EVERYWHERE LIFE TAKES ME – Meet Jordana Henry: Painter, Gallery Owner, Mother
In this collaboration with Blundstone Australia, we interview three creative mums on their craft, family and advice they would give their 21-year-old-selves. Meet Jordana Henry: painter, gallery owner, mother.
Tell us a little bit about who you are?
My name is Jordana, I’m an artist and co-owner of Yeah Nice Gallery.
How would you describe your creative self?
Sometimes chaotic, sometimes calm, sometimes confusing and sometimes precise.
How would you describe yourself as a Mum?
Learning along the way. Just flying by the seat of my pants really. Doing what feels right as it comes. Not reading or listening to parental advice podcasts because it always makes me feel inadequate.
Were you creative as a kid?
Yes but not in a conventional way. I just like to put things together in my own way and needed things to be a certain way. Odd socks, beret on my head and a floral dress.
Does having children influence you as a creative mum?
For sure, but perhaps not always in a positive way, if I’m being completely honest. I never found the process of having children ultra-inspiring. It was an amazing profound experience to have my babies and it probably has influenced my work, but I wouldn’t say it’s a main focus.
How important do you find it is as a creative mum to have alone time to fuel your creativity?
It’s a necessity! Making art is something I have always done. I did it before kids and I will continue to do it forever, I hope. If I don’t take the time out to fuel that part of me, I’m not a great mother, or partner, or friend. I follow the advice that have to put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.
When did you first realise you could paint?
Still figuring out if I can! When I was 5-years-old my mum had a market stall and I sold some of my paintings. When a very D grade celebrity bought one for 50 cents it was a light-bulb moment and I’ve been making and selling ever since.
Who in your family or friendship group has influenced you creatively?
My parents have influenced me in different ways, but have always encouraged my creativity and accepted me in my truest form. My girlfriends are a huge inspiration. They are all mothers, business owner, artists in their own right, and all huge powerhouse women.
Can you describe the challenges in your creative journey to get to where you are today?
Having that realisation that I may not “fit” inside the high-end arti/ gallery world. Accepting that I do what I do because it comes naturally and to not force myself to change in order to fit into a category or meet societal expectations. I find new challenges every day in my work. Whether they be small or large and all consuming.
What’s something that’s happened in your life that has surprised you?
I’m always surprised when someone purchases one of my paintings. It’s kind of like someone buying a pair of your underwear. It’s so personal and such a reflection of my internal dialogue that whenever someone “gets it” or appreciates it I’m so pleasantly surprised.
Painting has always been your “staple”. How hard was it to get back to after taking maternity leave and why do you think it’s hard to go back to something?
A lot happens to a woman when they have a baby. You have to sacrifice a lot. And sometimes the thing you sacrifice turns out to be the one thing you should hold onto the tightest. It’s hard to pick something up again but I think if it’s a natural part of you it’s kind of like riding a bike. You always have it.
What have been the biggest things you’ve learnt about yourself on this creative journey so far?
Just do you. Don’t listen to the critics too much. And don’t let the money drive the art, it never works.
What’s one thing you would tell your 21-year-old self?
Don’t rush. Take your time. And eat whatever you want.
And lastly, where will your Blundstone boots take you today?
Probably around my property, chasing the kids, walking the dog and then to Yeah Nice Gallery.
Jordi is wearing Blundstone Dress #1306 Chelsea Boots in rustic brown.
Read more of our Blundstone interviews with creative mums and meet Tegan Murdock.