Imagine our delight when a Wooster & Prince colleague came across these incredibly beautiful paper-covered Deer Trophies on Etsy. Created by artist Jen Khoshbin, these regal, graceful sculptures are made from poured resin and then carefully hand-covered with art paper. I swooned when I saw Jen’s work and immediately contacted her to find out more … and to have her create the most perfect Christmas present for my husband using my “Coatue” Art Paper for Wooster & Prince.
You can read our interview with Jen below and see more of her work at rubyslounge on Etsy.
W&P: On your website you refer to your papered deer sculptures as the “Deer Trophy Project”, but in the past you have also created patterned wolves, rhinoceroses, birds and insects. When did you first start making these paper covered creations, and where did the idea originate?
Jen: I began the animal head sculptures about 4 years ago. Much of my work is inspired by stories and fables. I find ways to re-script the stories through vintage books, intricate drawings, and sculpture. I think of the sculptures as having made their way straight out of the pages of the books. About 10 years ago I saw a deer head crafted out of bee’s wax. I admired it very much and decided I wanted to create one for myself out of paper and resin forms. Creating animal sculptures out of non-traditional materials was not new, but about 4-5 years ago it became a small trend that I was part of in galleries and magazines. Now the animal trophies have become more a design project for me available in boutiques instead of art galleries.
W&P: Obviously you are an extremely talented artist and a creative thinker! Have you always worked in the arts? What is your training and creative background? Did you study fine arts in school, or are you self taught?
Jen: I was exposed to the arts at an early age. Most of my family is involved in the arts. Both my grandfather and uncle are master carpenters; my mother is a ceramic artist; my brother is a film maker and curator; and my sister is a new media artist. I have studied art in college but got my degree in the social sciences. I would like to get an MFA in the next few years. As with most working women, I have balanced my fine art work with family and art as a business.
W&P: We see from your portfolio site that you make work in many different artistic media, some three-dimensional, some two-dimensional. It’s probably very hard to choose, but what would you say is your preferred medium, and why?
Jen: That’s too difficult to decide! I definitely have the need to create in different mediums, one type responding to and reflecting one another. Perhaps if I had to choose, I would pick drawing as my preferred medium. For me, drawing is pure in that it is just the pencil and paper – the idea expressed directly. Drawing 1950’s-inspired children and animals, with no color involved, creates a darkness to the drawings that I enjoy.
W&P: You have a very impressive exhibition history, having shown in galleries all over the country and the world. Where was your first exhibition, and how did you get that first big break?
My first true exhibition was at a friend’s small gallery right down the road from my house. Because the owners were very good friends and showed mostly new artists, there wasn’t much of the pressure that can come from larger, more established galleries. I also made sure to pair my work with another friend’s paintings to help take the pressure off me directly. It helped build future confidence.
W&P: The customer feedback for your Etsy shop is stellar! After almost 3 years as a shop owner, do you find that there are unique challenges to working in this online sales model? Does being a part of this crafting community provide a source of inspiration for your work?
Jen: Etsy has been wonderful! I was lucky to start my business just when Etsy was available and getting popular. I would have a very different and potentially smaller business if it wasn’t for their online service. There are a few challenges to a web-shop. One hurdle is that the customer does not get to see and feel the art before purchasing it. This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings over size, colors, etc. It’s not unlike shopping for anything online really. Online business also means shipping! This part of the business takes away from creating the pieces and uses alot of materials that aren’t always the most environmental. Outside of this, the Etsy shop has allowed me to work from home while being a mother to my little Ruby, so I wouldn’t trade it for anything.