes time. Success doesn't come overnight.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Turning my art, which started out as a passion and a hobby, into my full-time career.
What’s been your best decision? My best decision has been to value my own opinion above all others. If you do what makes you happy all will work out beautifully in the end.
Who inspires you? So many people inspire me! For interior designers, Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler. In terms of artists, James Nares, Jenny Saville and Tom Ryan are a few favorites. And, of course, my parents!
What are you passionate about? Besides painting and interior design, I'm passionate about travel, shoes and all things Italian, especially pizza.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would have loved to have met Frida Kahlo. I find it so inspiring how her life and her art were so deeply connected. Not to mention how she was able to transform such intense pain into such beautiful images.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? It's a dream of mine to one day own my own home and fashion boutique. Although if I stick to painting, showing my art in a museum would be pretty fantastic too.
images courtesy of jenna snyder phillips