Artists in Quarantine: Jenni Allen

Part of our series Artists in Quarantine. We talk about the lives, interests and concerns of artists during the lockdown, based on ‘interviews’ with some of the artists we work with – some conducted by email (with a list of questions), some on the phone.

How are you today?

I’m feeling quite refreshed today, I went for a walk along the canal which is always a good idea.

Where do you normally work?

I have a studio room at Artist Hive Studios in Tottenham, I’m a long term member of East London Printmakers in Mile End, where I make my screenprints and before the lockdown I also started using Print Club London to create a series of prints.

Artists in Quarantine: Jenni Allen - Discover Contemporary Art Prints & Printmaking

Why do you choose to work there?

I’ll focus on ELP as I’ve been with them for a while. It’s a fantastically well-equipped studio with facilities for a range of printmaking techniques. It is run with a cooperative ethos at its core and it provides lots of opportunities for artists. The community there, come from all walks of life and you’ll always find good advice or a listening ear wether it be for technical printmaking problems or life coaching!

How long have you been working there?

Almost10 years which is testament to how great the place is!

What has changed because of the lockdown?

The exhibitions that I was due to be part of this spring and summer have been postponed until next year so I have been more active in promoting my work online via opportunities like the Artist Support Pledge. It has also been good being able to help raise money for the NHS with the House of Prints fundraiser.

I have embraced the locked down and have used the time to focus on updating my website and editing images, all the stuff that I usually put off. I’ve tried to relax my mind a bit and enjoy spending the unexpected time with my partner and daughter, which can go from great joy to stifled frustration and back again!

How does that impact your practice?

The production of my work has slowed right down due to being unable to attend the studio. I’ve found alternative ways to print at home, like experimenting with cyanotype and I have also put a small tabletop screen printing station into action. It means I have to work on a smaller scale than I’m used to but that challenge has been overcome and it’s fun just experimenting.

Artists in Quarantine: Jenni Allen - Discover Contemporary Art Prints & Printmaking

What have you discovered because of the lockdown?

  • I do actually like my own company….when I can get it.
  • I could eat salt & vinegar crisps all day, every day but I mustn’t.
  • I am not cut out for homeschooling and I absolutely take my hat off to all school teachers and the real homeschooling parents. How do they do it??
  • My cat sleeps way more than I thought felinely possible! Or maybe she’s just fed up with us being at home all of the time.

What do you miss the most as an artist?

I miss the physical space of the studios and the act of actually printing on a proper screen bed and generally being around other creatives.

What do you miss the most as a fellow human being?

Being able to see and touch family and friends. Going where ever I want, when I want. Eating food that’s not made in my kitchen.

What’s playing?

The twittering of the resident blackbird and the faint booming of music coming from someone’s garden.

See Jenni’s work as part of Made for the NHS Event.