My name is Sam Jennings. I was born in San Francisco, but I grew up in Chicago where I lived for many years. I started painting in high school and followed that passion to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It's at art school that I discovered the internet just as it was becoming widely accessible, and I began using the computer as a design tool. This lead to several years in the first "internet boom" and then over a decade in the music business as a web and print designer.
I worked for the musician Prince starting with the Love4OneAnother.com project at the end of 1998. This led to several other web projects with him as we explored how an independent artist could use the internet to reach their audience directly and establish a community without a record label. This led to the launch of the NPG Music Club in 2001. We provided new music, radio shows, and concert tickets directly to fans at a time when very few artists were taking full advantage of the internet, and certainly not independently without any strings to the industry. Over 5 years we experimented with several formats and configurations, and we were rewarded with not only a strong and vibrant member community, but also a Webby Award in 2006 for Best Celebrity Site and Lifetime Achievement Webby for Prince.
During this time I also began to do all the creative work for Prince, including photo retouching, CD packages, tourbooks, merchandise, and all the promo and signage for his Las Vegas residency. Prince is always working, always planning his next project. It was demanding and exhilarating to be a part of that, even if we often worked on ideas just to see what would happen, without a specific end result in mind. There were times when we redid the same CD project 6 times over a year, and other times where we did something in a week and out it went to the world. It was a highly creative environment and a rare glimpse in to the working process of an exceptional artist.
In 2008 I took an opportunity to join Pearl Jam's organization in Seattle to work on updating pearljam.com and establishing a stronger social media presence, leading up the release of their Backspacer CD in 2009. I also got to work on two issues of their Deep fan magazine, doing all the layout and some fun creative designs, especially in the Ten Anniversary issue. Pearl Jam has a fantastic and dedicated staff in Seattle, and it's a great model for how a lot of band's should have their infrastructure.
I switched gears a bit and joined MIcrosoft in 2011 as a UX Designer focused on front-end prototyping in the Office 365 group. While this experience differs greatly from my years of experience in the entertainment industry, it has been a valuable learning experience that has expanded my range of skills, as well as familiarized me to the world of large corporate infrastructure. Microsoft is a unique and dynamic company to work for, and I have grown professionally in a very positive way as a result.
I've been painting for over 20 years and I've always been fascinated with concepts of identity. I visualize this through paintings of faces, often with bright, bold colors and markings. These characters represent a sort of virtual identity that might connect with societal or cultural facial patterns that link their identity to a larger movement. While not any specific culture, I like the idea of boldly displaying one's connection to either their community or their own personal definition of who they are. I paint in oils and I often wonder what place oil paintings have in our 21st century digital world.
This site is a taste of my work. I'm also a proud parent, sing karaoke, play Scrabble, never been to China, and I'm a movie trivia expert. Please send me a message, I'd love to hear from you.