Enigmatic, photo-realistic details are signature to the paintings of artist Jenna Gribbon. The 31-year-old Gribbon is a native Southerner—born in Knoxville, Tennessee—who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been the subject of several exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, and has also appeared in film, including Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. (You might also recognize Gribbon from her recent appearance in the Cole Haan ads photographed by The Selby). When not hard at work in her studio, Gribbon is inspired by the Old Masters and, of course, her own favorite things, which she shares, here.
Best vintage buy: My super 8 camera for making short films.
My secret to looking timeless: I wear the same favorite pieces of clothing from year to year until they’re worn to bits, so there’s never room for my look to be overtaken by trends. It boils down to this: Beware the complete wardrobe overhaul.
Most powerful photo I’ve ever seen: I have this photo of my grandmother as a young woman hanging in my bedroom. She’s the most positive person I’ve ever known, and the presence of her image is powerfully reassuring.
Best souvenir I’m glad I brought back home: Hand-embroidered tops from Mexico.
Iconic fashion designer I most admire: Paul Poiret.
Favorite vintage fashion trend: Ponchos.
Place I love to visit that’s rich in history: Italy. I spent six months there when I was 22, and I often revisit in my dreams.
Book I have read more than once: Leaves of Grass.
Smell that makes me feel most nostalgic: Old books.
Favorite bedtime story as a kid: “The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings.”
What’s in my purse: Raw almonds so as not to inflict low blood sugar on innocent bystanders, and red lipstick—just in case.
Favorite family recipe: Biscuits and gravy.
Tastiest mom-and-pop shop that’s been feeding me for years: B&H Dairy. I love the borscht and challah with butter.
Childhood sport I still love to play: Making daisy chains in the outfield.
Best advice I’ve ever received: I tend to reflect back on this Philip Guston quote a lot when I’m trying to get in the right mindset to work: “I believe it was John Cage who once told me, ‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio- the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas—all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.’”
Best advice I’ve ever given: The solicited kind.
Unofficial home away from home: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A scent that takes me back: Tea rose because it was my signature scent in high school.
I couldn’t live without: My friends.
Art I’d like to own: I’d love to live with a perfect little Vuillard or Corot.
Photograph: Courtesy of Jenna Gribbon.