Hello! Welcome to Red Parka! I’m Jen, the artist and writer behind Red Parka.
So who am I?
I’m a girl in my late 30s (whoa, how did that happen??) who is passionate about building a creative and meaningful life of adventure, art and freedom! I do believe I have the best job in the world but let me tell you, getting to this point has been a crazy, tumultuous, exciting, difficult and challenging time. But, you know I would not change a thing!
I started Red Parka about 5 years ago when I realised I couldn’t cope a minute longer in regular employment and that striking out on my own, and building something new, was the only way I was going to find any sort of job satisfaction in my life.
Truth is, I had no idea what I was doing! But I knew I had to do something. So I did. My journey to becoming an illustrator was a wayward one with lots of false starts and distractions, but now that I am here I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I absolutely love being self-employed and get a real kick out of discussing business ideas and concepts with my fellow creatives and helping people with big dreams turn their ideas into reality.
One of my favourite aspects of running Red Parka is writing my blog – this is a place for me to explore and share with you my artwork, my inspirations and my creative struggles. It’s also a place for me to share my journey and help others who may be treading a similar rocky path as I have, and still do, as I navigate my way in this crazy world.
I live on the beautiful island of Tasmania, in Australia, where I am based in between physical and imaginary journeys out into the wider world. Tasmania is a beautiful, wild place that totally owns my heart, but deep down I have the soul of a gypsy and love being on the road, travelling to places near and far, foreign and familiar. Maybe one day I’ll come and visit you!
Read my story of becoming an illustrator here.
Read about why my business is called Red Parka here.
Here’s a few random facts so you can get to know me a little better….
1. When I was in primary school a teacher once told me I was a terrible drawer. After a lifetime of believing this to be true, it took me until about the age of 32 to be confident enough to call myself an illustrator.
2. I am an official art school drop out. I barely lasted six months when I tried to go to art school. I dropped out and got myself a degree in Political Science instead. Then became an artist!
3. I am just a tiny bit shy of 6 feet tall. And I have frizzy red hair. So yeah, despite my introverted nature, it’s always been hard to blend into the background.
4. I have had over 25 different jobs in my life, including working in a fish factory, a whisky distillery, a late night kebab shop and on a cattle station.
5. I have had a life-long struggle with depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome. Unlike many creative people, my experience with depression does not drive me as an artist, but I have long accepted my personality traits and have learned to love them. It is part of what makes me me after all and believe me, I wasted too many years of my life not liking who I was. These days, I’m pretty damn happy with who I am!
6. My favourite sandwich combination is vegemite and honey. I know, I know….. but it’s so good! Trust me!
7. I love all animals but have been somewhat obsessed with elephants ever since I was tiny. I’m a big supporter of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya and it’s my mission to do more and more to help animal welfare organisations as my business and capacity grows.
8. One of my greatest goals in life is to visit every country in the world. So far I have visited 22, so around 171 to go!
9. I’m an introvert and a geek who would much rather spend Saturday night in my polka dot pyjamas watching reruns of Supernatural than go out and party.
Thanks for reading!! xo