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Jenny Rhead

Black Cat Bazaar Gallery

Black Cat Bazaar, formerly Greetings by Jenny, is an unapologetic, sarcastic, and humorous shop, articulating phrases that are often felt by many but rarely spoken or expressed. We are the go-to shop for smart, sassy, and bold greeting cards, artwork, apparel & accessories. --------- I am not a "formally trained" artist. I studied Business & Economics in college. I actually did not know I...

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... was artistic until I moved to Chicago. Chicago is where my story really begins.

I moved to Chicago for a fresh start. Before I moved to Chicago, I battled alcohol and drug addiction for most of my early 20s, and have since overcome the struggle of living daily life without alcohol and drugs, achieving 4 years of sobriety since. Chicago has welcomed me with open arms, and allowed me to grow into the person I am today.

I moved to Chicago with nothing but a few suitcases and 30 days of sobriety behind me. I knew I had to make it work here, the alternative was, as they say, "jail, institutions, and death." I am not shy about my journey to sobriety, as I hope my story helps others realize that addiction does not have a "look" of some person living under a bridge with a brown paper bag of booze. Addiction does not discriminate, and it was out to get me. I left my past behind when I moved to Chicago, determined to start a new life here.

I needed something to do, something that kept my hands busy & me out of trouble. The solution? Avoid boredom at all costs. For a while, this looked like work work work, coaching volleyball, getting involved in the sober community in Chicago, etc. I was doing everything I could to busy myself, and get to know myself again.

When the winter months of 2018 - 2019 set in, I was tired of working, coaching, meetings, etc. I needed to turn inward and figure something out that kept me busy and my mind off of old behaviors & activities. I remember looking at my hands, telling myself "these could get me into a lot of trouble," and I was scared. I was so scared of going back to the old Jenny.

I collected old magazines, atlases, calendars, etc. I began to cut out little things I liked. Whether it was a quote, a person, or a colorful image, I cut it out and started organizing it into categories.

Then came Christmas of 2018 and I didn't have much money, but I wanted to send my family a little love. For previous Christmas's, I was out of touch. I may have been physically there, but emotionally, mentally, I was absolutely not there. For a few years, Christmas was awful for me & my family because I was sick with addiction.

I had gotten a Chewy catalog in the mail, and the pictures of cats & dogs with Santa hats & garland were making me laugh! I cut them out, put them on a postcard, and wrote quotes like "Merry Fucking Christmas" and sent those to my family.

And when they received them, they laughed! They called me and thanked me. After years of shame, guilt and embarrassment, hearing my family express gratitude to me, was the best feeling in the world. I knew I had to share this feeling with others.

Since then, Black Cat Bazaar (formerly Greetings by Jenny) has expanded to a multitude of creations from Jenny’s chaotic mind including apparel, tumblers, stickers, tote bags, hats, wall art, digital art, and of course, greeting cards. Her mission to make art and spread positivity has never been stronger amidst the world we live in today. She finds herself more inspired than ever to spread happiness through the mailbox and couldn’t be more excited to continue her journey in 2021.

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