"Love Cake" by Alexandre Boisseau

Seven years ago Jenn Hampton, made what she thought was going to be a three-week pit stop in Asbury Park on her way to a fancy-

pants job at MTV in California.  Today, she is one of Asbury Park’s wunderkinds, creating the creative in events at Asbury Lanes and displaying the dynamic at Parlor Gallery.

Jenn – with a demeanor that is part dog-whisperer, part ringleader – is a beautiful bolt of tousled pink-haired energy and one of the golden foundations of “new” Asbury Park – quietly developing a vision, implementing and promoting it to target demographics and then finding a way to get everyone else from every crevice of the larger community vested in it.

This month Parlor Gallery celebrates its second anniversary thanks to Jenn and her gallery partners Jill Ricci and Michael Walker, with an exhibit named “Terrible Twos.”

I spoke with the team that has been making art move for two years.

TBP:  How did Parlor happen?

Jenn:  Originally, I wanted to open a gallery because the exhibits we were doing at Asbury Lanes were getting such great response.

Jill and I had spoken years earlier about creating a gallery but it was never the right time for both of us.  Then, two years ago, the opportunity came and it all worked out.  This business is a friendship too.  I get to work, share and benefit with my friends.

I would have never done this alone.  Thank God for Jill and Michael.

Jill:  I remember our first show as Parlor Gallery was “Glamour Bomb”.  We named it after Michael, who, I would see walking down the boardwalk just dropping glamour everywhere he went.

TBP:  I love that.  Absolutely love it.  Oh, how true.  And now, 25 exhibits later you are known for shows like no other in the area.

Jenn:  We like the unusual.  I like to book art that I know I can’t travel to see.  It is always exciting to me to bring something to Asbury Park that would usually only be in major cities or on the west coast.

I love it when someone in the area comes into the gallery and you can see he is drawn to the art and he never would have seen because the piece has only been in California.

Jill:  We go to art shows or art fairs and take submissions to find art.  We are doing that now for 2011.  We pick a theme or one or two artists we want to show and we build a show around them.  Then, we find a name that the three of us don’t hate – naming the show is the most difficult part.

TBP:  The art world has been called “the last unregulated, wild west market”.  What has been most surprising for you since opening the gallery?

Jenn:  It’s the most exciting thing to me to sell to a first time buyer.  We know that a lot of people who come here work really hard for their money.  That is why our shows have a big range in price points – from $100 to $5,000.  There is always something for everyone.

TBP:  Original art for the masses.  How do three people with distinct personalities – one a glamour bomb – choose the spectrum of art for an exhibit?  Is there wrestling involved?

Jenn:  The way all of our shows happen is kind of organic.  Everyone picks a few artists and what represents the theme we like.

Parlor works well because we are all bringing something to the table… or the walls.

“Terrible Twos” exhibit at Parlor, opens this Saturday, (Feb. 5).  Check for future exhibitions and more.