Jennifer Miller aka Rev Jen is an elf-ear wearing, troll-doll collecting, animal loving, artist, writer, filmmaker and performer who has spent her life immersed in the underground art world. Born during 1972 in Maryland, USA were she spent her teenage years as an art loving misfit, Jen promptly moved to the wonderland that is New York City when she graduated high school – Were she has stayed creating ever since!
A key player in the New York downtown art scene during the 1990s and 2000s – writing, creating films, working with the Dance Liberation Front, starring in public access show The Adventures of Electra Elf, collaborating with a slew of fellow underground luminaries; and being a key leader in the anti-slam and art-star movements. Jen has recently turned her considerable talents to painting! Creating vibrant, pop-tastic works that draw from Jen’s love of toys, trash culture, comics, the occult and the aesthetics of childhood.
Wanting to get to know her better we sent Jen some questions to answer over email.
Explore her colourful, fun and groovy world below…
Name + D.O.B?
Jennifer Miller (aka Rev. Jen)
July 24th, 1972
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Brooklyn, New York, USA.
City, State and Country you’re from?
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, comics, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, work, crime, religion, performing… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
I grew up in suburban Maryland in the ‘70s and ‘80s with two parents, three older brothers (from my dad’s first marriage) and an older sister. According to reports (early memories are unclear), I was an odd child who spoke in broken Elizabethan English, which I must’ve picked up from the television.
My sister Wendy and I were inseparable. We lived partly in the real world and partly in a place called “Midget Land”, which was inhabited by invisible little people with specific personalities. We were bus drivers in Midget Land and we’d drive the little people through fantastical towns and universes.
Wendy and I were tomboys who explored in the woods, climbed trees and swam on a team called the Mighty Dolphins.
There were lots of little kids in the neighbourhood and we all hung out together and sometimes put on plays in a neighbour’s backyard. Probably where I got my “let’s put on a show” aesthetic.
Roller Skating was also very important.
Wendy and I would strap on skates and spend hours rolling around the part of the rec room floor that wasn’t covered in orange shag carpet, usually to ABBA, the Beegees or inexplicably, classic country.
My mom immigrated from Scotland to the states in the ‘60s and her parents and sisters soon followed. Her parents, my papa and granny, worked in a kennel on a farm in the area so there were always cats and dogs around.
At home we had a dog, a cat, two bunnies and a bird.
My father was a defense attorney who later became a Judge but he was also an artist and a bit of an eccentric. He spent his free time drawing and making buildings out of popsicle sticks for these creepy little realistic mouse dolls Wendy and I collected. Eventually, he created a whole county called “Mousegomery County.”
Also, my parents threw a lot of rad parties.
Adults in the ‘70s smoked, drank, got suntans, didn’t have good hair products and didn’t care.
Upon entering Maryland public schools I made friends who weren’t invisible including another Jen (there were a lot of us born in ‘72) and we made a Xeroxed magazine together called “Jen” that included celebrity gossip, poetry and Nostradamus style “Jen Dixon” predictions based on the predictions of Jeane Dixon from The Enquirer.
Elementary school is a little like the psych ward; no one cares if you’re weird so I had a great time (just like I did at the psych ward.)
There is a golden glow around memories of the ‘70s, when my imagination was just fermenting and enchantment existed in everything. Behind every closet door, there was Narnia, but there were also monsters.
In this time outside of time, everything was real including the fake wood.
The aesthetics of the ‘70s loom large in my art. Some of it is nostalgia, but mostly it’s my analog brain trying to make sense of the digital age.
My elementary school experience was like Stranger Things before the demons showed up.
* Your teenage years:
The second you hit middle school, the world demands you be normal, which is no easy task when you are an awkward young art star. However, like Socrates believed he knew nothing, I knew I would never be cool so I raised my freak flag high and achieved the superlative of “class clown.”
By the time I hit Springbrook High School, I had a small group of nutty friends called “The Fru Crew.” “Fru” was a shortened version of “Frying Pan Head”, a nickname I got after my mother said my haircut made it look like I’d been hit over the head with a frying pan.
