Jennifer Rehnay (JenniferRehnay): "I love the way art makes people feel"
Staff Writer By: Hope Kumor (hopeandlove)
Renderosity member Jennifer Rehnay (JenniferRehnay) is a writer and so you can just feel her story through her words. She starts by telling you how she heard about Renderosity and then simply goes from there. So, for your pure enjoyment, please read how the funny and witty Jennifer connects to art.
What brought you to Renderosity?
I had just moved to Austin, TX and was preparing to self-publish my first book. I was excited to make my own cover and had the whole thing sketched out. I was either going to photograph some hands or find a way to render some in 3D...but if there was one thing years in art school had taught me, it was that I must have basically zero depth perception and that I should leave the 3D world to people with spatial awareness and driver's licenses. Still, I discovered DAZ Studio before any amateur hand models got back to me. I bumbled my way through enough renders to finally get what I wanted, and then I painted the glowy light effects I had been planning on. I promptly uninstalled DAZ Studio because the little icon mocked me every time I turned on my computer. About a month later, I went to a Meetup for sci-fi and fantasy book and movie lovers because I wanted to make some friends in my new city. I just walked around with a glass of wine and asked everyone the same thing because I'm socially gifted: "Hi, I'm Jenn. What do you do for a living?"
One of those poor souls who endured my awkwardness turned out to be none other than Victoria "vyktohria" Goodman. When she graciously answered my question ("I'm a 3D vendor. I make skins and textures and things for artists to use as resources when rendering digital people.") I was like aww yes my time has come, I can pretend to know something about this. So I responded, very casually, like I had more than 5 hours of experience being hopelessly lost, "Oh, cool, so like DAZ or something?" Victoria turned to her friend and said, "OMG, she knows what I do for a living!" I paled because I absolutely didn't. I barely knew anything at all but I downed the rest of my wine and said, "OH YEAH, I LOVE ALL THAT STUFF. SO FUN. REAL EASY TO LEARN (pleasebemyfriend)." Victoria got excited and asked me to sit down and talk with her more. Eventually, I caved and told the truth. I admitted that I didn't really know much about it at all and that, frankly, the whole Victoria/Michael 5, 6, 7, 9, 22, whatever versions really confused me. She gave me a knowing smile, answered all my questions, suggested I try Poser since DAZ Studio was not my cup of tea, and then mentioned Renderosity. She told me it was this wonderful community full of amazing vendors and artists and, well...she was right!
How has art changed your life?
Art, in all its forms, has taught me to be proud of myself and my progress as an individual. Art has inspired me to be courageous because, with art, I can try new things and fail. Failing sucks and I love praise, but art eases that fear of failure so it isn't quite so crippling. So then, in life, I feel more open to taking on new challenges because, like messing up a painting or a sculpture, or singing way off-key for half a song, failure is not really so scary after all.
What is it about art that you love?
I love the way art makes people feel. Art inspires emotion, even if it is simply irritation because you're looking at some scribbles. "Ugh," you say. "That's not art." It is art, though, and by evoking a response from you it has succeeded. I love that art forever redefines that word, "success" and gifts us all the ability to succeed.
Would you consider yourself more of a hobbyist?
I think so, yes. I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design after high school and, let me tell you, if there's one place that will make you not want to do art of any kind, it's art school. EVERYONE is so unbelievably gifted and it is sometimes so intimidating, so overwhelming, that you just want to give up and cry into a big bag of off-brand Lucky Charms because you're in college and you don't have the cash to buy the real stuff. Like you spend 12 hours with charcoal, rendering the coolest, most epic bird you can and you have never been more proud of yourself...then you go to class and half the people there are like "Yaaawwn, here's my bird I guess. I crapped this out just before class. I forgot I even had this class," and you cannot believe it's not a photograph. Or stolen from a museum. And you look at your now-horrible bird drawing and want it to apologize to you and go catch on fire and think about what it's done. Like I said before though, one of the beautiful things about art is that it redefines success for you, and I certainly learned that lesson there. It helped me to not give up when I didn't believe I was capable and sure enough, now there are some people who might be blown away by what I can do, too! Today, I work from home making advertisements, logos, and graphics for small businesses and, of course, I write. While I am currently working on a series I hope will be traditionally published, I have had such joy and success traveling to conventions, selling my first two books and related art prints that I'm sure I will want to make book covers and artwork forever.
What does art mean to you?
Art is freedom and identity. Art is our collective expression as the human race and if you want a little art-ception, art as a concept is art itself because, when you examine it, it is also the individual and varying expression of each participant.
How did you become so passionate about art and why?
While I always loved art as a kid, as I started to grow up I realized the world is dominated by math and science. I think that's fine--technology and the internet come from that stuff and I freaking love the internet, I don't even like being outside because there are mosquitoes and wind out there--but math and science need art to communicate their findings and their breakthroughs. I realized that right now the world is a little lost. Nobody wants to pay for art (prints, paintings, music, interior design, you name it) but everybody needs art to survive, to communicate with one another. What is supposed to be balanced is now totally off-kilter and I want to change that. Art is valuable because we are valuable, and I can think of nothing more important than reminding everyone of their value.
My first book is called "The Last Seraph" - http://www.amazon.com/Last-Seraph-Seraphim-Saga/dp/0989476707
My second book (the sequel) is called "The First Guardian" - http://www.amazon.com/First-Guardian-Seraphim-Saga/dp/0989476731
My website: www.jenniferrehnay.com