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Featured Shop: Joël Penkman

Jul 1, 2015

by Joël Penkman

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Joël Penkman, and I’m a New Zealand-British artist. I paint semi-photorealistic, contemporary still lifes and a whole lot of food. I live in a village outside of Liverpool, England, where I share a home studio with my husband James and our cat, Molly.

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I’ve always been an artist. Growing up, I thought I would need to commercialize my work in order to earn a living, so I studied graphic design at Canterbury University in New Zealand. When I finished school, I moved to the UK and worked as a graphic designer for six years. During that time, I entered one of my paintings into a local art show and was offered an exhibition at a local gallery. I took a few months off work to get some paintings together, and after the show, I put my work online and sent it to some blogs. Thanks to the Internet, people from all over the world began inquiring about originals and prints. Now I’m a painter; I feel very lucky to be able to do this.

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I paint mostly in egg tempera, which is a very old method that fell out of favor during the 15th century when oil paint was invented. I wanted to try it ever since I saw the paintings by New Zealander Grahame Sydney and American Andrew Wyeth, so I hunted around for books on the technique and taught myself from them. Egg tempera has a beautiful satin finish with a luminous quality, but the process requires a lot of work: I grind all my paints from powdered pigments and store them as wet pastes until I’m ready to use them, then I take a little of the colored pigment paste and mix it with egg yolk and deionized water. You can’t blend egg tempera like you can with acrylic or oil paint; you must wait for each area to dry before you paint over it, otherwise the brush lifts the previous layers of paint from the board. Egg tempera also requires a rigid and absorbent surface, so I use traditional gesso, which I also prepare by hand.

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Although I don’t exclusively paint food, I like the familiarity of food as a subject. Food is a fun, playful subject that makes people smile. It’s something everyone can relate to: it can hold memories, tell stories, explore national and local identity – and make us hungry! I understand that an original painting is an investment that not everyone can make, so I also produce giclée prints of my paintings. To get the best possible image, I scan my original paintings and use a heavy matte paper for the prints, which gives a very similar finish to the painted originals.

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When I began selling online, I wanted to make it easy for customers all over the world to buy my work. I chose to sell on Etsy because it allowed me to set up an online shop without substantial investment or regular monthly payments. Now I get a lot of shop traffic and sales directly from Etsy, so it has worked out much better than I’d hoped. Next up, I’ve just invested in an etching press. I’m exciting to start using it, and I hope to bring the results to my Etsy shop soon.

Follow Joël Penkman on Facebook and Twitter.

All photographs by Joël Penkman and James Quail.

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The Twist. Limited edition giclée print.
The Twist. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Biscuits. Limited edition giclée print.
Biscuits. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$40.72 USD
Classic Watches. Giclée print
Classic Watches. Giclée print
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Parma Violets. Limited edition giclée print.
Parma Violets. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
The Taste of America giclée print
The Taste of America giclée print
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Nobbly Bobblys. Limited edition giclée print.
Nobbly Bobblys. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Rocket lolly ices. Limited edition giclée print.
Rocket lolly ices. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Red and Brown. Giclée print.
Red and Brown. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Doughnut dozen. Limited edition giclée print.
Doughnut dozen. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Edmund's Turkish delight. Limited edition giclée print.
Edmund's Turkish delight. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Lyle's Golden Syrup. Limited edition giclée print.
Lyle's Golden Syrup. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Summer Fruit Jelly. Limited edition giclée print.
Summer Fruit Jelly. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
British food collection. One giclée print.
British food collection. One giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Ice Creams 3. Limited edition giclée print.
Ice Creams 3. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Chocolates 2. Giclée print.
Chocolates 2. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Lyle's Black Treacle. Limited edition giclée print.
Lyle's Black Treacle. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Goodfellas Thin Garlic. Giclée print.
Goodfellas Thin Garlic. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Scotch egg giclée print
Scotch egg giclée print
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
The Medicalistaion of Society. Limited edition giclée print.
The Medicalistaion of Society. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Holly Golightly's breakfast. Limited edition giclée print.
Holly Golightly's breakfast. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Ice Creams 1. Limited edition giclée print.
Ice Creams 1. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Five Dollar Shake. Limited edition giclée print.
Five Dollar Shake. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Milk-Plus. Limited edition giclée print.
Milk-Plus. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Tea. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Tea. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Common Crackers. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Common Crackers. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Hot Fudge Sauce. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Hot Fudge Sauce. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Dried Corn. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Dried Corn. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Cracklings (Fried Pork Rinds). Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Cracklings (Fried Pork Rinds). Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Persimmon. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Persimmon. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Pickled Ghost Peppers. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Pickled Ghost Peppers. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Pretzels. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Pretzels. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Salt Water Taffy. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Salt Water Taffy. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
V1913, Foley China. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
V1913, Foley China. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Spiedie Marinade. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Spiedie Marinade. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Cowpeas. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Cowpeas. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Coronation June 2nd 1953, Royal Harvey. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
Coronation June 2nd 1953, Royal Harvey. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Rice. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Rice. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Bread and Butter Pickles. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Bread and Butter Pickles. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Birch Beer. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Birch Beer. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Flour. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Flour. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Hominy. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
Hominy. Original egg tempera illustration from 'The Taste of America' book.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Teacup. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
Teacup. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Jet Planes Formation. Giclée print.
Jet Planes Formation. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Ice Creams 2. Limited edition giclée print.
Ice Creams 2. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Chocolates 1. Giclée print.
Chocolates 1. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Chocolates. Set of 3 limited edition giclée prints
Chocolates. Set of 3 limited edition giclée prints
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Shoe polish. Limited edition giclée print.
Shoe polish. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Inks. Limited edition giclée print.
Inks. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD
Fish Fingers. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
Fish Fingers. Original egg tempera painting, framed.
JoelPenkman
$339.31 USD
Beehive matches. Giclée print.
Beehive matches. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Chocolates 3. Giclée print.
Chocolates 3. Giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$35.29 USD
Fruit Spectrum. Limited edition giclée print.
Fruit Spectrum. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Banned Books. Limited edition giclée print.
Banned Books. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$84.15 USD
Tropical Fabs. Limited edition giclée print.
Tropical Fabs. Limited edition giclée print.
JoelPenkman
$57.00 USD

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