While we celebrate authenticity everyday here at The RealReal, this International Women’s Day we’re championing the inspiring stories of female originals who, with defiance and courage, are changing the game in their respective fields. Whether through activism, food, or art, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Kia Damon, and Jenna Gribbon bring an inimitable perspective to their work and style.
Jenna Gribbon, Artist
For years now, the figurative painter, Jenna Gribbon has trained her eye on the female form, but unlike her male predecessors, she’s ensured her muses are more than accents to a beautiful picture. Whether wrestling one another in a field of grass or picnicking in the nude, her subjects exhibit an agency we don’t often see within women in Western art. Instead, Gribbon flips the tradition of European painting and the Dutch Golden Age on its head and provokes a soft ferocity in her work that is at once bold, daring, and comical. It’s perhaps why her contemporary Sofia Coppola sought her out to commission original pieces for the director’s film, Marie Antoinette. But despite her success, the Tennessee-born, New York-based has confronted plenty of sexism within the art world to get a leg up in the field.
Here, she reveals to TRR how she’s taken on art bros (and won) and the women in her life that remain constant sources of inspiration.
Her Greatest Works of Art
“Well, my biggest professional accomplishment, my biggest personal accomplishment and my biggest artistic accomplishment are three different things. My biggest professional accomplishment has been getting to a point where I make a living painting what I want to paint. I still can’t believe it sometimes. Personally, I’m most proud of how empathetic and emotionally evolved my nine-year-old son is. Artistically, I have a handful of paintings that exceed my own very tough expectations of myself–ones that I marvel at a little.”
Taking Down Art Bros, One Painting at a Time
“The majority of gallery exhibitions in New York are still largely of male artists. Things are thankfully changing, but a woman artist still has to assert her validity ten times more than her male counterpart. Sometimes I verbally defend myself, but I find making good paintings is the best defense.”
Playing The Long Game
“My biggest obstacle has been having to wait out years of making work when it seemed like no one was interested. I had to tune out internal and external pressures to quit.”
“For me, going to work is going to the studio. But I’m not a messy painter so I often step out in my studio clothes and I love a good jumpsuit. They’re practical and elegant.”
The Things That Keep Her Up At Night:
“Feeling like I’m not doing enough. Sometimes that means thinking about climate change or social justice or as a mother or an artist. I think most women know the fear of not doing enough.”
Her Current Obsessions
“The movie Portrait of a Lady on Fire, revisiting books and movies of my childhood, contemporary figurative painting, Agnes Varda always, my girlfriend’s new record, Silver Tongue.”
A Message To A Younger Jenna:
“Sometimes I think getting older is a process of learning why the cliches are true. I’d like to say something like “be true to yourself,” but that’s only meaningful once you’ve figured it out for yourself.”