It’s no surprise that in addition to the usual suspects–a pair of scissors, tape dispensers, pens, art supplies—designer and art director Jenna Park’s workspace includes packages of caramel marshmallows. And shortbread cookies. And chocolate butterscotch bars. As one half of Whimsy & Spice, the growing Brooklyn confectionery she founded with her husband Mark Sopchak in 2008, Jenna’s everyday work responsibilities go well beyond that of your average designer. On top of her freelance work, Jenna helps Mark keep the company (a Brooklyn Flea favorite) running smoothly while also keeping up with their two young daughters–a life she blogs about regularly on Sweet Fine Day. A multi-tasker to the end, Jenna agreed to answer a few questions for our new music series during Whimsy & Spice’s breakneck Valentine’s Day rush.
What do you listen to while you work? I have a habit of listening to the same music and songs over and over when I work. I’m that person who can put a group of songs on repeat and play it for weeks until I get sick of it or have moved on. Lately, I’ve been on a big nostalgic 80s and 90s kick.
How do you listen? Usually headphones when I really want to concentrate and drown out noise (which usually means my constantly singing kids) and sometimes just the speakers from the laptop if I want “background music”. Occasionally I plug my iPhone into the dock or listen to music on the stereo, but usually it’s just headphones. Since I work from home, I find that the physical act of putting on headphones (big, padded Sony headphones, not earbuds) creates an illusion of a mental “workspace” that helps me focus.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I use Pandora quite a bit. I like that it can introduce music and artists that are new to me since I’m woefully lacking in that department these days.
Does music influence your work? I was a music performance and composition major after I left art school, and even though I work as a designer these days, those years spent studying music were the most satisfying creativity-wise. I have done some sound design for theater and interactive websites and really enjoy putting music together with images, video, and live theater.
Where do you find music recommendations? You’ve read that I can listen to the same songs over and over, right? I’m clearly in need of help. But generally if I read about a band on a blog or something from someone’s twitter feed, I’ll definitely check it out.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? This is one hard question! And the only way I can answer this is to go straight to one of my favorite artists, PJ Harvey. She has a way on reinventing herself on almost every album; not only in the way her music and voice sounds, but also in the way she looks. I respect that she can go from almost a punk-rock sound to music that is more pop-ish and accessible—and then a very stripped down, almost austere quality with just a piano or guitar. And with every album she changes her look and stage show to interpret the music that she creates. Bjork does this, too. And I am not comparing my work to them in any way at all (please, in my dreams!), but I feel a certain affinity to these women because this type of creativity and reinvention is what I aspire to and, to some degree, have pursued.
READ ON FOR JENNA’S PLAYLIST
Walkabout, Atlas Sound
Human Nature, Michael Jackson
He War, Cat Power
A Place Called Home, PJ Harvey
How Soon Is Now, The Smiths
Rainbo Conversation, Stereolab
In Time, Zero Seven
Everything In Its Right Place, Radiohead
Lover, You Should Have Come Over, Jeff Buckley
Cupid’s Trick, Elliott Smith
Shallow Days, Blackalicious
Coffee & TV, Blur
Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order
Tape Song, The Kills
Images: Jenna Park