By PT Russell / January 1, 2024

Be Good Like a Tree – by Jenn Stack


What a joy it was to host my first Bahamian guest on the Journaling With PT Podcast .

Jenn Stack is a tenacious self-taught artist, whose hallmark is to capture cultural nostalgia through colourful island scenery.

She is also the proud founder of the Eleuthera Art Gallery.

Read The full transcript below.

PT: Welcome to the podcast Jenn.

JENN: Good morning. Thank you.

PT:  It is so lovely to have you  here, and it was it’s an honour to just  have  

a conversation with you. 

How are you doing today? 

JENN: I’m good thank you. And it’s an honour to be here  chatting with you. Thank you. 

PT: Thank you very much,  and how is the lovely weather where you are? 

JENN:Yeah, in Eleuthera, Gregory Town, the weather today is lovely.

We got a breeze, we had a bit of a cold front so  it’s not  so hot, and the sun is shining so I  would say it’s pretty good. 

PT: That’s wonderful! And  I’m going to ask you something about what’s in season  now. I know there’s lots of pineapples in Eleuthera. 

JENN: Yeah. No, it’s not pineapple season that’s done.  Yeah, pineapple season is usually from May, June, July; sometimes you can get them in August. 

So  but I think they’re trying to do it where they can have them  all year round but that hasn’t  happened yet. So, oh now we got avocados, pears,  and mango seasons on its way out. We always  got papaya, bananas. 

PT: Good Stuff.

Any guineps? 

JENN: Oh  guineps. No. No, no guineps. No guineps, no Tamarind.

I  wonder did I miss Guinep season?

 Anyway no I don’t  see any around town. 

PT: What about Dilly? 

JENN: Always Dilly.  I don’t think there is a season for Dilly. Dilly does  

its own thing it seems to be there or it’s not  that makes sense.

PT: For those ones who are  listening are creatives or, other artists  people who are interested in art. People who  are art professionals, it doesn’t matter because  there’s so many styles of art. 

There’s  so much to see, art is very vast in  its form and one thing that caught my attention  with your art is just the energy that’s just  bursting out of it. 

Whenever I look at your art it is just so happy, it makes me so happy.

 What is it  that inspires your art?

JENN: Well I think what inspires my art is just, you  know growing up being a Bahamian and just you know living here. I’m inspired by my country and  my Countrymen and all that it is and its culture.  And you know everything about it.  I just  love  and it makes me happy and I’m so glad that you see happiness in my art.

PT: Absolutely!  Every piece! I haven’t seen a piece that has made me melancholic or anything. It’s very nostalgic.  A lot of the pieces, it takes me back to my own  

childhood. Just certain things that you paint, and  I you know it’s just like I said. It’s not just paint on a canvas or whatever material you’re  using.

 It’s the whole aesthetic. It’s the feeling. It’s the spirit of the painting that comes   to life in such a way I find it fascinating.  

JENN: Well. I mean so  most of mine is  from also, you know my memories of growing up.  

I grew up in Nassau  and that was, you know, a happy time. 

That was 300 years ago.  

I mean the Bahamas is a happy place  to me, so I don’t know if I could  find anything too sad to paint.

Do you know what  I mean? I don’t know if that makes any sense. But  

yeah so most of my paintings are also memories  of my childhood so that’s where all of what I paint comes from. Or of like you know like  all the animals and stuff that are around here. you  know that all comes from more, you know fantasy.  I don’t know, whimsy whatever the word is – yeah. 

You know because like that one that I sent you is  that’s more fantasy.

Amen – Jenn Stack

PT: So how would you describe… 

If you were to give a description how  would you describe your art?

JENN: Well the first word,  and I don’t know anything about art because you  know I only just started painting like two and a  half years ago. 

But I’ve looked it up and I would  say my art is naive, obviously because you  know I’m new to it so I would say  Naive.

 Some of  it is whimsical I guess and yeah. I’ve been looking  up art to see what mine is. And I guess it  might be a little folky folk art I don’t know.   yeah I there’s so much art out there that I really  don’t know the  label for you know what needs a  label. 

PT: That’s just why I wanted to ask you to describe  it for yourself. 

JENN: And yeah right. I don’t want to  label it, and I don’t know maybe the word but it  makes me happy.

PT: That’s the important part you have  fun when you’re creating. Yes and obviously  your collectors because you have art all over the world  are enjoying your wonderful art. Isn’t  that beautiful?