Much like The Archie’s Riverdale High, Springbrook was a jock school where sports, especially (American) football were of the highest order. Wendy, now a junior, was goalie of the field hockey team and also, the most popular teenage girl in history. So, we played field hockey knowing it would lessen our persecution in the Springbrook Caste system of coolness. But, we were still dorks, despite the letters on our jackets.
I carried a children’s “Ed Grimley” lunchbox to school and often wore a Troll t-shirt to school. Sometimes I would go through several classes with “Kick me, I’m an Art Fag” taped to my back.
Honestly, I loved the attention.
Junior year I got accepted to “Visual Art Center” at Einstein High School, which was a very tough art program where I spent a few hours each day.
On weekends, I went to the University of Maryland to draw naked models or to nature to draw trees.
One morning I woke up to find that the cool kids in my school had painted “You are a Art Fag” on the street in front of my house. I knew it was the cool kids because of the grammatical error.
Because the street was city property, the city had to come to our house and gravel over it.
There was never an “I’m gonna be an artist” moment.
Honestly, there is nothing else I can do so at eighteen, after graduating from Springbrook, I left for the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Art schools are places designed to leave you less able to deal with reality than when you entered them…
First year at SVA, I lived in a Salvation Army all women’s residence where I made friends with and eventually roomed with a fellow student named Julia. Together, we learned the discipline of art making but also discovered things like LSD and mescaline.
For some reason, I also started wearing elf ears.
We got invited to a party in some Jersey City student housing where I met my first love, an animation student nicknamed “Dog.”
Eventually, I moved to the Jersey City Housing, and Dog and I spent every hour that we weren’t making art or writing papers together. Because I never half-ass anything and also, because I had to keep a B average to keep my scholarship money, I worked my ass off in school.
Julia actually wrote a paper about my obsessive schedule for her class on social deviance and the teacher said I wasn’t a deviant, just a freak.
At SVA, they teach you stuff like anatomy, the old master techniques and art history so that you can then ignore all of it and go nuts. Salvador Dali said, “Begin by learning to draw and paint like the old masters. After that, you can do as you like; everyone will respect you.”
By senior year both Julia and I switched our majors to sculpture so that we could do as we liked. In painting, they wanted you to stick with the canvas, but in sculpture, you could do installations, video, performance, really anything.
Junior year, I’d taken a performance art class with artist Mike Smith. He taught us that “performance art is about becoming a giant asshole” and I was eager to put this to the test.
At some point, Julia and I formed a band called Pop Rox and we performed for our classmates. Actually, the first show, we locked our classmates in a room so that we could perform for them. We wore ill-fitting leopard print catsuits and the other members of our band were pieces of upholstery foam with faces drawn on them. Julia sang while I played a two dollar guitar from Woolworth’s. We ran around in a cardboard touring van called “The Grungemobile” that we strapped to ourselves.
* Your 20s:
I graduated from School of Visual Arts when I was 22.
Pop Rox broke up shortly thereafter and Julia moved to Ithaca, NY.
I rented a room in Brooklyn and went to work full time designing tableware in a highrise building on Madison Avenue. It was not for me so I started working retail at a vintage clothing store.
After that I had a million jobs in my twenties…giant frog at the zoo, Christmas elf at Bloomingdale’s, Leprechaun at a pub, etc.
But, in the early nineties, I was selling clothes and working part time at Lauren Wittels Gallery in SoHo while looking for the camaraderie I’d experienced at SVA. Everyone was going their separate ways and I longed for an art scene, even writing to Bill Gates asking to borrow 300,000 dollars to open something like the Dadaist’s Cabaret Voltaire, but my letter went unanswered and then my friend, Monica, suggested we check out Faceboy’s Open Mic at Collective Unconscious, an art-hole theater on Avenue B in the East Village.
It was magical.
It was where art had gone.
People got up and did whatever sort of performance they wanted for eight minutes and everyone cheered.
In ‘95 a fire destroyed the original Collective and Faceboy moved his show to Surf Reality on the Lower East Side. Meanwhile, I moved to the LES, which at the time, was the only place I could afford.
Faceboy and I became pals and he suggested I start a weekly open mic at the new Collective, which was set to open in a condemned brothel on Ludlow Street. We came up with the “Reverend Jen’s Anti-Slam.”, which was designed to be the antithesis of the poetry slams where poets are judged on a scale from one to ten.
