How many of us can say we follow our dream into a career that we truly enjoy? Have you ever thought to yourself, "Am I in a career that I enjoy or am I in a job that pays the bills?"
For St. Ansgar resident, Risa Jenner, the decision to make a "life change" came just last year while living in California.
Jenner's mother is Janeal Dunn of St. Ansgar.
Jenner said she had always been drawn to things artistic, but lacked direction and never had enough confidence in herself to really pursue that dream.
Instead, she pushed her dreams aside and spent her days working jobs that she had no interest in but used them to pay the bills.
However, when she turned 30 last year, she had what she calls a "pre-mature mid-life crisis."
"I realized how short life really is, and that my life was not going in the direction I wanted it," said Jenner. "I didn't like the person I was becoming, and I knew that something needed to change before I completely lost myself."
It was then she decided to take a huge risk and quit her job in the hopes of finding what makes her happy.
"After I quit my job, I discovered my true drawing potential, which was all thanks to a drawing book I picked up on a whim," she said. "I had always enjoyed drawing, but had no idea what I was capable of until I really put myself to the test."
Jenner finds herself working with both drawing and photography.
"I love photos that just have an impact and bring out some kind of emotion," she said. "So far, I have done three commissioned drawings and
am definitely hoping to do more of them."
The three drawings have all been photos of people.
"I do hope to turn one or both of these hobbies into a career someday," said Jenner. "But at this point, I'm not really certain what directions to go, so I'm just going to continue to work at it and see where it takes me.”
She added that she thinks it's impossible to have no regrets in life, but "I just want to try to be the best version of me that I can be, and I have learned so much about myself through this process."
Jenner to hold first public art and photo exhibit at museum
The Mitchell County Historical Museum will be hosting a special drawing and photography exhibit by local artist Risa Jenner beginning Sunday, May 5 with an opening reception planned from 1-5 p.m.
Jenner recently started her career as an amateur artist and photographer, this past December, after some life changing events occurred in her life.
"This is my first art show," said Jenner. "And to be given an opportunity like this feels a bit surreal, and to be honest, completely undeserved given my amateur status."
Jenner's wide-ranging drawing exhibit was inspired directly from photographs.
"The photos I choose to draw are ones that speak to me on some level," said Jenner. "And because I'm so new at this, I try to choose photos that will give me something that I haven't drawn before so I can continue to build my skills and find what I'm best at."
"I know it's just a small exhibit here in Iowa, but some artists will go their entire lives without having their own show, so I am definitely grateful for the opportunity and feel very lucky to have been given the chance to have my work seen by more people.