Artist Statement

As an artist, I create to surface and express emotions without words by turning things over with my mind’s hands without looking at it with my mind’s eye.

I am a sewist, doodler, hand letterer, sketchnoter, zentangler, photographer, illustrator, graphic designer, sculptor, painter, pasteller, collager, and installation artist.

My 3rd grade art class introduced me to art through the viscous joy of painting in oil. But I was very concerned about being able to support myself so I majored in business in college.

Later in life, I felt the strong call of art and chose to go back to school to earn my MFA in Digital Media at San Jose State University where I was awarded a Catherine Urban Scholarship for Art and Design.

My work has been exhibited internationally in Argentina, France and in the U.S. in New York, Washington D. C., and the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can see my current portfolios here and find out what I’m doing now by following me on Instagram @JHartnettHender.


Much of my work tends to be about resolving conflicts and making peace. For example, between making a living and being an artist, between the desire for structure and the need for freedom.

Outside of that, there are a few broad subjects that I return to over 20 years across different media and with different themes:

  • Faces. Which is funny because I am an introvert.
  • Closeups. I lost much of my eyesight by the time I was 8 years old. My closeup photos reflect how I see without my contacts.
  • Natural beauty: I love flowers, trails, botanicals, but really, mostly flowers.


My influences cross disciplines and time.

  • Photography – Teachers Dan Burkholder, Brian Taylor, and Joel Slayton. Famous artists Josef Sudek, Frederick Evans, Karl Blossfeld
  • Drawing – Lynda Barry, Mike Rhode, Ed Emberely, Eva Lotta Lam, Kris Hargis, and teachers Lisa Congdon and Kate Bingaman-Burt
  • Portraits – Alice Neel, Lucien Freud, Roualt and teacher Jane Davenport

Value Add

How am I different? I am not so sure I am. I can tell you though that:

  • I am delighted by the world and attempt to convey some of that.
  • I am intrigued and delighted by the discovery and expression of what makes each person unique.
  • I cross the lines between disciplines in the spirit of exploring what works and what’s fun.
  • I work out conflicting thoughts and emotions through drawing, painting, photographing etc.