At the Anti-Slam, everyone got a ten.
The show attracted all kinds of people: poets, comedians, performance artists, lunatics, you name it… an endless pool of talent to work with. I wrote plays and put on shows, much as I’d done as a child.
There was never a budget.
Our backstage curtains were 99 cent shower curtains.
Other theaters started popping up on the Lower East Side so you could go to a show every night.
Then the New York Times ran a story on the scene and everything kind of blew up.
Suddenly the Anti-Slam had ninety people signing up to perform and the show would stretch for hours.
Through the open mic scene, I met a dude named John Ennis who needed to borrow an elf costume for his cable access show called Toolz of the New School. I lent him the costume and he asked me to join the cast. The show was heavy on comedy stunts, a little Jackass meets The Awful Truth. I played a plethora of characters… Dorothy at Ozzfest (looking for a way back to Kansas), a former NYU student turned NYU prostitute trying to pay back student loans, a soccer mom, a goth girl and more, but my fave character Ennis and I came up with one afternoon whilst getting baked and watching Teletubbies: Doo-Doo, the 5th Teletubby.
No sooner had we come up with the idea than I paid a friend to make the costume and Doo-Doo was born – a brown teletubby who was thrown out of Teletubbyland after the TV on its stomach began to show scrambled porn. Our segment featured Doo-Doo’s misadventures, which included getting thrown out of the toy store, FAO Schwarz and stage-diving at a Lunachicks’ show.
A bar called “Luna Lounge” opened on Ludlow Street and they did a free Monday night comedy show called “Eating It” that featured comics like Dave Chapelle, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron and Janeane Garofalo.
Maron saw me perform at another club and asked if I wanted to host Eating It with him. Doo-Doo hosted alongside Maron and we had some hilarious schtick.
Around that time the Upright Citizens Brigade came to NYC: Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts and they started doing a free improv show called “ASSCAT.” They asked me to be a monologist a couple times. Basically, someone in the audience screams out a word and you tell a (hopefully) funny story about it and then UCB did a sketch about it.
There was just so much going on and so much promise.
Performance art was crossing over with sketch comedy and even that was crossing over with the regular art world.
I’d collected my essays into a book called “Sex Symbol for the Insane” which I hand-bound in cardboard, duct-tape and fake fur and started selling at Printed Matter, a disseminator of artists’ books in Soho.
Meanwhile, Giuliani was starting to wage war against all the freaks downtown by dusting off a law from the 1920s called the “cabaret law”, which prohibited dancing in public venues unless the venue had an almost impossible to get “cabaret license.”
Bars where we’d performed got shuttered for dancing.
It was stupid so we fought back with stupidity. Robert Prichard, Faceboy and I created “The Dance Liberation Front” an organization which protested the law through creating liberated dance zones such as a giant Conga Line down Avenue A, a Twist-a-Thon in Times Square and a Hokey Pokey Circle around City Hall.
Eventually, the law was overturned in 2017.
In the spring of 2000, I got horrible stomach pains and my roommate, a comedian named Lorne, took me to the hospital where my appendicitis was misdiagnosed and finally my appendix ruptured which led to peritonitis, which sucked.
However, while in the hospital, I made a book called “Reverend Jen’s Trip to the Hospital” which added to the inventory of books I was selling at Printed Matter.
After I got out of the hospital, I auditioned for the part of “Tina, the Script Girl” in Troma’s Terror Firmer. I got the part and spent the next month on the set learning about making a B movie.
This is where I first saw Nick Zedd. He was in a Bride of Frankenstein wig and lab coat, pretending to deliver a little person in a Toxic Avenger mask from the Toxic Avenger. Meanwhile, there was a beautiful topless lady (presumably the father) pretending to be blind, jumping up and down next to him.
About a month after filming ended, Nick sent me an email asking to visit the Troll Museum. Nick came over and our romance began. We had a lot in common; not just a shared love of staying out late, crappy television and B movies, but we’d both left suburban Maryland for the circus that is New York.
We picked each other’s brains.
