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Thursday, Nov. 30
The Indiana Daily Student


Strange faces bring beauty to 4th Street Festival

People collected around Jennifer Mujezinovic’s exhibit at the Fourth Street Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Her tent stood directly in front of Mandalay Restaurant at the center of 
the festival.

Two of her three children bore the humidity with her in exchange for Cokes.

A Bloomington resident, Mujezinovic is known by many, though artists traveled to the festival from all over the nation to present 
their work.

Extravagant, sensual faces stared back at visitors of 
Mujezinovic’s tent.

Her portraits invoked more than an appreciation for aesthetic beauty in some people.

Mujezinovic said she had a passion for creating what she calls 
abstract portraits.

Visitors looked at Mujezinovic’s stylistic portraits of women wearing abstract conceptions of beauty.

“I look for a beautiful face,” she said. “Half the people I paint are my friends.”

The hobbyist-turned-respected-artist of Chicago, New York and Bloomington’s Fourth Street Festival taught herself art while living abroad.

Mujezinovic graduated from IU in the mid 90s. Afterward, she left for Spain with her husband, former IU basketball player Haris Mujezinovic, who continued playing the game in Europe.

One night, while drawing meditatively, she made the image of a proud, young, Spanish woman with her chin held high, wearing a head scarf. That image, produced on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, appears on her business card today.

She stood by a table that had a stack of those cards. Her prints were priced at $60. A few weeks ago, she sold an original for $4,500 in 

Mujeznovic waved a folding fan before her face as the heat grew to a heat index of more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some artists at the event discussed whether or not the humidity deterred people from attending.

As an artist, Mujeznovic said she was in her element regardless of the heat. She said her art and the people who were curious about what she spent her time doing were all under one tent.

She studied one of her paintings. She mentioned inspirations for her work, which ranged from the beauty of a human face to the kindness of a former academic advisor, who helped her greatly in her college career.

“Sometimes it’s about leaving something behind,” she said.

The competition for admittance to rent a booth is fierce, with some artists being turned away from 
receiving tent space.

Two artists, wanting their work shown to others, didn’t give up despite lacking a tent.

Jacob Gardner, better known as “Painter Jake” in and around Bloomington, created the impression of street art on variously sized canvas boards with paint markers, stencils and spray paint.

However, Gardner did not just exercise this artistic talent in the time prior to the festival. He painted on the street before everyone’s eyes.

His paintings, largely reminiscent of pulp artists famous for creating entertaining magazine covers, were scattered all around him.

A chain of people eager to see the colorful and odd canvas works gathered in the midst of this blurred act of creation.

Gardner’s apprentice of the last two years, Sarah Bear, talked to people interested enough to pause in their departures from local 

Thomas Harlan, a preacher from Lynchburg, Virginia, bought a psychedelic revision of Jesus Christ that the duo created.

“We all know that’s not really Jesus,” Harlan said. “But it’s fun. These guys know what fun is.”

Harlan returned later to thank the two artists a second time.

“I love the lifestyle, the traveling and interacting with people,” Bear said.

Gardner and Bear make a living traveling and putting their work before the eyes of people around the nation.

Bear said traveling frequently through large cities, accommodating an audience and showing how the work gets done is a day-to-day act for these two. She said it requires a great deal of creativity to stay afloat.

“I’m dreaming new dreams,” Gardner said.

Gardner, who traveled frequently to and from Bloomington throughout his “estimated” 38 years of life, said he respected fellow local artist and skateboard designer Joel Washington.

Gardner said the people he respects in the 
Bloomington artist communities make it a home.

“I used to walk my kids by the fountain by the IMU, and we’d all make a wish,” Mujezinovic said. “I wished for years one of my paintings should hang in the IMU.”

One of her paintings recently made its way to the upstairs lobby on the 
Mezzanine floor.

It’s a painting of Elizabeth “Buzz” Kurpius, the academic advisor who influenced Mujezinovic’s life during and after the college years she said she cherished at IU.

Kurpius looks at the students with her red “lucky jacket,” acting as a beacon. Mujezinovic said it was her artistic way of giving something back, of leaving something behind in a place where she received 
so much.

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