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It’s never been enough for Jen Becker to just create beautiful art.

She’s done that most of her life, starting in childhood, an Army brat with a mother who painted a new Christmas mural every year on the street facing picture window of their apartment in a German village outside of Frankfurt.

“By the time I was walking, I was getting into my mother’s paints,” Jen says. “I’d paint on the walls. I truly created my first mural when I was about 3!”

Her family moved to the United States when Jen was in fifth grade, and it didn’t take long for her to become the art teacher’s pet. She gifted her with her first box of soft pastels, and she fell in love.

“Soft pastel became my primary medium,” she says. “One of my favorite things about it is its longevity. As long as your colors are stable and good quality pigments, they’ll stay the same vibrancy for 1,000 years. They will not change. You also get a depth and a luminosity with pastels. Certain colors in pastel paintings will glow at certain times of the day.”

Jen realized she had a knack for technique and is able to pick up almost any medium in minutes — charcoal, graphite, watercolors, colored pencils among them. For a time, she even dabbled in functional art, transforming thrift store tables by adding mosaic.

Twice she studied art in college, two semesters each at Penn State and the University of Wisconsin. Neither offered the fulfillment she craved. Studying the style of other artists was unappealing.

“I wanted my own voice to develop,” she says.

So, Jen did what made sense. She returned to Wisconsin to earn an undergraduate degree — in physics and mathematics. What sounds like a complete contrast to everything she had done was rational in Jen’s mind.

“I had started developing a deep interest in the nature of reality in the universe,” she says. “That became the seed for the trajectory of my artwork. Everybody has a natural curiosity about stuff, and I’m owned by that curiosity.”

Invisible forces fascinate Jen as do surrealism, spiritual practices and philosophy. She studies the work of Helma af Klint, the Swede recognized as the first abstract artist. “To me, there’s truth in the universe,” Jen says. “Physics and philosophy are two different perspectives looking at the same truth and having two different interpretations of it. It starts bleeding into my artwork when I’m investigating these things.”

It took years before Jen became the full-time artist she is today. Her degree prepared her well to work in digital design for a video game company in Texas. While building 3D environments for video games paid well, it didn’t nurture the artist inside.

“My feeling is that as an artist, I have the potential to impact the world, to affect positive change,” Jen says. “I had to spend time trying to figure out exactly how I was going to do that. What am I here to do?”

One of her discoveries relates to sharing signposts from her own spiritual transformation — a passing of the torch to other artists.

As a lifelong environmentalist, she has come to embrace botanical artwork that highlights native species and their relevance in the ecosystem. She includes information about the species with every sale.

Additionally, Jen forages and produces her own pigments, making watercolors and pigments from raw materials she collects. She creates primarily late at night in a rustic farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania that she shares with her four cats.

Find Jen’s booth at Rose Squared Art Shows.