Saturday, 9 November 2013

In Defence Of Our Dreams: JENNO

‘In Defence Of Our Dreams’ is a project where I interview various people about their pursuit of a creative life. Pursing creativity and wanting to do something different or special with your life can be very challenging and disheartening at times, so I’ve always loved to read how other people are coping with it and how they find the drive to carry on when things are difficult. If you’d like to know more or you’d like to take part, look HERE.


My first victim volunteer is the lovely @JennoVonMars, who is an artist, photographer and writer. I sat down with Jenno (read: sent her an email) earlier this week, where we discussed dreams, bands, and Jared Leto (I honestly don't know how all roads keep leading to Mars, but somehow, they do :3).


Hi Jenno! Thanks so much for taking part in In Defence Of Our Dreams. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.
You're welcome! Happy to take part in it!
I'm from Australia and I'm a Fantasy Artist. I'm also a Wildlife Photographer. I love Heavy Metal. I follow a Straight Edge/Vegetarian lifestyle and I'm against animal cruelty.

You’re an artist and a writer. Can you tell us about your art?
My personal fantasy art is called Phronicle Demons. I've always been a huge fan of fantasy creatures so I wanted to do something along the lines of fantasy or medieval art. Phronicle Demons was created through my depression; they are my guardians and they protect me from going back to being depressed. (I have such a wild imagination) The main message behind Phronicle Demons is to keep going with life no matter how depressed or sad you feel. That’s why most of my Phronicle Demons are black; depression makes you feel like everything is black and bleak.


Two examples of Jenno’s Phronicle Demons.

I also do a lot of portraits. I mainly like to draw females in heavy metal.

Two of Jenno’s portraits.

Wow, that’s pretty cool. I love the concept behind your Phronicle Demons. Very creative. Now I’ve seen some of your work and you are damn talented. When did you start drawing? 
Thank you! I started drawing at a very early age. I can't remember how old I was, but I do remember drawing every day. I don't know how I became so attached to drawing, but it's been a hobby of mine my whole life. Fantasy artwork has been with me throughout my entire life; I remember always drawing monsters and weird creatures. I was never the normal kid who drew stick figures of their family.

Tell us more about the fantasy side of your artwork. Do you write about these fantasy creatures you draw?
Yes! I recently started writing a book about it! When I was a kid I wrote a lot of stories. It was a hobby of mine. I’ve recently gotten back into writing as I wanted to write something regarding my Phronicle Demons. I found it hard to find a story, but after a while I noticed that I was having re-occurring dreams about my Phronicle Demons. I took that as a sign and started writing down my dreams. I have a very good imagination so I hope that when I finish it, people will like it. I really want it to take people to a different world when they read it. I’d love to let them get inside the mind of Jenno Von Mars!

That’s a great goal! I love books that take me to another place, especially when they take me to worlds I’ve never imagined. Who or what inspires you?
Fantasy Artists such as Anne Stokes inspire me. She's my favourite fantasy artist of all time. Victoria Frances, Michael Calandra, Emerson Ward & Tom Wood are a few other artists I like. I’m also inspired by the outfits of heavy metal singers like Alissa White-Gluz, Kobra Paige, Jill Janis and Elena Vladi. They all look like they could belong to a fantasy world and I like that about people. People who dress differently and look like they came from another world are awesome. But out of all the people in the world, Jared Leto inspires me the most because he encourages everyone to live their dreams. I have learnt more from that man than I could have imagined, and even though I'm a very doubtful person, Jared is always there to remind me to keep going.

Little things like dragon ornaments, gothic jewellery, clothes, or even music also inspire me. The song 'Where is there Edge' by Within Temptation inspires me a lot because whenever I listen to it, I imagine a story in my head. I’ll be including it in my book! There's a lot of songs that make me imagine a story, and sometimes certain parts of songs take me to another dimension. It’s really cool, and it gives me a lot of material to work with.

What is your dream? If you could do anything and you knew you would not fail, what would you do?
I have a lot of dreams. When I was younger, my dreams were either being a singer or opening my own tattoo shop. Now that I'm older my dreams are still basically the same, but I'm focusing on becoming a famous fantasy artist. My biggest dream is to have my very own art expo at the city gallery. Another big dream is to have a Phronicle Demons movie based on the book I write.

I also want to do something with my wildlife photography, maybe sell photos so I can donate the money I get to charities for animals. It’s been on my mind a lot and I know it is something I will eventually do.

If I could do something knowing I would not fail? That's a hard question!

Those are some big dreams! Good luck!! What is the hardest part about pursuing a creative life?
The hardest part of pursuing a creative life is getting rejected or getting your hopes up for nothing. I've been told so many times from people that they would buy my artwork, but they just never did. I’ve even been told I could hold my own Art Expo at small local galleries, but that never seems to happen. It’s hard to find people who take a personal interest in what you create. Most people don't go for fantasy art, so my artwork gets pushed aside a lot. It's not that people don't like it; it's just not what they're looking for or not what they would buy.

Yes, disappointment is always tough. But it also gives you an opportunity to learn and grow! What do you like the most about pursuing a creative life?
What I like most about pursuing a creative life is that I'm always learning. I go to art galleries when I can, and even though most of the art isn't to my taste, I still learn a lot. It's also good meeting other artists whether it's online or in real life. Being creative also gives you opportunities as well. I attend an art studio every Tuesday where I go to draw and meet other artists. Most of the artists who attend have a disability, so it's fascinating seeing all types of people coming together to create art. Attending the art studio every week has also allowed me to display my artwork in small expos every year. One year my town were painting the power line poles around the town centre and I was invited to paint one, so now one of my paintings is on display every day, which is awesome!

Very cool! You must feel so proud every time you see your artwork on the pole. Now for the obligatory music questions. Who are your favourite bands?
My number one favourite band is Thirty Seconds To Mars, which is hard to believe sometimes considering I'm such a metal head. My other favourite bands are Arch Enemy, Mortad, Dimmu Borgir and Devildriver. I love a lot of bands, but they are my favourites!

If your life had a soundtrack, what would your theme song be?
I’m not sure about my theme song, but Blood Pigs by OTEP would be on my soundtrack for sure.

If you could share one piece of advice to people hoping to live their dreams, what would it be?
Jared Leto says 'blow me' to the haters all the time, so my advice is to do the same thing. Work hard on your dreams and say 'blow me' to anyone who tries to stop you. I'm not really good at giving advice but there is something I say to any artist who feels like they are failing in the art world:

'Don't ever think that you're a bad artist because how you draw or paint is YOUR technique. No one else has that.'

That's just a quote of mine. It kind of just stuck with me after I said it the first time years ago!

I love it, and it’s very true. Everybody is different! Well, thank you so much for taking part, Jenno!

Thank you for having me!

If you’d like to know more about Jenno or you are interested in her artwork, you can find her: 

On Twitter: @JennoVonMARS
On Instagram : jennovonmars

And if you’re interested in her Phronicle Demons artwork, you can find her:



This interview has been edited, but the overall answers have not been changed or manipulated.