I had scripts and he wanted to direct them so we made a ton of stuff, from Elf Panties to Lord of the Cockrings and eventually, The Adventures of Electra Elf. Our relationship was tumultuous but we always put the art first, which is likely why it lasted so long.
I was 29 when the planes hit the towers. The sound woke me up. It was the loudest sound I ever heard, like I thought my building was collapsing (a nearby tenement had recently done just that) and I ran to the kitchen window and saw a gaping hole in the first tower. I screamed and banged on Lorne’s door.
Years later he said, “You thought we were all gonna die in a fiery explosion and you couldn’t just let me sleep through it?”
Maybe it’s redundant to say, but it was the most horrible thing I’ve ever witnessed. The morning of September 12th is when it really hit home. My next door neighbor and downstairs neighbor who had both been working at Windows on the World died in the blast, leaving behind families.
* Your 30s:
Thank God we’ve arrived here.
The first half of my thirties were pretty good. If I were rating “half” decades, I’d put it second only to the time between zero and five where I can’t remember much.
The week I turned thirty, I got Reverend Jen Junior, my trusty Chihuahua sidekick who later starred as “Fluffer” in “The Adventures of Electra Elf and Fluffer”, a superhero cable access show Zedd and I made.
My first book, Reverend Jen’s Really Cool Neighborhood (Printed Matter) also came out on my thirtieth birthday along with a three-month Troll Museum installation at Printed Matter.
My writing was starting to get published, first in my “Urban Elf” column in SHOUT NY, a glossy freebie and then on Nerve.com, where I was eventually hired to write the sex column “I did It for Science” where I went on a new sexual science-based adventure each month. This led to my second book getting published, “Live Nude Elf”, which led to my next one, “Elf Girl” and the one after that “BDSM 101.” But, I did not wanna get pigeonholed as a sex writer so I started writing about art for Artnet.
A few fun things stand out from my thirties. One was touring around America and eventually doing a brief residency in London as the opening act for the Trachtenburg Slide Show Family Players.
Another is putting on a live television show called “Reverend Jen’s Really Cool Neighborhood” that had insane plots (time machines, aliens, telekinesis) and live rock bands at the newly opened Bowery Poetry Club.
Live performance started to take a backseat to publishing if only because most of our independent theatres were closing. Collective was sold and slated for demolition in 2005, as were Luna Lounge and countless other places.
It was around this time I started having severe panic attacks, several terrifying episodes a week. I volunteered for a study at Columbia Hospital where they looked at my brain and gave me six months of free therapy. I had my choice between drug therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and for the first time in my life, I didn’t choose drugs.
Then, in 2009, my father died the day before Halloween.
He was the first artist I ever knew, the person who taught me to make art, the original art star, and he was gone. After he died, I started painting again.
Writing involves my conscious mind but painting uses everything else that isn’t words, which is why it’s like therapy.
I guess the final shitty thing that happened in my thirties was the Great Troll Museum Steam Pipe Explosion. My landlords were horrible. I’d been canny enough to rent a stabilized apartment that smelled like vomit on the Lower East Side when no one else had been and they were dying to get me out and jack up the price while also building highrises on every side of my tiny tenement. (If you’ve ever seen South Park’s “The City Part of Town”, I am Kenny.)
They refused to fix anything except for my ceiling, which collapsed twice. There was never heat or hot water and the city never did anything about it despite the complaints. But, it was what I could afford.
Then, one day (February 2nd, 2010) I came home from work, opened the door and was confronted with a wall of steam. I couldn’t see anything, only steam, but I could feel the water under my shoes and the temperature was hotter than a Finnish sauna. The walls were buckling and the shelves and kitchen cabinet had fallen off the walls. I screamed for Rev. Jen Junior, thinking there was no way she could have survived. My downstairs neighbor came to my aid and we searched for Junior in the chaos. Eventually, my neighbor found her, huddled behind the toilet, safe from harm.
The fire department came and turned off the source of steam.
The whole explosion had been caused by a rotted valve in the building’s locked cellar, which could have been replaced by the landlords for twelve dollars. Everything was ruined, paintings were warped in half, the computer destroyed, trolls with their hair all soaked lying pantsless on the floor, one of them with a chandelier on its head…
I never really got over that little episode and the Troll Museum never quite glowed with the same grooviness again.
