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We feature some of our favorite Etsy artists in our most recent spring catalog, including Jenny Gray‘s abstract paintings! Read our interview with the Oregon-based artist and see more of her work…

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When did you start painting, and what role does it play in your life these days?

I have been painting off and on since high school, but I got serious about 12 or so years ago. I was a full-time graphic designer until 8 years ago, now I spend more than 2/3rds of my time painting and still get to work with my favorite clients.

Making art is extremely important to me. It’s what really gets me excited — I communicate most truthfully through art, it is my voice.

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Where do you like to turn to for inspiration?

My everyday environment seeps into my work and inspires my work — graphics, icons, old barns, nature, farm equipment — it all seeps in.

When I intentionally look for inspiration I go to the California expressionist artists of the 60’s. Whenever I can, I go the Oakland Museum in Oakland California. They have a great collection.

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How does where you live effect your work?

I grew-up in Southern California and I think that has affected some of the aesthetic of my work, but living in rural Oregon gives me time and space to work. I love being connected to the land and seasons, for example in the rainy season I tend to use lots of color to brighten my mood.

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I love that you have chickens in your studio! How long have you kept chickens as pets? Do they live indoors?

Actually my studio is only used as a chicken hospital, when one gets hurt or if I can tell they are not feeling well I bring them out of the cold for a few nights and let them recuperate in the studio. I love my pet chickens they are so fun to watch. I have kept chickens for about 8 years. Usually they free range and spend nights in the barn.

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What is the Jenny Gray theme song?

Lately I have been thinking of my paintings as colleges, putting seemingly unconnected things together, and Beck seems to do that a lot. I especially like “Cellphone’s Dead.”

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Jenny Gray’s paintings are featured on page 73 of our April catalog, and on You can see more of her work on her website.

Read about all of our catalog-featured Etsy artists here!

Images: Jenny Gray and west elm

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