Person Behind The Place: Jenny Duntz
December 21, 2021 - by Sandy Vo
Person Behind The Place:
Artist | Pacific Northwest Laboratory
Growing up, Jenny Duntz watched her dad use art as a way to express himself, so it wasn’t a big surprise when she eventually followed in his footsteps. She studied art in high school and part of college, hoping to pursue a degree in art but as she continued into her young adulthood life, Duntz's plans change. Faced with a difficult decision, she made a choice to put her dream of becoming a full time artist on the back burner. Trying to fill the void and seeking the creativity she craved, Duntz became an editorial stylist for 13 years, working on numerous production doing hair , makeup and wardrobe.
In 2014, Duntz moved to Washington and became a hairdresser, a career she was never happy with. There, she met Eva Vernitska, founder of Pacific Northwest Laboratory. Vernitska sat in her chair and for the first time in a while, Duntz was able to talk about her love of art. Their friendship grew into a partnership and they began working together at PNW Art Laboratory where Duntz pursued painting again. Venitska gave her the space to focus on her passion again, creating art that brought her back to life leading Duntz to build her portfolio and featuring her current body of work, TV Heads.
Today, you can find Duntz doing what she loves at Pacific Northwest Laboratory alongside other artists who continue to empower each other. Hear more about how her artwork has changed over the years, her latest project at PNW Art Laboratory and where you can find Duntz in the Heart of Bellevue.
What does PNW Art Laboratory offer to the Downtown community?
PNW Art Laboratory is a safe space with zero expectations. We offer a spot where people can be social, express themselves and rediscover parts of who they are. Nobody expects you to be Picasso or expect you to know anything about art, we just want people to have an open mind when they walk through the doors.
What are the latest projects at PNW Art Laboratory?
We recently came out with our art boxes which give people a fun, creative experience in the comfort of their home. We picked and curated all the products and it comes with a free inspiration video is available to show people how to make something with the supplies in each kit. We have different boxes to choose from depending on what medium they prefer and they're made to encourage discovery and play. The boxes are very experience-focused, while we do have instructions in the boxes, at the end of the day, it’s up to the artist to create something they enjoy looking at. This art box also makes a great gift during the holiday season.
How have you seen yourself grow as an artist?
My self-confidence is the biggest growth factor I’ve had. I suffer from self-sabotage and doubt myself more than I should; now people are buying my artwork and that is one of the greatest confidence builders. We all want to be seen, right? So when somebody is interested in what I do and likes the message behind my art, I feel acknowledged.
How has your style of art changed over time?
It’s evolving. I’ve always been attached to pop art or conceptual art where a message is hidden behind it. My art has become more abstract and it’s probably from being around other artists. We inspire and grab ideas from each other which eventually I incorporate into my work. I can see myself doing more projects and that pressure of wanting to better myself is making me take steps forward and continue to grow, creating bolder and bigger artwork.
What is your favorite part about working in Downtown Bellevue?
There's always something about being in the heart of a city because you're going to meet so many different people. People and their stories tend to be a source of inspiration for me. My artwork is emotionally invoked and derives from personal experiences or other people’s stories. I love meeting new people and Downtown Bellevue is the perfect place for that.
Do you have a favorite place to dine out?
When I’m grabbing coffee, I like to go to Cafe Cesura or Bellden Cafe. Bellden’s avocado toast is amazing. For dinner, I tend to frequent Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi, especially for their cocktails. I love Araya's Place too, their atmosphere is relaxing and feels like home. For dessert, Aqua S is the cutest soft serve place. They have unique flavors like jackfruit and sea salt!
What are your favorite places to shop?
I’m a 41-year-old woman who’s starting ballet. I'm nervous about walking into a ballet store and for them to think I'm crazy for doing this but On Pointe Dancewear in Bellevue is so incredible. They helped me find properly fitted shoes, hooked me up with essential items, and they took the time to get me the right things.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
I want to be at a point in my artistic career where I can be a platform to help grow and support other artists become who they need to be by following their dreams. PNW Art Laboratory is the exact place to start this journey. I spent so much of my time denying myself and what I wanted to do...I hope to help others see they don't have to wait to become what they want to be and do what they love.
Follow Pacific Northwest Art Laboratory to see up-to-date information on class offerings and fun inspiring art pieces.
Person Behind the Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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Pacific Northwest Art Laboratory
123 112th Avenue NE