Artist Warm Squirrel
Jennifer Ramirez is better known by the name 'Warm Squirrel', creating adorable portraits and art. Creative Collections spoke to Jenn about her work and how nature plays a big part with inspiration.
Growing up in South America
Jenn was born and spent her childhood in the Colombian town Medellin, better known as the town of Mafia King Pablo Escobar. “It was a dangerous neighbourhood so we couldn’t go out much,” Jenn says of her time spent there.
Living in this environment was more a blessing than a curse for Jenn. In order for her to keep busy, she quickly found herself attending ballet lessons, taking part in competitive gymnastics, playing the violin, learning to sing as well as painting and sculpture classes.
“Fantasy and creation became my escapism. I stayed out of trouble and used my artistic skills to help in creating school projects,” explains Jenn. Her artistic skills even stretched to being a
love letter writer and fake tattooist at school.
Upon leaving school, Jenn decided to pursue a career in communications, but it was short lived. Living in Chile at the time and feeling burned out, she decided that art was her true passion so began her studies of a Masters Degree in Arts. She met her partner John there and moved to Finland to be with him, where she applied for art school.
Finland ignites her passion
Finland greatly allowed Jenn to hone in on her love of creativity and skills as an artist. “Due to immigration, I couldn’t work, study or leave for a year. I started drawing and painting with acrylics on a big canvas in my house,“ says Jenn about her passion being ignited once again.
Together, Jenn and John created 'The Sun and The Turtle', a community for Amigurumi (Japanese knit and crotchet) lovers. “I created toys, wrote patterns and filmed videos about it,” says Jenn.
The subject also became the thesis for her Masters Degree, which resulted in a book. Her knitted creations often pop up in her photos on social media, as the artform has become more of a hobby now. See some of her work below.
Warm Squirrel is born
Finding her passion for paintingonce again, Jenn created her brand Warm Squirrel.
The name came about when Jenn realised that she shared a lot of characteristics with the cute critter. “I am very protective of my loved ones; I am small, jumpy restless and I hide thing and not remember where they are; I have brown hair, big eyes and a love for cashews”.
The ‘warm’ aspect came about from Jenn’s love of crocheting things like beanies and scarves to keep warm.
Through the encouragement of her friend Sasha, she put some of her illustrations on
Instagram (@warmsquirrel). “I have received so much love from people who also love nature, fantasy and plants. It makes me so happy that I can create portraits that inspire people to be one with nature”.
She has over 2000 followers on Instagram, many of whom she has created portraits for. There’s a few of her adorable artworks below.
How nature inspires her art and style
Jenn has a distinct art style that uses watercolour paints and cartoon-like portraits. This style came about through her love of shamanistic practices (indigenous religion), shape shifting folklore and Greek mythology.
“I have been in the Amazon three times,” says Jenn, adding that the power and forgiveness of mother nature fascinates and inspires her work. “Once you’re there, you realise how wonderful it is to be part of the diverse planet we live in”.
This is why all of Jenn’s artwork features nature; mostly plants which stems back to her early days as an artist.Once Jenn started art school, she began to explore the deeper relationships between plants, animals and humans.
“When my grandfather passed away, I had a conscious change. He loved plants and nature,” says
Jenn. His death lead to some unusual occurrences with nature that made Jenn ponder the wonders of nature.
Within a week of her grandfather’s passing, his birds which were being cared for also passed away; and his plants within the month. “I started asking questions about our role as part of this intimate, deep connection with all beings”. This is part of the reason why Jenn describes her art as kind, heart-warming and magical. The other reason is because of what it does for her.
Drawing is a way of meditating, focusing and daydreaming. Her portraits feature a person surrounded by their favourite plant, a protection spell Jenn likes to think of it as. “I imagine situations, other worlds and create a solitary story about what I’m drawing”. Jenn pours all of her energy, love and intention into every painting. “I am in the moment,” she concludes.
Jenn will continue exploring the world and all that nature has to bring. 2019 is just beginning for Warm Squirrel, but promises to keep Jenn busy. If you would like a self-portrait by Jenn or to see more of what she has to offer, visit her website