Since I was a very little I have been painting, drawing & creating art. After graduating from SJSU with a Computer Arts degree I went to work in the game industry and then educational software. I spent four years at The Learning Company doing animation and designing Educational Games. In 1999 after the birth of my son I decided to leave the industry and stay home with my son. However, after a few months at home I realized I needed a creative outlet. I spent a year teaching original art lessons at the De Colores Art School in San Mateo.
In 2002 after my daughter was born I wanted to personalize her room with theme based letters but could not find any on the market. I decided to paint her name on 4 x 4 ceramic tiles, convinced my husband to drill hole in them & and hung them with ribbon on her wall. Almost immediately friends & family made requests for their children’s room. Soon after, I started my own business, Jamie’s Painting & Design. My name tiles were soon picked up by a popular bay area children’s boutique, online stores & bedding catalogs. I then added ceramic birth announcements, plates, ornaments, door hangers and plaques. The business was growing quickly, I even created personalized ornaments for Ellen DeGeneres that she featured on one of her shows. By 2007 my business had been written up in the Wall Street Journal, SFGate, Working Mother, Womans World and may other publications. I was even a guest on an episode of the Dr. Phil Show pitting Stay-At-Home Mothers against Working Mothers. As busy as I was & as the business grew I started to teach art in my children’s school district.
In 2008 my company started to feel the pain of the Recession. While I enjoyed creating the artwork, I was less enthusiastic about running a manufacturing business. I started to teach more art classes at my children’s grammar school, and also started to license my artwork to companies like Home Goods.
As the industry continued to evolve, heavyweights like Pottery Barn Kids started inserting themselves into the space pushing the smaller players out. By 2011 the manufacturing side of the business was moved back into my garage. Shortly thereafter our family decided to relocate to El Dorado Hills. I continued to run my manufacturing business and was fortunate enough to continue teaching art at my daughter’s new elementary school.
With my business at a crossroads I needed to take a hard look at what I truly enjoy and I have come to the realization that I truly enjoy the creativity of art, and teaching the overall experience to kids, much more than running a manufacturing business. In the summer of 2013 I taught my original lesson plans at a local Art Camp. After the success & popularity of my lessons I decided to start teaching my own classes in my own studio. We had a studio built in our home so that I could teach private classes. Since then I have been teaching a number of different size classes in my studio to children from around the area. Sadly in November we experienced a devastating loss of all my art work that was on a server that crashed, at the same time our printing equipment & our dye sublimation press broke down. We shut down manufacturing in December of 2013. As sad as I was to end that part of my life, it was a relief to focus all of my attention on teaching art.
In addition to teaching small classes & private lessons in my home studio, I teach a large number of enrichment classes for Visions of Education, Horizons & Inspire Charter Schools. On any give week I would travel to Rescue or all the way to Fairfield to teach art classes This year Tara Wister & I will also be teaching enrichment classes for Inspire Charter Schools in El Dorado Hills. Tara will also be adding classes to teach in the studio this year.
So, that brings us to Fall of 2016 and we are super excited to be adding many new classes, projects & continue to teach different techniques to our art students. After traveling extensively through Ireland, Scotland & England this summer I look forward to including many new lessons based on the amazing artists, castles & architecture I saw. See you all in September!
~ Jamie Risdon Lentzner