The Natural Artist
By Darien Davies
Photos by Coviello Photo
There’s a good chance that when people are checking out their environment, they notice a tree, a leaf, a dog (if they’re lucky!), or a puddle. But, for Jenny Kiker, she notices the living pattern in each piece of the environment.
“Making art has been a part of my life consistently since I was 2,” said Kiker, the talented mind behind Living Pattern. “I was a natural at it from an early age and I am fortunate enough to have parents and grandparents that saw my talent even then. They supplied me with any art supply I needed and encouraged me all the way through art college. I am forever grateful for their support.”
Originally from North Carolina, she was always surrounded by her family’s gardens. Her great-grandfather and grandfather passed the love for plants to her and her mother, so for her to immerse herself in botanical art and the patterns of nature is truly a family trait.
“I’ll never forget the feeling I’d get standing in the country surrounded by rows and rows of lilies,” Kiker said. “It was their meditation to maintain their gardens and it became mine as well. I have a sincere appreciation for plants and Mother Nature.”
She followed her paintbrush and attended the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in illustration and a minor in painting. After a job transfer at Anthropologie brought her to West Palm Beach, she worked for a designer before diving back into art full time. She describes her art as modern botanical watercolor artwork and is drawn to patterns in nature, including veins in leaves, or just the pattern of ferns growing in a jungle. She also finds that a lot of patterns found in fashion are based off of ancient patterns in nature, so it makes picture-perfect sense that her art is making its way to apparel.
“I am excited to be returning to my roots of watercolor leaves and pattern design,” said Kiker, who specializes in repeat pattern. “My latest project is designing a line of fabric for quilting, [including] around 12 prints that will feature two all-over ferns and tropicals with an assortment of smaller pattern prints.”
As if that and running her studio space out of the Arts Warehouse wasn’t enough to keep this new wife busy, she has also been working with the magazine Taproot for cover art for six issues this year, California brand Inside Weather, Delivery Dudes for a specially-designed Tropical Camo Monstera pattern for the DD shirts, and selling her originals and prints online. But, she wouldn’t be doing anything else.
“Big ideas, big moves. This is all I’m good at. This is it. Art or bust,” Kiker said. “[My art] has evolved in many ways. I have run my art business in several different directions over the last 15 years. They were all learning experiences and what led me to the Living Pattern path I am on now.”
She hopes that path will lead her to having her art in the MOMA or the Whitney (“haha fingers crossed”), and would love to see her commercial path take off and see a line of her goods available through a partner company.
Just like nature is constantly growing, moving and reaching, so too will Kiker. She brings the exterior in, blending
the lines of nature and natural with the hopes of setting a mood and delivering a feeling.