* Your 40s:
My forties were terrible. Like, if I could have just been put on ice for ten years and then taken out at age 50, I would have been fine missing them.
When I turned 40, I was living with my then boyfriend, filmmaker Courtney Fathom Sell and we’d just started “ASS Studios”, the world’s most underfunded movie studio. We made a lot of short movies together such as “Bitches of Bowery” and “Elf Workout” before making “Satan, Hold my Hand”, a feature film about half-assed satanists and a Satan who is not very cool. It stars Faceboy, Robert Prichard and Janeane Garofalo.
We’d just started making our second feature “Werewolf Bitches from Outer Space” when the shit hit the fan.
I got laid off from my job of 12 years at the Tenement Museum bookstore, the same month my face appeared on the cover of Time Out New York. It is weird to be completely fucking broke and see your face on the cover of a magazine. Courtney and I fought all the time and eventually, he broke up with me and moved out.
He was the first dude I ever lived with and he left me feeling like a rent-stabilized couch he’d crashed on for three years then kicked to the curb.
Never one to learn from my mistakes, the next fellow I dated, a painter named Joe Heaps Nelson, moved in two months later. And, here is where the ‘40s take the kind of shitty turn one never expects. Almost two years into our relationship, Joe got brain cancer. Finding out the person you wake up with and love every day is not long for this planet is not an easy pill to swallow.
Joe moved to Massachusetts to stay with his family and receive treatment. I visited when I could, but at home in NY, I gotta say, things were a mess. I just went insane and gave up.
The panic disorder I’d been treated for in my thirties started to take over and it outbested me. Couldn’t find a new study to look at my brain, couldn’t afford a therapist and honestly, didn’t know where to turn so instead of a frontal lobotomy (which the man definitely would have given me in the olden days) I turned to a bottle in front of me (as they also said in the olden days) and accepted my fate as hopeless.
Panic turned to agoraphobia and I spent days just kind of holed up in the Troll Museum watching the CW, the only channel that worked on my pink TV, which had been blasted in the explosion.
It was not long before I received an eviction notice.
I don’t know how many months I spent fighting my landlords in court, but it was a lot of time not getting better or getting a job. In 2016, I was evicted along with Reverend Jen Junior, Tenney (an alley cat from the LES) and about a thousand trolls.
My friends were kind enough to take us in, but I was less functional than my Troll Dolls. I’d been an overachiever all my life and here I was, totally fucking insane and incapable of dealing with the outside population.
After several attempts at getting into a NYC psych ward (harder to get into than Studio 54) I finally got inpatient care at a dual diagnostic ward, which was a small piece in the puzzle of eventually getting better. But, not long after getting out of there, Reverend Jen Junior died and I lost my shit again.
There should be a special psych ward for women who’ve lost Chihuahuas.
Back in the clink I went.
Joe called me in the psych ward and broke up with me on New Year’s Day 2017. An hour later a girl OD’d on heroin in the room next door. The orderlies at the psych ward then put my clothes on the bed and told me to go home.
My friend, John, who I’d known for many years, picked me up from the hospital and we’ve been together ever since. You know the scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest where Jack Nicholson takes everyone on a boat ride? The day John picked me up was that day. I felt free because he knew exactly how fucked up I was and he came to get me anyway.
After several travails, we got a rent-stabilized apartment together in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and I got a job selling shoes at a department store.
Then the pandemic hit and I lost my job, which is when I started painting twelve hours a day and then, to my surprise, selling my paintings. Before the pandemic, I painted every day, but getting to do it all day, every day was like Art School 2.0.
* Your 50s so far?
I don’t like that my ass disappeared and reappeared on my stomach and no amount of exercise seems to prevent this while the rest of my body gets scrawny no matter how much I eat. Other than that, it’s only been a couple months, but so far it’s awesome.
I don’t get panic attacks anymore.
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn is a quiet, hipster-free zone right near the water. My noisiest neighbors are swans.
I don’t party like I used to and I no longer confuse contentment with boredom.
I am happy to let the world catch up to me.
Heartache, I will never get used to.
