Humboldt Magic Makers, Ep. 2
PEN & PINE
MEET FEBRUARY'S MAGIC MAKER, PEN & PINE. THE ONE-WOMAN OPERATION OF JENNA CATSOS, IS THE MARRIAGE OF HER INTEREST IN FINE ART, EDUCATION, AND THE NATURAL WORLD.
What is your medium/practice?
I really like to draw. There’s something so simple and tactile about it, yet through such a basic process I can create anything I dream up. As my work can easily tip towards commercial, I try to regularly build in time to just draw for myself- with no purpose or product in mind. Each morning I get up, make a big cup of tea or coffee, and head to my small studio in my garden. I am my most creative in the morning, so I like to get to work as quickly as I can. In the afternoons, I go for walks around the neighborhood to generate inspiration, drink more tea, meet with clients, or work on the business side of my art.
the simple practice of drawing with fine point pens on nice, thick paper.
I love the simple practice of drawing with fine-point pens on nice, thick paper; feeling the drag of the felt tip across the grain. I enjoy bringing color into my work in different ways- I often scan my illustrations and add color digitally, or incorporate paint or monoprinting to integrate color. The process of monoprinting involves laying ink on glass and taking single impressions, creating unique prints with blended colors and organic shapes. Once the prints are dry, I use them to inspire the illustrations that take form on top of them.
Throughout my life I have worked with a variety of media, but I keep coming back to illustration because of its simplicity, my ability to throw all of my tools in my bag, and its ability to clearly communicate and educate. I love that illustration requires me to stop, focus, and really look- before you can draw something, you need to really see it. My aim is to use my illustration as a way to remind people to slow down, follow our curiosity, and appreciate the whimsical nature of everyday objects.
How long have you lived in Humboldt?
I moved from Seattle to Humboldt in 2014. I’m originally from Massachusetts, and I never dreamed I would live in California. My husband and I moved here on a whim, but it turns out this area is the perfect fit for me and my work. We live in Eureka, and we have grown to love this little city so much.
is to use my illustration as a way to remind people to slow down, follow our curiosity, and appreciate the whimsical nature of everyday objects.
How long have you been making art?
I have been making things and drawing for my whole life. I come from a very crafty and resourceful family, and my creative exploration was always encouraged. Both of my parents are creative small business owners, so this path always seemed like the most natural one to take. I studied art at Green Mountain College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont but then I was swept up by adult decided to take my career in a different direction. I missed having creativity and creation as the center of my life, so in 2015 I took the plunge and officially started my illustration business, Pen&Pine, and last year I quit my job to pursue my art.
How have the culture and landscape of Humboldt influenced your work?
I value the collaborations and partnerships I have built in this area, with other artists and with the strong community of nonprofits along the north coast. I can honestly say that living in Humboldt has made it possible for me to pursue my art. There is an acceptance of artists here that I haven’t really found anywhere else, and I find that people are truly excited to support my work.
I have a strong connection to Humboldt and the larger pacific northwest, and my work is intertwined with the culture and landscape of this area. There’s something magical about this place that makes me want to create. I love capturing the sense of this place through maps and illustrations of the landmarks, flora, architecture, and cultural quirks of this area. And sometimes I literally cannot stop drawing ferns.
Having my studio in my garden shapes the types of things I often draw. When I am searching for inspiration, all I have to do is look out my window and there are dozens of plants begging to be drawn and explored.
How has the cannabis industry in Humboldt County affected/contributed to your career as an artist/creative?
Cannabis is such a part of the culture and lifestyle in Humboldt. I believe that the cannabis industry in Humboldt provides an extra boost to our economy, which helps make it possible for artists to survive, and thrive, here.