Jen Ament is a local artist we love to work with. We asked her for her thoughts on public art and its role in creating engaged communities:

Which project(s) did you work on with us? Which one was your favorite?
I worked on the Rainier and Dearborn Hands of the Masses, a feminine take on empowerment and movements of all kinds, whether they be music shows or movements of resistance.

Tell us about yourself, where did you grow up / how did you find yourself in Seattle?
When I graduated high school I left Denver, CO and moved up to Northern California before settling in Seattle. I came to Seattle because I was/am into music and art and the music scene in Northern California wasn’t very exciting at the time so I moved to Seattle to see what was emerging up here.Turns out it was quite an amazing scene.

What in your personal life has influenced you to choose your career path?
Failing at many different things in my life made me realize that there is no perfect or right path to anything and so the fact that I failed so much made me think that it’s ok to fail so I might as well spend my time doing something I love and not having an attachment to any outcome of it.

How did you find out about Urban Artworks?
I have been aware of Urban Artworks for years, I have noticed more and more incredible murals showing up all over town with the UA tag on it, as well as having artist friends who have partnered with the organization. I have seen Urban Artworks becoming this incredible force in Seattle’s public art.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I am one of those people that works best with deadlines and so sometimes I put things off to the very last minute and am pleasantly surprised.

Where do you get your inspiration from as an artist?
Pop culture, music, the street, street kids and nature.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
That’s a hard one, but I think the subject.

In your opinion, what are some ways that public art helps create a sense of community?
When I was a kid I loved having art around me, it inspired me and made me happy and feel connected to my community. Public art can create a sense of connectedness because the same experience is shared by so many different people.

What are your thoughts about public art as a tool to reach young people?
I think it’s important to provide everyone with art because some people may not have that kind of exposure in their own homes or be able to afford art of their own.

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