JENN: That is so unexpected and lovely.  

PT: Yes. What are some of your first influences when  it comes to Art? Like is there a particular  artist that you enjoyed their art or their work?

JENN:  Oh.  So, I don’t have much exposure to Art  per se, but locally yes.

 Bahamian  Amos Ferguson  one of the greats. let’s see who. I love

 Eddie  Minnis, I mean he lives at Eleuthera,  so FYI, and Brent Malone also a goodie.  

And there so those are the old guys that I can  think of, I can’t think of any women isn’t that sad?  

Do you know any Bahamian women artists?

PT:  You know  what I mean for nowadays, the modern artists, but  I mean like before…

JENN: Yeah right, I meant old  like you know me. But no yeah I mean there are  

lots of  young Bahamian artists which are female. 

PT: I know of crafters and what not. that their names elude  me but I’ve seen their work like you know in the  Bahamas archive.

JENN:  Oh you mean like older ones.  

I know like Netty I mean she was more… I’m okay now  it’s coming to me right Netty Symonette. That’s one.

PT: Yes. But they haven’t been as well you know – it’s  coming from a time when women were suppressed in a way right? And that  might have something to do with it. They were in the home.  

JENN: Yeah, they were too busy at home trying to do  all the other things they had to do. 

PT: That is something too that some of the things that they did, you know our predecessors the women. They did so we have  this opportunity that we can be a little  more free. And I think that in itself  is beautiful indeed.

And yeah so your art is is  all over how does that make you feel that you have  

art all in all corners of the earth?

JENN I mean I  don’t know about all corners, but I mean just  knowing that people  you know want to buy it is  still kind of shocking to me. Which I love and I appreciate no end. And yeah no it it makes me  feel grateful and and shocked. But you know  

it makes me feel very good, and then that way I can continue you know painting. Because I have a small house and we only got you  know so much space, and the walls are already kind of full.

PT: Well you’re making it work and and  the world would not be the same without your art.  

JENN: I don’t know about that, but that’s  nice of you to say. Anything that the world  if it makes it happier that’s always good  the world could use a little more happiness. 

A Giving Tree – Jenn Stack

PT: I think your collectors will agree as well that your art brings them joy and they love having it in their homes or offices, wherever they are. It’s a blessing either way to  create and also to receive, and have the art in  your space.

But I noticed that in a lot of  your your pieces there is this cute little girl,  she’s like a recurring theme.  Is there -is she  someone – who – what’s what’s the inspiration behind  her? What is she all about this cute little girl?

JENN: So you know I’ve never actually thought about   her like that so I’m thinking now that you asked  me that. Maybe she could be me or  there’s   a young girl here that everyone says she looks  like here in Eleuthera right and  they’re  just like oh that looks like Antonia and I’m  like oh okay. So maybe I don’t know that could be  just a a subconscious thing that I maybe need to  

dig into and I have not really, but she cute aye?

PT: My  goodness she is so cute and and she has this her  

own personality. She’s  taken on her own life and just like separate from  whatever you’re doing and whenever I see her it’s  like okay what’s she up to now? 

JENN: Well I mean and and  the most. I mean usually what she’s up to is  usually something that you know you would do back  in the 60s and 70s so there’s a a little bit of  nost Nostalgia thrown in there with her.  

Like my last little, one well I don’t know did  you see the one where she’s sitting on the  bent coconut tree?

PT: I might have.

JENN: Anyway. Whatever.  So because there’s lots of those you know from hurricanes where the coconut tree ends up just  sort of like being a bench but still thriving.  Anyways and so that always reminded me of  that  the that story The Giving Tree was it called The  Giving Tree? 

PT: Oh I don’t know was it I do you know  that I have to I have to double check that.  

JENN: Oh it’s about a tree that  this little boy and  yeah I think it’s called. The Giving Tree.  Anyway so I just thought of that and she’s blowing  bubbles. You don’t see that bubble stuff anymore do  you? Maybe I don’t get out enough.

PT: No, very rarely. 

I’m telling you internet’s taken over everything and it’s not the way it used to be for sure.  It’s, they’ve kind of sidelined the bubble gum  blowing and the Hopscotch and the jump ropes for  their phones Etc. 

JENN: Oh shame. yeah yeah see that’s the other thing is that  yeah maybe. When I’m  dead and gone and you know that people look back and look and say well what’s she doing? Because  they might not even know about blowing bubbles  right?

