Jenna Rose Simon is a 29-year-old actor who has also been drawing for most of her life. Last year she began working on series of drawings to help raise awareness for victims of abuse and neglect, as well as to help teens suffering from depression and other mental illnesses to not feel so alone. This ultimately led to her book “Unbroken: An Art Book” which was just released and currently available at Amazon.
Talk Nerdy With Us spoke with Jenna last spring after one of her drawings went viral and she found herself suddenly in the spotlight. You can read our first interview with Jenna here if you are interested in more information about this talented artist and the message she is committed to communicating.
Jenna, your artwork skyrocketed into the spotlight after one of your images depicting the effects of verbal abuse on a person, went viral. What did you do to cope with what had to be an inundation of media requests?
It was hard at first. I hadn’t been prepared to share my art with the world, so it happened prematurely. I learned quickly, however, that you kind of have to spin it into a positive, which is why I started purposefully sharing my art after that. I get the most requests to draw random people, and I try to do contests for that so that I’m able to give back to those requests!
Your book “Unbroken: An Art Book” was just released; did the idea for the book get planted due to the interest in this one image or was it something you’d already been thinking about/planning for?
The book actually came about a year and a half ago when my parents went to an art show in California and showed someone my work. They said that I had a whole book practically written in the images, and gave us the idea. I started working on brainstorming what I could do with a book that would both help me therapeutically and help a potential reader. It went through many revisions, but ultimately ended up being an art book containing art activities and journaling space complimentary to my own work and story.
That is a great creation story! So then let me ask, who is your target audience for the book? What percentage of the book is illustrations and what is written context? Do you attempt to define your images or is that left up to the reader?
With this book, I “defined” my images by chapter titles. I used specific drawings that I felt related to the chapter I had written. Sometimes I define the ones on Instagram and sometimes I do not. Within the book, the percentage of artwork to writing is probably 40/60 respectively. There are 20 drawings, one per chapter, and the writing takes between 2-3 pages for each chapter. Then there are drawing activities as well. The context of the written text is more about my therapeutic journey, and how the drawings in each chapter relate to those concepts and my attempt to master them (though I haven’t perfectly mastered anything. I’m always aiming for better). I’m targeting all genders between the ages of 12 and 30 primarily, as that is the age range my book speaks more to, however I believe parents of struggling kids may gain insight from my story as well.
Was helping others facing similar situations your motivation for writing this book? What else are you hoping to communicate to your readers?
I wrote this book first and foremost for myself… to share the parts of my story I felt ready to share with the world after being quiet for so long. An added benefit to this process came when it occurred to me that I could create something that would help others, and I truly hope that it does! That may sound selfish, but in the end, this is a big, deep and difficult journey to share, and I had to do it at a time and in a way that I felt ready to. If it helps lots of other people, that is added benefit! I’m trying to convey mostly the fact that silence doesn’t heal. I’m not sure I ever thought it did, actually, but it is important to show both myself and others that speaking out about your experiences is what actually frees you. More than that, I want others to see that they are not alone, as I so often felt that I was.
Will you be visiting bookstores in support of the book? If so, where will you be appearing? I’m certain some of our readers would be more than happy to come to support you and the book.
Unfortunately, at this time, I do not have any bookstore visits scheduled.
What’s next for you?
At this time, my next move is to go back to working on myself. I’ve worked hard on this project and am so excited that it is out into the world, but I continue to have work to do on myself. When the next opportunity comes to me, I will greet it with open arms. For now, it’s back to healing 🙂
Jenna, thank you so much for spending time with us today. The way you’ve chosen to create your book is as interesting as your art itself. Anyone interested in picking up a copy of Jenna’s book can find it on Amazon.
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