FDU art instructor’s painting graces the cover of The New Yorker
The cover of the November 13 issue of The New Yorker features a painting by Jenny Kroik, an adjunct professor of art in the School of Art and Media Studies in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s University College. The painting, “At the Strand,” features a woman flipping through a book at the iconic Strand Book Store in New York City.
Interview by Dan Landau
FDU: How did your artwork come to appear on the cover of The New Yorker?
Jenny Kroik: About five years ago, I started making “faux New Yorker covers” for fun. I really liked this exercise, and I've done it a lot since. Then one day I thought “Why not send stuff to the real magazine?” And that also became a good exercise. I would submit paintings and sketches each month. I’d say I've been sending stuff for about a year, but I've been thinking about it for a while now.
FDU: What was it about that moment at the bookstore that made you think, ‘I have to paint this’?
JK: I see a lot of cool things in the city, and often think something will make a great illustration. Sometimes it's hard to tell if that's true until I’ve painted it, and sometimes I’m not sure if it works until I've looked at it some time later. In this case, I think it was something about the gesture and the colors, and the arrangement of all the details that seemed like it would work well. I knew I wanted to make an illustration of The Strand, and I had several options but went with this one!
FDU: How long have you been an artist?
JK: I’ve always been drawing. I started drawing classes when I was 14. I had a very classical Russian teacher and lessons included a lot of still lifes and traditional techniques. I did my undergraduate in Boston at what is now Lesley University in illustration and animation. Later, I got an MFA in art at the University of Oregon. I have been teaching art for about 9 years.
FDU: How would you describe your artistic style?
JK: My art is very narrative and focuses on everyday life. Somewhat whimsical, my paintings are like a journal — ‘this is what I see everyday and I want you to see it too.’ I live across the river from FDU in Manhattan and a lot of my art is about the city and the people in it
FDU: How do you approach teaching art?
JK: I teach the same way I approach my own art — that is with a lot of quick sketches and gestural drawing to capture the feeling of something. We have a model to draw in class each week and I teach my students how to become looser with their style and add narrative components to their compositions.