I mean that liquid bubbles not bubble  gum, hopefully they’ll still know that. But you  know I mean yeah it’s kind of sad in a way that  technology it’s you know it’s a Love Hate Thing.  You love it but then the children don’t go out and  play and do you know so much imagination, and fun  things anymore, I don’t mean to  bring the subject down.

PT: No, no. No, this is it’s true.  

It’s you know it’s it’s unfortunate but there are  others out there there are some who may be  listening. And thinking, like you know what I do  that and they can keep art alive in a way where,  like by creating Nostalgia creating  you know their memories or dreams. whatever it is instead of the outdoors.

JENN: Yeah,  that well the good thing about living in one of  the family islands is you know there’s still a  lot of outdoor play activities

PT: You know what? I  mean oh I said instead of the outdoors, what am  I  thinking? I said and for the outdoors instead of  the phones is what I meant.

 JENN: Yeah I knew what  you meant, that’s okay.

Up High in Banana Tree – Jenn Stack

The Eleuthera Art Gallery

PT: That is, it’s beautiful. And one of the things that I wanted to just slip into would be. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Eleuthera Art Gallery and you founding, the Eleuthera Art Gallery. because you kind of gave me a slingshot with my art sales by having my works there. And not just my works, you have the works of so many other emerging artists, specifically from the out Islands. Tell us a little bit more about that.  

JENN: Well, so well I would  I have to go and do  therapy for my… Anyway I was swimming with my  friend doing my exercises slash therapy, and  I had only just started painting. And she’s oh and  it was during the pandemic so everyone was locked  down we probably shouldn’t have been swimming  but whatever. And we, she said everybody’s got  everything on Instagram, why don’t you do a an  Eleuthera art Gallery on Instagram? And so it was  really my friend  Pam’s idea.

And so, and then  there’s Nassau you know the capital it’s got a  lot of,  you know venues for different Bahamian  artists, but mostly it seems like Nassau. So and  there’s so many family Islands, so I figured well  I’ll call it Eleuthera  since that’s where I  am. But we got other  islands like we got well  we got you (referring to Grand Bahama), we got Exuma we got  Eleuthera, Abaco. 

  I mean I wish, the thing is that most  of the  younger artists they all have other jobs. You know so for it’s not it was during the   pandemic because everybody well couldn’t go  to their jobs. So everyone was very prolific in  their painting or creatives whatever.

But now you  know back to reality.  So it’s a little less but  that’s basicall. I wanted to give a platform for  the family Island artists that don’t, you know  that don’t have what Nassau has. That was that  and then I got to put a couple of mine on there  too.

PT: Well you were from the family islands, and you’re  an artist, so…

JENN: Yeah, so, that all worked out.  And I’m glad and you and I even got a couple  of yours. I’m looking at them now.

Anyway yeah so that that was fun and and like  I said it’s not as  busy as it was back in 2021,  whatever 2020. But that’s okay they they still you know slowly and then a lot of them you know  created their own platforms so it was great. 

It’s  just wonderful and that’s the whole idea, is to you  know get the creatives out there so that people  can see how Wonderful all their work is.

PT: Absolutely!  And speaking of the creatives and the artists  many of them who you showcase, one is one artist is  he’s extremely gifted artist his name is Chauncey. 

I Love his work.

JENN: Oh my yeah. and Chauncey, he’s  from Bannerman town south Eleuthera and  he’s self taught but my word is he good. yeah yeah if anyone wants to check him out that’s  artbychance Instagram @artbychance yeah he’s

PT: He has an  amazing a painting of Amos Ferguson. I mean that was breathtaking.

JENN: And that’s  in a resort in Andros. Which is kind of also  really nice when your artwork and kind of stays at  home too. Yes but is in like a resort because then  lots of you know people from  different  countries get to see it right?

So yeah that’s  at Kamalamie Key in Andros.

Beautiful yeah so  cool he’s actually having a show in January over  in Harbor Island. Yeah. I know  he’s young that’s that’s what young people do.

 PT: And  then there’s a –  I love the the work of Tiffany  lightbourn 

JENN: Yeah Tiffany right she’s another artist there. 

PT: Danielle 

JENN: Yeah Danielle’s right here  in Gregory Town. Yes and there are a few others  

I if you can remind me I know that they that  contribute well yeah  well there there used  to be more.

