Dig Baton Rouge

Canvas to Closet: Local artist uses work as inspiration for fashion

Baton Rouge native Jen Schmolke has a style all her own. A self-taught painter with a knack for neutrals and modern elements, she channels the signature look from her artwork into her everyday attire. We caught up with her to discuss art, inspiration and the perfect go-to outfit.

How long have you been painting, and what is your favorite medium?
I have been painting since I was a kid – I was always artsy. I would enter the coloring contests in the newspaper and would always win, or at least place. I realized I was pretty good at it and enjoyed it. From there I began drawing and, eventually, painting. Once I was in college, I began to sell my artwork. My favorite medium is acrylics on canvas, but I recently started doing alcohol inks on Yupo.

What is your education background? Also, any formal art training?
I graduated from SLU with a BA in Business. I have zero formal art training. I am completely self-taught.

How does your art translate into your personal style?
In both my art and in my clothing, I love a modern look. I like to start with soft neutral palettes, but then add something bold and eye-catching, like a pop of color. I also really love metallics, like silver and gold, and occasionally glitter.

Where do you draw inspiration for both your art and your outfits?
For my art, I can’t say that I look anywhere specific for inspiration. Ideas just pop into my head, and I know I need to put it down on canvas. As far as clothes, I wear what makes me feel good! I do not focus on if it is trendy. I focus on if it is flattering and if it makes me happy.

What is your favorite part about being an artist?
There are no rules. I am allowed to create whatever I want. It’s therapeutic for me. When I’m working on a piece I’m not worried about the day to day stressors, I’m solely focused on creating and I’m in my own little world.

Do you have a certain client that you feel your art has impacted on a greater level?
I would like to hope my art impacts all of my clients in some way. I really enjoy hearing from my clients a couple weeks or months after they have purchased a piece, letting me know how much they are enjoying it.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Taking care of my home and three fur babies, catching a Barre3 class, meeting my husband for lunch, volunteering at the children’s shelter once a week and working in my studio on my art.

Any career goals you have set for yourself?
Having my art displayed in a gallery would be amazing, but it would definitely be stepping out of my comfort zone!

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork you have done?
I favor the pieces I have finished with epoxy resin. I just love the glass-like appearance it gives.

What is your favorite go-to outfit?
Ripped skinny jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers.

What trends are you loving right now?
Right now I am into off-the-shoulder, flowy tops. I am also loving metallics—specifically metallic sneakers.

Any favorite local boutiques?
I like Hey Penelope and Love.

What staple should every girl have in her closet?
Christian Louboutin shoes! But on a serious note, I think every girl should invest in a classic pair of heels with a coordinating handbag.

Describe your overall style in three words.
Modern. Feminine. Glam.


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