Birthday Box Contributor Spotlight: Jenny of Jenny Allen Art

Posted by Alexandra Dehoff on

Jenny makes gorgeous illustrations, sketches and commissioned art, and if you're lucky, you might find tiny and adorable gift from her in the upcoming Birthday Beauty Box! You can read all about her work and family on her website, and see tons of her adorable daily drawings on her business Facebook or Instagram. We asked her some questions about her thoughts on life, bath products, feminism, and nerd culture

In your own words, how would you describe yourself and your work?

I'm a helpdesk-nerd turned stay-at-home-mum who started doing commissions partly to maintain my sanity (see above re. stay at home parent) and partly to get my family and friends off my back about not making something of my talents!  I'd always vaguely fantasized about a more creative career - and one where I never had to fill in another goddamn quarterly self-evaluation - and when my kid finally started sleeping for more than two hours at a time I thought, if not now, when?  So I did one commission for a friend's anniversary, and she showed it to some friends, and it all snowballed from there.  My work is mainly cute family portraits, but I'm trying to branch out a bit into comics, children's illustrations and even sculpting (as you can see!)  I've tried basically every medium you can get your hands on at a craft store, but my favourites will always be pencil/inks and acrylic paint.  I struggle to settle on one style or theme because I'm one of those people who just has so many feeeeeelings and they all want to come out in different ways!  

Why are you a feminist and what does that mean to you?

I'm a feminist because I'm a person and I care about other people.  It baffles me that anyone could feel differently - although it shouldn't, because much as I hate to admit it, I definitely went through that hideous "I'm not a feminist because I don't need feminism" stage when I was a naive insecure youngster - internalised misogny is some serious business!  To me, feminism means trying to build a better world for *everyone*, starting with the least privileged among us.  And it sometimes means getting into arguments in the comments even though I know I'm going to regret it when the notifications won't stop at 3am.  Feminism has become even more important to me since the birth of my son, because I have to teach him how the world is and how to help make it better, and that means acknowledging that I still have a lot to learn myself.  


What’s your favorite form of self-care?

 I'm a manicure person!  I used to bite my nails to the quick - they were painful, often even infected and looked awful.  Quitting biting them has been my biggest victory over my anxiety to date, so I like to remind myself of that by keeping them pretty now.  I love the whole process of removing varnish, shaping and buffing them, and applying a new perfectly neat, unsmudged coat of colour.  I have managed to drag this process out to the point where it now takes over an hour.  I always feel so much better afterwards!  I also sometimes put on a full face of makeup just to hang around the house in pyjamas with my kid.  It stops me feeling like a bridge troll, and some days I need that.  (Other days, I just embrace my troll heritage.)

What’s your favorite fandom/geek interest, and do you have a favorite character?

This is a tough one!  I've been a comedy nerd my whole life, and I'm fiercely loyal to several TV shows (30 Rock, Parks & Rec, The Office (US), House).  But the fandom I guess I'm most active in right now is Welcome to Night Vale.  I've been a fan of the show for a few years, have got friends into it as well, own the script books, attended a book group for the first time just to discuss the novel, and hope to attend my first live show this year!  I love that it's weirder in Night Vale to believe in mountains than it is to be gay.  I love that it's progressive and inclusive and diverse but that *totally isn't the point of the show* - the story isn't about those things at all.  The characters, regardless of race or sexuality or any other arbitrary characteristic, are just normal people living in a very weird world.

What’s your favorite Ms. Andry product? What does it do for you?

Much to my shame, I haven't yet tried a Ms. Andry product - this box will be my very first try and I'm so excited to try it all out!  I live in the UK and shipping/customs are a pain, plus my beauty routine is very boring thanks to incredibly sensitive skin and a penchant for the kind of 'no makeup look' that is achieved by, you know, actually not wearing any makeup.  But I absolutely love seeing all the clever product names and beautiful packaging and, obviously, videos of Luca helping out with business.  


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