But well there’s  Monique who does  the quilts which are beautiful. I love those, I love  quilts even though I seldom get to use a quilt  because it’s so hot, but they are pretty.  And  oh now I’ve got – I can’t think Emmanuel from Exuma,  but he does his own thing and they’ve now got the Exuma Art Network. Is that what it is they’ve  got their own page now and they’ve got an actual  building  where they do art classes and and  that’s  Emmanuel and Sunsam.

PT: Yeah I’ve seen  his work, he’s a very distinctive style. It’s very representative of the Topography  of of Exuma, and I haven’t been there yet. But I  could you know get a lot of vibes from his art and  look.

JENN: Yeah. I think it’s very cool it’s very it,  it kind of I mean it’s sort of vanghooy isn’t  it.

PT: To me it is. Lots of swirls going on there. 

JENN: yeah and like it’s almost like a vibration if  you will.

PT: Style I’m not sure. I think he uses acrylic, I’m not 100% sure but it looked like acrylic. I haven’t seen a his piece I don’t think they’re oil but they’re very –

JENN:  Yeah, he does both.  

And  then  he also uses a spray paint yes so yeah he’s very another young very you know good artist yes I 

PT: I love that though a lot of women are becoming  

involved in art and especially Bahamian wome. One that is an artist I can’t remember  her name right now she’s from Abaco she she paints  abstract art I don’t know if you would remember  her name. 

Jenn: Abaco. yeah oh. Ashley Russell possibly that  she uses photography like old photographs and  then kind of does. She just had a show, I don’t  know if that’s her if that’s who you’re talking  about but she’s amazing and then Dee Dee Brown. Do  you follow Dee Brown? She lives right in Spanish  Wells, okay she’s amazing too yeah   yeah there it’s it’s exciting. Exciting times yes  

PT: And so what is next for for Jenn Stack Art?

Will you  name your character?

JENN: I don’t know if I  I’m gonna have a new character, but  right now  right now  I’m painting on  a piece of wood. Oh so yeah I did and it’s  heavy which is hard for me just saying okay . But  that’s okay they wanted it on wood I did  something on wood that was a small piece of wood  and then somebody wanted the same thing which  to me is weird but okay I can try my best to do  

it again but on a bigger piece of wood so that’s  what I’m doing right now did you see the one it  was called Up high in banana tree I’m sure I did  oh well it was just a man and a and a young boy  standing under a banana tree um looking up at the  yellow bird that was singing in the banana tree  up on the top of it.

PT: But you are because you you  find these names that are so quirky. 

JENN: Well that’s  from the song.

PT:  I know but I’m just saying in general  your the titles for your paintings are – 

JENN: That is the most fun doing that, I just love  a good title. Some of them crack me up.

PT: Because you can tell that you’re really involved  in every part of everything that about what  you’re creating  and  yeah so just a full  experience right you’re like kind of really  

immersing whomever that the collector is into  this world that you’ve created. 

JENN: Yeah, I guess you  could say that, fun and strange my favorite title  can I tell you my favorite? title super wait Super  

Bubble Bubble Gum bubble oh right you remember,  Super Bubble it’s a brand of

PT: Bubble gum.  

JENN: That was a little girl blowing a super  bubble bubble gum bubble I just think that to me  that just it just cracks me up.  

PT: Before we  close, what advice what you give for someone who  has never done art before, is thinking about  it?

What would you tell them? 

JENN: Oh. I would just  say you know,just go ahead and put whatever  it is to whatever it is whether like even  it  doesn’t. You don’t have to buy a canvas just you  know peep cardboard that’s what Amos Ferguson  

used to paint on did you know that?

 PT: Yes 

JENN: Yeah, pizza  box cardboard so get yourself a old pizza box and  

put some paint on it, and whatever I’m sure it  will be magical because apparently everybody’s  an artist. Yes I know isn’t that wonderful?

It is  that’s the best news I’ve heard all week, no joke  maybe the last five years I don’t know everybody’s  an artist that’s all I can say. 

PT: And where can the  lovely folks find you?

JENN:  @EleutheraArtGallery 

PT: Wonderful! All right, thank you so much. I really  

appreciate you sharing your time and space with  me, with us today and it was lovely having you.  

JENN: And well I really appreciate you asking me that’s  so cool I thank you very much. that was fun.

PT: There we go. That’s what it’s all about. Art equals fun, there you go 

Contact Jenn Stack:


Instagram – @eleutheraartgallery

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