J.E. Crum never thought of being an artist she when was a child. She was only interested in listening to Pearl Jam. Even at age sixteen she only decided to join the Air Force her senior year. Although she always doodled and made artistic things throughout her childhood, she never took advanced art classes in high school.
She knew she wanted to go to college, but her family could not afford it yet; what she wanted the most was to get out of her small hometown and “see other things, and figure out a life for [her]self”. Crum says, “I needed to do something that made me happy. that’s when i started spending time with children.” She missed her cousins back in her hometown whom she has spent most of her life with before moving, and once she got back home she got hired to babysit two boys who she thinks “would be in their thirties now, somewhere out in the world.”
Babysitting one day she couldn’t figure out why she was really happy with life. The kids she babysat were always excited to see her and they all loved coloring and drawing with her. And at the “ripe age” of nineteen, everything all came together, and she said, “I should be an art teacher!”
Eventually, she studied at Mississippi University for Women. She says she will never forget advice she had gotten from her old 3D-design professor (later became the Head of the Art Department) that told Crum after a critique that she “needed to forget about teaching art for a while and just be an artist.” She hopes that she could thank him for this wonderful advice. Finally, J.E. Crum has been teaching art to elementary students for sixteen years and is currently teaching in central Pennsylvania.
J.E. Crum currently has a solo exhibition coming up at The Bellefonte Art Museum in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania from April 5th-28th (opening reception on April 7th from 12-4:30pm). She has also sold her self portrait painting, Green Glasses (see thumbnail). She said that art ties everything together. “It relaxes me but oddly gives me energy too. I think everyone needs something in their life for creative expression.” She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life at first, but later found happiness and relief from creating art with her husband and the art community she is involved in called Full Circle that host many activities “such as gatherings with a close-knit group of art lovers.”
It has been wonderful getting to know J.E. Crum throughout the month of March, and we wish the best of luck to her and her art. We also hope you have enjoyed learning about the life of an artist and how creativity can come out of nowhere. If you are in the Pennsylvania area we hope you are able to attend Crum’s upcoming solo exhibit during the month of April. For her website you can visit her here and make sure like and follow her Facebook.