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Jenn Ski 

For more on Ski’s work, visit her website, jennski.com, or her online shops, etsy.com/shop/jennski and society6.com/jennski. 




Taking shape
Local artist goes retro with digital prints

12/14/17
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Bedford artist Jenn Ski has had some big opportunities over the years, designing things like holiday bags for Papyrus, children’s toys featured by Chick-fil-A, greeting cards for Hallmark and a coloring book series. She was even asked to create the artwork hung in 900 rooms at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando, Florida. 

It all started in 2007 when she started blogging and selling her mid-century modern digital artwork on Etsy. Mid-century modern describes the graphic design, interior design and architectural style popular from the 1930s through the 1960s, characterized by geometric shapes, clean lines and bold colors, Ski said, and she fell in love with the style while studying graphic design in college. 
“To me, that time period was the peak of perfect design. Everything before and after was just OK,” she said. “It has this simplicity, yet it’s elegant, and you still know what it is. The art from that time just speaks to me.” 
Ski finds inspiration looking at vintage ceramics, fabrics and home decor. Her work includes abstract art with traditional mid-century style shapes and simplistic retro style animals like birds, cats and fish, infused with modern, trendy colors like aqua, teal, rose and peach. 
“When I add those colors, suddenly it’s a whole new thing,” Ski said. “It still feels vintage, but it doesn’t look old-looking. It looks fresh.” 
She started with painting but quickly made the switch to digital art, which she found to be less time-consuming and less stressful because of the “undo” option. On her computer, she plays around with shapes like a puzzle, arranging them in different ways until they look interesting. Lately, she’s been adding more textures to her work, either by scanning fabrics or by creating her own digitally. She usually works on a piece for an hour or two at a time before putting it aside to return to later. 
“I have to let things simmer in my brain,” she said. “Then, when I go back, I see things through different eyes.” 
Ski still sells her work on Etsy as well as Society6, a company that transfers art prints onto items like throw pillows, curtains, mugs, cell phone cases, T-shirts, bedding and tote bags. 
Creating mid-century art has had its challenges, Ski said, particularly in New Hampshire, where landscapes and more rustic styles of artwork abound. 
“It’s definitely niche and not for everyone. It’s a weird aesthetic that a lot of people in New Hampshire can’t appreciate because they’re stuck in this bubble of more traditional stuff,” she said. “Around here, I have to shout very loud to be noticed.” 
To “warm it up to New Hampshire’s standards,” Ski said, she’s been using more greens and nature-inspired colors in her art and has been putting her prints in classic gold frames.  
In the online art world, Ski encounters a similar problem, but for a different reason; so many artists are doing mid-century digital art nowadays that it’s hard to stand out. 
“When I first started doing it in 2007, it was something that no one else was doing,” she said. “Now, it’s too saturated. There are so many pieces that look close to mine, and there are a lot of copycats who basically take your pieces and just change the colors.” 
The prevalence of mid-century digital art has led Ski to start exploring a new medium: ceramics. She plans to eventually move away from digital prints and focus primarily on creating mid-century ceramic wall art instead. 
“The ceramic pieces are really unique,” she said. “Once you paint something and put it in the kiln, you don’t know how it will turn out. You just put your hope in the process, and sometimes you get lucky. I’m really enjoying that.” 





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