GUELPH - Guelph artist Jenna Paddey was just finishing work Wednesday when her phone started blowing up with notifications.
Britney Spears had just shared her art on Instagram.
“It’s pretty wild,” said Paddey. “Honestly, it was very much a surprise to me.”
What followed was a surge in traffic on Paddey’s Instagram page with thousands of likes and comments pouring in and praising her artwork.
Paddey works full time at The Modern Bride in Downtown Guelph where she contributes to the aesthetic and visuals of the brand on social media. As a side gig, she creates and sells illustrations on her website to satisfy her passion for creating art.
On Wednesday, Spears shared an illustration of a gold bee with a crown above it that Paddey created with gouache paint and metallic watercolour.
Spears shared a caption under the photo that read ‘To all my fans who call me Queen 👑 B …. I believe this would be more accurate 😉🐝🐝🐝🐝 !!!!!.’
The post received over 224,000 likes and over 15,000 comments on Spears’s page and Paddey was tagged in it.
“She posted it and found it on the internet somewhere and things started exploding,” said Paddey.
The original art was shared two years ago.
“The original intention of the work was just a play on words like queen bee. It was just a fun little illustration I did. The original thing is probably only 5 in by 5 in.”
While it is difficult to predict which art someone might connect with, Paddey said it brings her joy that something as little as a bee with a crown can bring somebody a little bit of joy and inspiration.
“The fact that people have appreciated my art makes me feel very very lucky,” said Paddey.
She said she appreciates that the singer gave her credit for her work.
“She’s obviously a legend, she’s done a lot. I have grown up watching her music videos and things like that so it’s definitely surreal,” said Paddey.
Captivated by the arts as a little girl, Paddey said she was always interested in drawing and painting. When she entered high school, she started using Adobe illustrator and began sharing her art online for people to view.
Over the years, she’s been able to connect with numerous people in the world who have been touched by her work, with some even inking it on their bodies permanently.
“I think it’s amazing but I’m also scared like are you sure?” laughed Paddey.
“I love when people send me pictures of when they do get something tattooed because it’s cool to see my work out there in the world.”
She said she never expected the recognition she’s received for her work over the years but is incredibly grateful.
“It’s definitely exciting and it’s a nice sense of affirmation that people are appreciating the work and it can be nerve-racking to put something out there. Sometimes you worry what people think about a piece,” said Paddey.
“I’m really grateful that there have been positive responses to some of my art in that regard cause you know cause the internet is such a large place.”