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Behind the Brush: Jennifer Perlmutter

An artist brings color—and a love for materials with meaning—to Lamorinda.


By T. L. Schmidbauer

“Be brave.” That is a mantra Lafayette artist Jennifer Perlmutter knows well—especially when it comes to finding balance amidst chaos. After leaving a desk job at Universal Pictures to pursue art, the Napa native moved to four cities before opening her first gallery in downtown Lafayette. Tucked into a courtyard next to bustling Rancho Cantina, the light-filled space showcases work from other artists as well as Perlmutter’s creations, which feel like an extension of the artist—colorful, daring, and a little unexpected. jenniferperlmuttergallery.com


By T. L. Schmidbauer

Artistic Style

“Aside from painting, I do collage work. I like things with history that have been places. Age and found objects intrigue me, so I’ll use pieces of old books.”

Local Inspiration

“The other night, I was listening to the sounds echoing of people laughing, drinking, and eating dinner. When I was done, I looked at [my painting] and said, ‘That looks like that sounds.’ ”

East Bay Eats

“I go to Rancho [Cantina] a lot by default. And I like Sasa and Mixed Grain in Walnut Creek. I love Korean food.”

Paint Party

“The most popular things with the gallery crowd are Thursday night live painting and mixed- media collage night, with music, wine, and socializing.”

Top Shops

“Glamorous Boutique, of course. Eliza has an incredible eye. I also love the incredible interior designers at Indigo and Poppy. It’s great if you need to go in and grab a gift.”

Words to Live by

“I like to kick people in the ass and say, ‘Be brave! You want to just hide? It’s not going to get you anywhere.’ If you have somebody championing you, it makes a difference. I’d love to be that for other people.”


Jen’s Faves

Drink: “Margaritas with a little cayenne around the rim. Rancho [Cantina] next door taught me that combo.”

TV Show: “Chopped, with my kid.”

Music: “At the studio, it’s Radiohead, Matisyahu, and Florence and the Machine. At the gallery, I keep it even keeled with classical and jazz.”

Weekend Getaway: “Healdsburg, in a cabin right on the river. Or just pop over to San Francisco; head to the Slanted door to get a view and some amazing food.“

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