Artist Jennifer Balkan

An example of fine art by Jennifer Balkan

Photo of Jennifer Balkan


Although I had drawn all my life, I didn’t embrace my passion to paint until 2001. I grew up in one of the countless suburbs of New Jersey in between the Holland Tunnel and the Jersey Shore which spawned my affection and curiosity for all things carnivalesque. I studied behavioral neuroscience at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. After graduation, I worked my way out west to Seattle after a brief stay in Boulder where I found people not afraid to speak their minds, while I worked in a rat lab. In Seattle, I worked serving the mentally ill and developmentally disabled population. From Seattle, I was pulled to Austin to study Latin American sociology at the University of Texas. I attained my Ph.D. in 2001 after conducting anthropological fieldwork on human migration in Chiapas, Mexico in 1999. Although my experience in Mexico was rich, I longed for artistic creativity. In 2002, I quit my full-time job doing social scientific research and threw myself into oil painting and now paint fervently. I have taken art classes at Laguna Gloria Art School, the Austin Fine Arts School and at the Art Students League in Denver. I continue to find inspiration in many innovative painters who include friends both near and far and my husband Jeff whose extraordinary grace on the guitar has taught me that strength lies in subtlety. My greatest creation is my son Karlo who was born in 2009. I feel incredibly lucky and constantly humbled as I get to see the world through his eyes. I now realize that my time studying the human psyche both psychologically and sociologically must have left its imprint on my brain permanently…because I cannot seem to stray too far from it in my painting.

2005    May, Art Student League of Denver, Colorado2003    Austin Fine Arts [...]

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