We had the good fortune of connecting with Jillian Bennett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jillian, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I have experienced a range of fluctuations in my work/life balance. Most of my career I have worked from home and sometimes that made it difficult to pull myself away from projects and sometimes it made it difficult to create boundaries with other people who figured that since I was home, it meant I was available. For a short time, I worked in a shared studio that helped me separate work more from my daily life… however, after a while, I found it hard to not be able to work when I felt inspired because it was closed and I couldn’t get to my supplies. I think after experiencing both extremes, I have been able to find a happy balance and make sure that I treat my hours of work like I am in the office and am somewhat unavailable to the outside world. With that said, there are times where it is difficult to focus because something needs cleaning or the garden needs to be tended to. When that happens, I try to set a time with an actual clock that keeps me from getting carried away.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It is interesting that most of my mentors and favorite artists are those that deal with tough topics such as war and poverty like Anselm Kiefer (another artist that discusses war), because a part of me is extremely fascinated with Tao art and the philosophies that come with it… which is more on the peaceful side of the spectrum. My work focuses on small transitory moments and most of the time these are peaceful moments. Moments of awareness and mindful, calm states. It is my process that speaks to the everyday life of ups and downs in this human experience. I use a lot of subtle and non-subtle deconstruction and reconstruction to create my images that reflect a more universal message. That being life is fragile, yet it is powerful, dynamic, and small moments can be incredibly impactful.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to the the Botanical Garden to show them all the beautiful native plant life and show them the butterfly exhibit. I then would take them out to dinner at Sumo Maya because their food and cocktails are absolutely delicious. Another thing I would do is likely take them to Little Miss BBQ for some amazing lunch. Maybe we would walk it off with a walk around Papago Park. I would love to take them to the Phoenix art museum and take them to Grand Ave for some more art galleries and food. For a little more adventure outside the city, I might take them to Tom’s Thumb trail for some nice views and then some freshly made pasta at Oregano’s. I moved here a year ago from Southern California so there is much much more for me to still discover.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I always bring up a professor I had back at the University of Hawai’i, so much that she is probably concerned I am a little bit obsessed… BUT I feel she really helped me grasp the importance of process in the art world. Her name is Reem Bassous and she herself is an amazing artist, originally from Lebanon, who creates incredibly impactful works that mostly revolve around her experience with war. The other person I always think about is my high-school art teacher, Jeff Gillette. He showed me from a young age that art is a powerful messenger and that the message doesn’t always have to be pretty. From before I met him, he would travel to India and paint the slums with varying Disney symbols and characters as a stark contrast, and more recently he has worked with Bansky on “Dismaland”. If you havn’t seen any of their work, I highly recommend looking into them.
Linkedin: Jillián Bennett
Jonathan Adshead, Jordon Bennett