Joe Heaps Nelson died in 2018 and Nick Zedd passed away this past February. The last time I saw Nick was in 2016, I think. He was in town from Mexico and he came over to direct a scene in Werewolf Bitches From Outer Space, which finally got finished thanks to my Goddaughter, Dylan Mars Greenberg taking on editing and co-directing.
The scene Nick directed involves a pizza guy banging a cop’s wife and by the end of the shoot, there was just pizza everywhere. It was a little like the crazy shoots we’d done years earlier.
Art is long and life is short.
The older you get, art gets longer and life gets shorter.
I don’t have mottos (at least not yet) so I write books. And reducing one’s life to a single motto would be like branding yourself. But, if I had to have one, it would be Jan van Eyck’ personal motto, “As I can.”
When I come up with an idea, I first think, “Is this honest to who I am? Do I really want to make this and why? Is it coming from just my brain or is it coming from my brain, heart and soul?” If my heart and soul aren’t in something, I reject it.
Then, when I am finished with the piece, whether it’s a painting or a book, I ask myself, “Is this the best I can do?” If the answer is no, I keep going until I’ve solved the problem.
All artists use smoke and mirrors. The problem is how do you use that magic to reveal the most fundamental truths of existence?
Also, apparently, Socrates believed that he knew nothing. I also believe that I know nothing so I am an observer. Look and look again. And not just with your eyes. Feel things, listen, be curious.
When I forget how to paint, I go to the Met and look at all the great paintings and they remind me.
They also remind me that art is sacred.
What role did toys play in your childhood?
Obviously, Troll Dolls are very important to me, since I opened a Troll Museum in my old Lower East Side apartment. But before there were trolls there were baby dolls followed by Barbies.
I had the anatomically correct Archie Bunker’s grandson, Joey Stivic doll. Probably the first penis I ever saw was baby Joey’s.
Wendy and I loved Barbie dolls. They were Goddesses who didn’t have to work, lived in a Dreamhouse and had a rad, pink car. Maybe the reason women watch “Real Housewives” is we all suffer from Dreamhouse Delusion Syndrome brought on by early exposure to Barbies.
Troll Dolls came into the picture at age 11.
Unlike Barbie, they stood on their own two feet, proud, often naked, pot-bellied and smiling.
They were the essence of groovy in doll form.
Once I’d started collecting them, word got around and people started giving me Trolls. By the year 2000, Trolls were taking over my apartment so I did what any sane person would do: I opened The Reverend Jen’s Lower East Side Troll Museum.
I believe in following through on even the craziest ideas (as long as they do no harm) so I dashed off a press release and invited friends to the gala Troll Museum opening. It was so idiotic, I expected no response and was not really prepared for what happened next: The Troll Museum became wildly popular.
MSNBC put it on the front page of their site and listed my address so I’d come home from my job and find tourists clamouring for a look at my Trolls.
The national news networks of Jamaica, Spain and Brazil all ran stories on the Troll Museum along with the Smithsonian Network and Japan’s NHK.
The actor, Alan Cumming, produced a segment on the Troll Museum for a television pilot he was shopping around. We shot part of it outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I marched around in a placard that said, “Tired of the same old art? Visit the Troll Museum!” Alan Marched alongside me giving out informative Troll Museum flyers.
The Troll Museum was the setting for countless parties, films and art shows, but is now an exclusive, private Brooklyn “Troll Pantry.”
Writing, Art, Filmmaking, Performing & Creativity Questions
When and why did you first become interested in writing, art, filmmaking, performing and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been compelled to obey my creativity at great risk to my sanity and stability.
If you had to explain your vast array of creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
That would depend on the alien.
Were it Alf, we could talk about life on Melmac and I would have to stop him from eating my cat.
But if we are talking big eyed, big-headed aliens, I think they’d be more interested in anally probing me than my art, which sadly sums up my career.
Who are some of your favourite artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
When it comes to painters, I like the hits… Leonardo, Picasso, Goya, Caravaggio, Gericault, Vermeer and Rembrandt.
Leonardo is my favorite. Everything about his legacy is incongruous. He studied cadavers and learned the human muscular system, how the facial muscles provided an array of smiles and grief-stricken faces only to paint a woman (Mona Lisa) who is totally unknowable.
Leonardo was the first Dadaist.
