We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Bloomer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
It’s taken me a long time to call myself an artist. Art has always been such an important part of my life and identity, however I didn’t have a vision for how it could become a career early on. There were so many voices in my head saying- “You’re not good enough to be a professional artist,” or “Art doesn’t really matter, do something more useful for the world.” My school didn’t have a strong arts program so I majored in International Studies and moved abroad after graduating. I brought my paints and started setting up my easel in the middle of the city. People would come up and talk to me while I painted and I found it to be such a powerful way to connect. I was also teaching art to kids ages 5-18 and felt so inspired by the creativity that they brought forward and the ways art bridges wide expanses of difference. I moved elsewhere, got jobs with non-profits working to create change in the world, but kept remembering the experience of painting and teaching everyday day and feeling immersed in creativity. I found more art teaching opportunities on the side, and found ways to incorporate art into whatever job I was doing until I hit a real crossroads in my career. It was then I decided to take a leap and fully commit to a creative path instead of relegating it to a side hobby. I realized art was going to keep calling me until I listened.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m really interested in the ways that art can remind us of our common humanity and bring us into a deeper understanding of one another. I have lived all over the world and created art with so many different kinds of people and really seen the universality of the need to create. This has informed the way I’ve set up my business, Radici Studios, which is working to create change, connection, and community through activist art, murals, classes and workshops. It been a journey filled with lots of ups and downs but one I feel profoundly grateful for. I think what has kept me steady even in moments where it feels like nothing is going as planned, is a deep inner believe in the healing power of art and a knowledge that that this is meant to be my path in life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting I would take her to up to Point Reyes to walk along the beautiful beaches with rocks and sand and crashing waves. I would take her mountain biking in Marin and up to Russian River to float down the river with a cold beer. It’s hard to remember what life was like before COVID, but if I could, I’d take her out dancing with me in the Mission to Beauty Bar and Little BaoBob and for drinks at the Rio. We’d spend a day checking out all the beautiful murals around the city and then climb to the top of twin peaks under the full moon and look out at the expanse of the Bay. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I was 6 my father had a bike accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury and left my mom caring for him along with me and my 2 siblings on her own. After school I would go to Griffin Art Studio where I would get space away from all the hard stuff going on in my family and just make art. There were bins and bins of all kinds of different materials for making things and the warmest, kindest, most grounded teacher. Her name was Jeffy Griffin and she created such an inviting, safe space that I always felt welcome to show up as my full self. Her classes gave me such a felt sense of the power of creativity to heal which has stayed with me all my life.
Linkedin: Jen Bloomer
Lila Smith (main photo, and photo of me and my daughter) Will Bloomer (Photo of me painting white heart and Photo of blue and red mural)