Artist and Author Jennifer Lanzilotti is constantly dreaming up new ways to express her creativity. Detroit Performs caught up with her to discuss:
Detroit Performs: What creations have you been working on this summer?
Jennifer Lanzilotti: I seem to always be working on something. So many things inspire me, and I always want to try new things. A relative gave me an antique table. I had the idea of painting it whimsical and shabby chic. I painted a giant flower on the top, and stripes on the sides. I was quite thrilled that I turned this old beat up folding card table into a piece of art I absolutely adore.
Next, a friend of mine gave me a bag full of 400 wine bottle caps. He said he’d been collecting them through the years and was never going to use them. That inspired me to try bottle cap art. I made an anchor out of them. However, soon after making it, I got the idea to do a mosaic table top, so I’m currently working on that. Once I paint this little end table, and arrange the caps in the design I want, I will then pour epoxy over it to seal it. This will be my first try at this form of art.
DP: Have you been writing or thinking of writing any more novels and if so what are they?
JL: I don’t think I mentioned this in our interview, but my mind is constantly playing like a movie with my book alive and vivid in my mind. I think of my characters, the plot, what happens and dialog constantly. It’s actually how I fall asleep at night. I’m writing my novel in my mind, and soon I will put it on paper to get it out of my head. I have actually already started it. Once I start writing, it’s hard to stop, but life interrupts me, and I don’t have the time I’d like to have. I write because I want to read my own book, and because I can’t keep these ideas from entering my thoughts. I have currently started looking for a literary agent. It’s a lot of research just to find the right agent to query. And of course the letter must be perfect. This process is very time consuming and a bit daunting. I’d love to find a literary agent who would be willing to read the three novels I’ve already written.
DP: Where have you shown your work this summer?
JL: I was invited to hang three of my leaves at Liberty Brewing Co. in downtown Plymouth. It’s so nice that they are trying to support local artists by allowing them to hang their work in their banquet room. My leaves have joined a few other artists’ work for the months of June and July, in the “Connection 3 Group Art Show.”
DP: What does a leaf artist do in the summer when leaves aren’t falling from the trees?
JL: I love this question. A few years ago I didn’t collect enough leaves in the fall to get me through an entire summer of leaf painting. I was so sad that I was out of leaves, and had no way to get more. I had to literally wait till fall. That’s when I began painting on bottles. I collect various size liquor bottles and paint continuous wrap-around scenes on them. A friend of mine gave me the idea to drill a hole in the bottle and make incense burners out of them. So now I have a little collection of painted bottles. I learned from my mistake and this past fall I made sure to collect hundreds of leaves! I now have enough leaves to get me through the summer. Though I am finding that out of all the many leaves I’ve collected, many are still too flawed for my liking. I have become picky with my leaf canvas, and only want the perfectly shaped, flawless leaf. So out of the hundreds I’ve collected only a handful is satisfying me. But I use what I have, and can’t wait for fall when I can collect more! In the meantime, I get the urge to paint a beautiful bottle every now and then, and that makes it so I don’t go through all my leaves too quickly. And of course there’s NEVER enough time in a day or week to do all the things I love to do.
DP: How can people get in touch with you?
JL: I really hope people will get in touch with me! I’d love to have my leaves in more homes, knowing someone may love nature as much as I do. I have a website, fallenleaf.us, which allows people to email me or leave their thoughts on my work. I am also on Instagram, where I’m always posting my latest projects and things I’m passionate about. You can find me on Instagram under Jensfallenleaf. I also have a Facebook page: Jen L. Art and I’m on Twitter, though I don’t use Twitter as often.
You can watch Jennifer Lanzilotti’s full segment here: https://youtu.be/IpUtUk5F7Jo
You can get more information on her segment here: https://www.detroitperforms.org/ep-901