PIXEL PERFECT

by STACEY MARCUS

Chanel No. 1, Paper collage on panel, 32″ x 24″

IF JENNIFER LASHBROOK WERE an emoji, she would either be a high-definition rainbow or a unicorn chasing that bright rain-bow. Brimming with energy, ideas and color, Lashbrook has fused her obsession with color and master organizational skills to create a cool, modern impressionistic art form: pixel art made with collaged recycled paint chips, samples or swatches. The result is a blurred image that when viewed through a cellphone or at a distance becomes clear. Think of the experience like playing with a kaleido-scope but without the tube. Just open your imagination and have a little faith and a lot of fun.

We caught up with Lashbrook as she was about to embark on a month-long road trip to Sausalito, California, Denver and Chicago to share her work at festivals. Ten seconds into the conversation and you can feel the color wheel turning. “I have always loved color!” she exclaims. Her art career began at age 10, when her parents enrolled her in art class. It continued in college at the University of North Texas. A class in hybrid form inspired Lashbrook to use paint swatches to create her own brand of art. That led her to create pixelated pictures, which have been featured in Forbes’ “Contemporary Artists’ List,” on Fox’s Empire, HGTV’s House Hunters International and Netflix’s Beats. Did we mention she has over a yearlong waiting list for commissioned projects?

Conch Shell, Paper collage on panel, 24″ x 24″

Lashbrook’s process is meticulously methodical and mysteriously magical. She cuts paint chips, swatches and samples in a collage form and creates pixilated images of everything from cityscapes, family portraits, musicians and landmarks to iconic works of art. The process kicks off by gathering the paint squares—whether it is a trip to the hardware store to collect paint swatches or a visit with a local designer or architect to repurpose paint chips. Lashbrook says she adores curating and cataloging the swatches. When she is performing her magic in her studio, she refers to herself as “a purple squirrel,” as she bounces from one task to the next, trying to keep track of it all.

Next, she selects the subject matter and keys into the nuances of the differences in values and hues. Here the artist becomes a pixel puzzle perfectionist. “I am all over the place with the subject matter,” she says. She gravitates to nostalgic images, saying they are very ingrained in people’s minds via Gestalt psychology and that recalling images helps viewers focus.

Hummingbird, Paper collage on panel, 36″ x 36″

“I feel so lucky,” says Lashbrook, who also finds delight in taking her masterpieces on the road to galleries and festivals around the country. “I have made so many friends in the art community throughout the years. I meet the coolest people along the way.” She cites the photographer who shot a Rolling Stone cover, the lighting director for Sting and multiple television and movie producers. “There are so many stories and so much happiness,” she says of her time touring the country.

Son of Man II, Paper collage on panel, 48″ x 33″

One moment that has left an indelible imprint in her mind is when she was stopped to take a photo for Instagram and three Blue Angels flew overhead. “It was a reminder from above to stop and see the beauty in the world,” she says. “I saw so many colors that made me so happy I wanted to cry.”

Nude: Self-Portrait, Paper collage on panel, 72″ x 20″

Lashbrook’s work can be seen at the Coconut Grove Art Festival in Miami; the 30th Annual Downtown Arts Festivals in Stuart, Florida; the Cornell Museum Show in Delray Beach, Florida; the Anna Sweet Art Gallery on Duval Street in Key West, Florida; as well as at the Ginger Fox Gallery in Dallas and JCO’S Art Haus in Los Gatos, California. Private consultations are available for custom commissions by appointment only.

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Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel  writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston magazine, Boston Common Magazine, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.com, RD.com and many others.  A lover of big words and little white  dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found  in life’s simple moments.