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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jill Zelenski

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Zelenski.

Hi, Jill. It’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. To start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
It was in college, at Michigan State University, when I realized how much painting meant to me. That was 11 years ago. And while I may have discovered my skill and love for it then, it wasn’t until the past few years that I began appreciating it as an outlet—a way to further explore myself and the way I relate to the world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Like life, there are seasons of struggle and seasons of triumph. It all comes down to time, energy, and–my favorite–battling imposter syndrome. Sometimes I don’t have the time to get in the studio, and I struggle making it a priority. And painting should be a priority because it brings me joy and peace. Other times, finding the energy to paint is hard. I have a full-time job as a graphic designer, and, sometimes, I don’t have enough creative juices to put paint to canvas. But my main struggle is usually battling with feelings of inadequacy. This means doubting my abilities and feeling like a fraud. Intrusive thoughts like–“I’m an artist? My work is worthy of praise? There’s no way people will like my work and want it hanging in their space”–are all too familiar. I’ve learned that when I start to feel this way, the solution is simple: paint. Push through the boundaries and doubts and get my ass in the studio.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m an abstract painter. While I am known for creating drips with the paint, what sets me apart from others is the planning process, or the lack thereof. That is, there is little to no plan when I start a new piece. I may have a composition in mind or a color palette I’m toying with, but it all comes down to what is on my heart that day. This gives life to the lines I paint. They sprawl across the canvas and start to form their own shapes and personalities. By themselves they are not much, but together they create something worth exploring.

I paint for the experience. I put down what feels right and then react. The outcome–a painting–is a bonus. My goal is to invite the viewer in and ignite their imagination. Give them a glimpse into my world of exploring emotions and not taking things too seriously. Dare them to dream, both on and off the canvas.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I don’t have a specific childhood memory, it’s more of a feeling. Almost every summer, my immediate family and I take a weeklong trip to Long Island, New York, to visit our extended family. Now that I am over 21, the week now includes wine, but our trips stay the same. They’re filled with fun and laughter. Beach days. A dip in the pool to cool off our sunburnt bodies. Everyone drops their troubles and worries for the week to soak up the sun and enjoy each other’s company. It has–and always will be–the week of good vibes only.

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Image Credits

Jenny Berggren

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