Arts & Culture News

Jennifer Moreman, a Tyler Artist Who Made Her Name Painting Longhorns, Has Gone Global

What do you get if you mix rainbows and sprinkles, unicorns and starbursts, with a little country-and-western Texas realism? Well, Jennifer Moreman is the woman to ask.

Now living in Tyler, Moreman grew up in Dallas, where she graduated from Trinity Christian Academy before taking a BFA from Baylor. She began painting at four, but it wasn't until a humid summer day when her acrylic began running that her signature style began to develop. Now painting with watered down acrylic, Moreman's work is distinguishable at first glance.

Moreman paints a variety of animals and natural subjects, but she tried her first longhorn at her UT graduate husband's request, and she was soon commissioned with so many similar requests that cows, bulls and mustangs have become a bit of a trademark style. She estimates that she's now painted hundreds. But while one might think that ranch-chic would appeal exclusively to Houston oil barons or Dallas sports team owners, Moreman's work has gone global.

Since her first solo show at Rising Gallery in the spring of 2010, Moreman has shown primarily around the Tyler area. But opening an Etsy shop made the new mother's work infinitely more accessible to new fans around the world. An HGTV star noticed one of Moreman's newest passions -- abstract chevron/ikat paintings -- and repinned it on Pinterest. Within a month of her finishing the first one, a creative experiment she'd used to cleanse her palate from longhorn overload, they had gone viral and were selling almost as quickly as she could paint them. In turn, they also drew attention to Moreman's animal paintings and other work. She jokes, "Isn't the interweb a wonderful thing! Thanks Al Gore!"

As a result, Moreman's work was picked up by the online seller One Kings Lane, and last week she was named one of the company's "emerging artists." And while she expects she'll do more gallery shows when her daughter is a few years older -- she has tentative plans to take part in a collaborative show in Dallas in June 2013 -- right now she is enjoying maneuvering like an international artist while maintaining flexibility of working from home.

And that home life is utterly symbiotic to Moreman's process. Not only did her husband inspire her to tackle that first longhorn -- she says she initially used several photos as a jumping-off place, but now paints new cows mostly from memory and intuition -- she counts the yin and yang of their relationship as a grounding mechanism that inspires and informs her style.

"My husband is an attorney from Fort Worth. Very traditional and straightforward. I am an artist who grew up in Dallas who is honestly pretty off-the-wall, a bit dramatic and an unorganized mess 99% of the time," she says. "I think my art mixes our two personalities. He is the solid outline that holds everything in place along with the traditional subject matter, and I am the crazy color drippy mess that actually does make a little sense when you put it all together. I feel like its the mix of structure and freedom that gives my work universal appeal."

"Universal appeal" seems accurate. As of last week, she added New Zealand to the ever-burgeoning list of international homes for her work.

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Brentney Hamilton