Earth Journal of Cosmic Art Cowgirl Jenny Farhat
Jenny Farhat’s work is prominently displayed at Ironsmith Coffee Roasters in Encinitas, an ocean-side suburb that runs along the Pacific Coast Highway in San Diego. The framed art pieces line the walls on five by six columns and rows. They add dimension to a destination cafe grounded in the ambiance of coffee beans and souls studying. Their explanations, as you will see, are otherworldly. They are ethereal when you consider the items everyday reality but the perception and interpretation of a seer as Ms. Farhat instructs otherwise.
We meet across from Philz Coffee (while her work hangs at Ironsmith Coffee), which is right across from Vapor Studio, a design studio where graphic designers make cool things look cooler and builds lifestyle brands. Philz Coffee, where we meet is somewhat different - airy, light and constantly running with day energy. There are everyday people alongside the creatives, chatter with the doodling and smiling with the finishing. The mood is definitely lighter and I find that Jenny is more open to interpretations about her work than her artwork would suggest. Her work is specific. Perhaps, her work is more of a meditation than even art.
Jenny Farhat’s Palestinian background leads her to reference aboriginal knowledge that is intertwined with her work. She started out as a painter living by her trade in Florida and she enjoys outdoor activities as hiking, camping and equestrian exercises. It is interesting because, much of her work would have a Native American connotation with subjects as horses and dessert cliffs specific to California and America. The commonality with her background is an aboriginal knowledge of being and she is tuned in. She acknowledges there is a tug and pull between the world of ancestors and spirits and the more earthly one which we all inhabit day to day. The more she would pull away from that world which includes star gazing, dream interpretation and letting go of structures, the stronger that influence has become. So she doesn’t resist - she just follows the guidance and puts it into her work.
Below, some of the art Jedi’s “journaling” which has resulted in Stardust, Kawayo and Start and End:
You have said there is a lot of ancestral knowledge intertwined with what you do.
Yes, absolutely and I feel like the further I try to move away from it, the more it actually called me and the more it took on a different form. So I said I am not going to paint anymore (Jenny Farhat was a professional painter) I am going to turn it into what other people think I should be. So, I am going to be more structured, more interacting with other people and not just in my own head and not interpreting my own dreams. I always like going looking at the stars and my friends know me for that, like Jenny’s book of made up lands. It was a running joke and I wanted to move away from that so I moved out here (from Florida to San Diego).
How did that work out for you? You seem to be finding more success now than you did back then. There seems to be more of a blend between artist Jenny and reality. As a spiritual energy you seem to have negotiated a different outcome for yourself.
It didn’t work out. I’m more artistic than I was back then. It just took on a different form. I’m taking it equally as seriously but I am pushing it out more. It was my own thing and I wasn’t trying to harness it.
That’s a good way to look at it. I also started not looking at it like I’m not this crazy person and I have stuff talking to me. I had all of this stuff that was pouring out of me. Like I started sitting with plant medicines. I’m not crazy – it’s my intuition: It’s Mama Iya; It’s like nature. which has totally changed me from being somebody who was living in an imaginary world.
Where are you going to take the Jenny Farhat vision? Where do you see yourself taking it?
It’s in my hands but it’s not because if I don’t have anymore feelings or ideas, that’s where it stops. I know it will because it’s just what I do. It’s slows my days down. But I haven’t thought about where I will take it.
What is your background? Your work seems to reference a lot of indigenous cultures like the Native American Indians. They seem to hold a special space in your work. On the one hand you are creating the outcome of your work which is the artwork but there is also the meditation.
I don’t think part of me is Indian. My mom is an American US blend of white. My dad is a Palestinian immigrant. I feel like the Native Americans and the Palestinians are very similar in terms of confiscation of their land, being colonized and being misinterpreted insofar as the way their religion is seen. Whatever is sacred to them is misunderstood by a lot of people and it becomes very scary.
So I also started importing olive oil and started a company called Harvest Peace. With Harvest Peace I am importing Palestinian olive oil and I am giving back to help replant the groves there that are being uprooted from the occupation. When I see what is happening at Standing Rock and the fact that this is their land and we are doing what we want with it and we are not listening to the people, it is not the same thing but it is very much the same thing as what is happening in the Middle East and in Palestine.
So I think I am Palestinian and I am very connected to that. But me being here, there is a relationship with a land I am living on currently.
That’s really cool.
It’s very “using the other side of my brain”. So I think that is also what has happened: while my olive oil is happening, my “artistic drawing on pictures” and getting outside is really important to me because I need that balance.
Start and End
This piece was created while contemplating a specific relationship. We're going on a 10 year friendship that's constantly evolving. Our roles always change yet when one thing ends, a new one begins. In many ways we are the same person and in many ways totally opposite. Both brutally honest. Our relationship is fluid; always starting again and ending simultaneously. Our relationship is the triangle and we are the dots which are never quite side by side, but are part of the same shape.
Jenny Farhat is a videographer, photographer, painter and digital cowgirl. The force is strong with this Jedi.