People think Picasso was a smooth operator but he was actually completely without guile. He screams at viewers with his heart. Goya because his images are strong enough to exist in my nightmares, Caravaggio and Rembrandt because they were virtuosos, Gericault because he devoted a couple years of his life to the most ugly beautiful painting of all time, The Raft of the Medusa. Vermeer, because he is not a virtuoso but he is just as good, struggling to show you his technique and because he really really wants you to look at shit in his paintings.
His paintings are like, “Look at this fucking tablecloth! Look at this map! Look at this chick! Look at her earring!” And, he gets you to look and somewhere in his small scenarios is awe.
Filmmakers: I love movies but I’m not the kind of person who gives a shit what person is making what movie. It’s either a good movie or it’s not.
Films, unlike painting, are collaborative. A lot of people to blame or to thank but it’s usually the director who gets the credit either way.
I prefer television, especially Spongebob.
Music: My ears pretty much love everything that isn’t modern country and I haven’t listened to much modern country. Maybe it’s awesome. I don’t know.
I love rock-n-roll. The official music of the Troll Museum was Led Zeppelin. Our “audio tours” were just Zep and no other information. That’s really all anyone ever needed to know.
I can dance, not necessarily well, to anything.
If people wanted to check out your art, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
I sell signed, glossy prints of my paintings and some small paintings on etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Revjencreations
Here’s a link to my new kid’s book too! Cats of Coney Island
Also, all my other books, Elf Girl, Live Nude Elf, BDSM 101 are all on Amazon etc. too. But, the kid’s book helps me the most financially because it’s self published.
It’s amazing the chunk of change publishers and agents take out of the other shit!
Odds & Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
Milan in the 1480s. I wanna plan parties with Leonardo.
Or maybe I’d just go to one of my parents’ parties in the ‘70s or maybe I’d go to 1967 for undiluted LSD and inexpensive Troll Dolls.
What does “God” mean to you?
My mom is Catholic and my dad was Protestant and for some reason, the Catholic priest refused to baptize me. My older siblings were all baptized and they are functional, normal adults. So, I am probably a changeling and the real version of Jennifer Miller is living in the fairy realm.
My parents didn’t go to Church so while other kids were learning about God, I was playing in the woods or worshiping at the altar of television.
I don’t think God is a dude up in the sky who has a plan for us. If it is, he should be fired.
I do think there is something bigger than us even if that thing is just the law of conservation of energy. If energy can neither be created nor destroyed, wouldn’t that make us all immortal? The Lord and Lady may taketh away but some jumble of us is always earthly.
I figure the God part is what keeps us all going: love.
That sounds like hippie horseshit but I am actually a rationalist. People aren’t good because the Bible or God or fear of the Devil makes them good; they are good because of love.
The bad is harder to figure out.
Does sex change everything?
What are the top 3 items you own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?
I don’t care that much about stuff.
In a disaster (see steam pipe explosion) you get your pets and you get the fuck out.
Things are replaceable, except for paintings.
In a fight between a gang of rowdy Troll Dolls (the iconic toy) Vs. Pee Wee Herman (the character played by Paul Reubens) – Who would win?
…and why would they be victorious?
There is no way I’m drawing this, but my money is on Pee Wee. He never loses.
Trolls are unknowable.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
This is weird but the last one I had was in relation to this article wherein I mentioned an analog brain. Someone in the dream just kept saying, “It only means it’s not digital.”
Not as exciting as most of my astral adventures, it was just my super-ego editing my more precious comments.
Of everything you have done, what would you most like to be remembered for?
- Rev Jen – Online Store via Etsy
- Rev Jen – Instagram
- Rev Jen – twitter
- Rev Jen – Facebook
- Rev Jen – Amazon Store
- Rev Jen – GoodReads Author Page
- ‘Werewolf Bitches From Outer Space’ (2016) – Full Film via YouTube
- Art Star Scene Studios (Ass Studio) – Wiki Entry
- Dance Liberation Front Promo Video – via Archive.org
- Longform 2016 Article on Jen & The Troll Museum – via Vice
- Longform 2019 Article on Jen & Her Pop-Up Troll Museum – via The New York Times
All images supplied by Jen.