Amy Jenkins of AJSGallery

Let yourself do what YOU want, not what everyone is telling you to do.”

Amy found herself in a place where she had to change her situation, in order to better her day to day mental health. Sharing these vulnerabilities is very important. She has opened the door for discussion for many women and shedding light on it makes it easier for others to thrive/heal. Her deliberate choice to better her quality of life and chase her artistic abilities is something to be admired.

I met Amy some years back when we worked at Dillards together, doing the retail hustle. Her makeup was always lookin’ fly, while she worked at MAC, and her #coolgirlvibes were off the chain. Fast forward a few years, we became Instagram friends. I watched as she announced that she was going to be a full time artist. Watching her own transformation has been so inspiring, finding who she is through art and experimentation. She is focusing this year on digital artwork and design. Your portraits (friends, family, couples, selfies, & pets) logos, and still life photos can be redesigned with her unique style.

Towards the end of last year, Amy and her husband welcomed their first baby into the world! *Insert heart eyes here* With her busy business schedule and balancing being a new mom, we were able to squeeze in a photoshoot and corresponded our interview through email. I loved getting to know her personal journey into becoming an artist.

So, what is your craft?

— Creating beautiful artwork for people both original and custom.

When did you realize this was something you wanted to do?

— In late 2015 I was working a job at a call center making really great money butI absolutely hated the work. The company itself was great, but the job was grueling. I felt like a lab rat being attached to a headset and every time it beeped I was automatically connected with a customer.

I had to initiate with “Hello, thank you for calling “insert company name here” yada yada”.

The customers would call for technical support with their phones. I would hear degrading comments from men who thought just because I had a female voice that I had no idea what I was talking about. They would request a manager if they did not like my answer. Even though we had company policies, rules, and documents that EVERYONE went off of so the information was solid. It didn’t matter. I began taking everything personally because when I do something I put my heart into it. I was hurled into a weight of depression and anxiety. I had no control over my life. Adults in my life tried to tell me what to do and guide me in a direction they thought I should go down.

I decided to take a leave of absence from work and I began taking medication for depression & anxiety. Which I already felt weird about because it was not as normalized as it even is today. The first medication I got on was Zoloft and it was terrible for me. I felt so numb and life felt pointless. I stayed in bed most days and just wanted to die. This was also my first encounter with self-mutulization. Which I do not even comprehend why my brain told me that was the best option. I had enough clarity to reach out and change my medication. I started Lexapro and a few weeks later things improved. I knew I could never return to that job if I wanted to get better. So I quit! I didn’t know what I wanted to do but my husband and I decided I should take a break until I could focus on the future.

I had always been an creative being. Growing up I loved to craft, paint, sew, etc. In High School I painted sets for theater, I was in the photography club, and I was even making terrible crafts with my best friend and trying to sell them on Etsy. The artsy entrepreneur had always been dwelling inside of me. 2016 started as I began drawing and painting again. I would share my work on Instagram and I had began building up a lot of requests for pieces I had already completed as well as custom work.

I was kind of blown away by the response I was getting. It made me feel valued. Like what I wanted to do was actually working. I kept going with it and started making connections. The Springfield creative community is actually pretty mind blowing. I started making new friends and saw my work progress. The confidence it gave me made me feel incredible. I knew that this was my niche.

Where do you want to be with your craft in 5 years?

— I look forward to having a team of creative women working alongside me building a brand. I’d like to take on other illustrators, bloggers, social media assistants, etc. Doing it all by yourself isn’t as fun and I enjoy collaborating with talented people.

What keeps you inspired?

—The drive. The inner creator begging to be unleashed. It never allows me to stop making, dreaming, living art. I also find that deep reflection can help spark creativity.

Do you have a “get motivated” routine if you’re in a slump creatively?

—I like to watch Youtube videos of other creators in various forms. I like to see how others stay motivated with their businesses/ventures. I also have been starting to do more introspection and create daily goals to keep my week planned and organized. I feel more motivated when I actually know what the hell it is I’m supposed to be tackling that day.

Who do you have a Girl Crush on?

—Abbi Jacobson is one! She’s such a down to earth woman who is an activist, comedian, writer, and illustrator. She cares about real shit while staying true to herself and having a good time with it all. I look up to women who aren’t ashamed to be who they are. Who are unapologetic for the space they take up in the world. Definitely someone to crush on, I’d say.

If you could meet and hang out with anyone (alive or deceased) who would it be?

—You know, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of this before. I think I’d have to choose Steven Patrick Morrissey or aka “Morrissey” from The Smiths. He is thankfully still kicking and I actually got to see him in concert a year ago. Not only would I ask forhim to personally serenade me, but I’d also ask him about his political work. He is very “in your face” when it comes to the messages he puts across in his music. Morrissey is a Vegan and Animal Rights Activist. I’ve heard he can be a bit cold but he’s still dreamy to me.

How do you self care?

—I love to take hot baths, put on a youtube video, and a mask. Seriously I have to do this once a week at least. I also like to get my nails done once a month. It helps me feel clean and well groomed.

Who would you be if you were a movie or TV character?

—Ok, so definitely hate to give a double answer but it’s kind of different. I feel like I truly relate with Abbi from Broad City. I’m just an artist who likes to chill, hang out with my bests, and try to enjoy life. In the show Abbi is seen working a lot of “shit” jobs and before I decided taking a chance on art, I had a lot of those.

If you could (now) give your 2014 self some advice, what would it be?

—I would tell myself that I need to have confidence. To trust that feeling guiding you to happiness. Let yourself do what YOU want, not what everyone is telling you to do. This life will only be yours if you make it yours.

Custom Work by AJSGallery

A Girl’s Struggle
Created while dealing with repressed memories and emotions caused by sexual trauma
(One of my personal favorites of Amy’s work)
Design Inspired by Animal Crossings
Custom “Outfit of the Day” Portrait
Custom Pet Portraits
Collaboration piece for Beautox_art and Portrait of Lady Gaga
Vision Board & Values
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