Exercise Three - Round Two // Jen Wink Hays

May 19 2020

Exercise One

Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?

Love. And breathing fresh spring air sans mask in our backyard. And art.


What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?

I use a lot of paint in thick layers with varied textures and it is a big part of the experience of the work in person and yet it really doesn't come across online. So there is a whole dimension that is lost on instagram. My NYC show (at BDDW Gallery) was hung a couple days before the lockdown took effect and then it never opened. The work has been selling online but I'm quite sad that no one will see the actual paint in person.


Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?

The basic visual language would probably stay the same but I wonder if I would be dealing with such big, awkward canvases if there wasn't a need to end up with a sturdy, hangable object. Or maybe nothing would change because I love painting big.


Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?

My studio is my dream studio (large and bright) except I would put it on the ground floor of the building with garage door access for loading and unloading.


What is your best time of the day or night to work and why? 

Morning is best for sure. I try to get working right away after the kids are set for school so I don't miss the wave. I also like to get household stuff done at the start of the day, but I've trained myself to hold that for later so my best energy is used in the studio.


What is your studio staple snack?

I generally don't eat in the studio but I'm always working on a coffee or a large glass of sparkling water with black cherry juice mixed in.


Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day

We have lots of chickens and a few guinea hens on our urban farm here in Philadelphia. Yesterday, I watched the guinea hens repeatedly walk right into the fence to get to their food instead of using the opening 4 feet to their left. This went on for 30 minutes. They look more intelligent and refined than the chickens, but in reality, they are more like the dumb cousins visiting from out of town.


 If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?



 Exercise Two

What is your favourite podcast?

Bad at Sports, WTF, Why Is This Happening with Chris Hayes


What is the best gift you've ever given or been given, vs the worst?

For Mother's Day the kids performed one of my favorite songs for me. This has become a tradition and it is by far my favorite kind of gift. Worst gift was being registered for a self help retreat without my knowledge.


What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?

Best: No one favorite, but I really enjoyed Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

Worst: Under the Tuscan Sun


What's the most inspirational place you've been?

Italy and north-eastern Oregon


What are three trivial things you are missing since lockdown and three things you are enjoying?

- Eating other people's cooking

- Wandering

- Touching objects without fear or sanitizer


What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?

Parts of the day are less distinct now. I love morning best because it is full of possibility. I have started dreading late afternoon a little because of dinner pressure. There's no delivery or take out when I'm not in the mood.


What have you learnt, what are you consuming, what are you now expert in - since lockdown?

We are mainly consuming groceries. Lots of groceries. Sanitizing them. Cooking them. Eating them. I am an expert at pulling together a decent meal for 5 people and having the countertops clean and dishwasher loaded before we even sit down to eat. I am more practiced now at not taking anything for granted. The gratitude I feel every day for being safe and with my family is huge and real. 


Exercise Three

Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new. 


- Draw the last dream that you remember

- Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing

- Draw the last text you received 


Check out Jen's Exercise Three piece here