First off - Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, where do you live now, what kind of artist would you describe yourself as?
My name is Jess, I grew up in Orange County, and currently live in Long Beach, CA. I’ve lived in this apartment for almost 5 years now and feel very at home here. This neighborhood has a great sense of community.
I would describe myself as an eclectic artist. I like a little bit of everything. My focus is on illustration, drawing and painting, but I’m mostly led by my intuition with a few different styles and interests. I like to mix it up because I get bored easily on one project and eager to start another. It’s hard for me to stay cohesive sometimes, but I’m working on maintaining focus and not rushing through to the next thing. In college my portfolio consisted of drawings, paintings, mixed media and Intaglio/block prints. Now, I’ve gravitated toward digital drawings and have designed a collection of stickers. I love drawing plants, portraits of people and continuous line faces. Eventually, I’d like to expand my shop and offer prints, totes and greeting cards!
Let’s talk about the process - When you are creating, what does your typical day entail?
My creative process varies, but most importantly I keep a journal and a sketch book. A log of my ideas, lists, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I’ll jot down something fleeting and arbitrary, but the concept develops into my next series or a sticker design. When I need to gain a little momentum, I clean my apartment or go for a walk to take photos and look for inspiration. When I get started I make a preliminary sketch before the real deal, and usually draw on the couch or on the floor. I need a big comfy space to create.
Normally we would ask, what has been the biggest challenge you face? Given that we’re all facing the fear & uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, what are your hopes and any actions you are putting in place to come through the other side of this. How are you keeping motivated during this time?
2020 has been a year of transition for me. I’ve left two different jobs this year, but both have contributed to my growth. Hoping to achieve more stability when we’re on the other side of this pandemic, and lots of hugs and hang outs with people I miss! Quarantine has been tough on me as a person with a lot of social needs, it’s taught me how to be a homebody and lean into the coziness of staying safe at home. I stay motivated by writing lots of lists, staying active and reaching out to my supportive network of friends and family. Also, trying to use this time to fill in the gaps of my art training and learn the basics of Graphic Design.
What’s been the best part of being a creative? What makes it rewarding?
Being creative to me means being different. Having a unique perspective and embracing your weirdness. A lot of times it goes hand in hand with being an empath, and having a deep understanding of how people feel, how people react to things. I was a balloon artist for about 10 years and seeing the look on people’s faces as I created something out of thin air was priceless. Having the ability to make something special for someone and make someone’s day is the best feeling. An underlying theme in some of my artwork is human connection and sharing that perspective has been rewarding.
Where do hope to be in 5 years, on a personal and professional level?
In 5 years, I’d like to feel more secure in my own self. I’d like to be more confident than I am now and be financially supported by my artwork in whatever way that manifests. I’m not afraid of my 30’s, they’ve always seemed like a great age to me. Hopefully less confusing and spastic than my 20’s. But mostly, I’d like the opportunity to travel more!
How would you describe your personal style? What role does denim play in your wardrobe? What do you look for in the perfect pair of jeans? And what is your go-to everyday outfit?
Slow fashion, colorful, yet subdued. Love a good thrift store. I’ve heard my look described anywhere from art teacher to 90’s mom. I’ll rock a button-down shirt or paint covered pants. Denim plays a huge role in my wardrobe because I like to keep it comfortable and classic. Not afraid to double denim. I love wearing an oversized denim jacket or some loose fitted 501 Levi's.
How would your friends describe you in 3 words and what is your favorite quote to live by?
Direct, Intuitive, Authentic.
Favorite quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
This question is (obviously) more specific to you, but we would love to know how many plants you have?!
The current plant count is 33! I’m running out of room, but I’m addicted now.
Favorite Creative Mediums: Love a fresh micron pen and some illustration markers. My tablet. Acrylic Paint. India Ink. I like to get down with some mixed media/ collage (mod podge and textured paper)
Favorite Podcasts: The Cut. Savvy Psychologist. Ologies with Alie Ward. NPR or Ted Talks.
Favorite Beauty Products: For skin care I’ve been using the Moon Juice Milk Cleanse. I also like the Rose Facial Oil from Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fancy! As far as makeup, I’ll keep it simple with the Hourglass Brow Gel and some of the Stretch Concealer from Glossier. I used to be a lipstick girl before masks became a thing.
Favorite Coffee/Cocktail: I need coffee in the morning, (usually make it at home) and around 3 PM I need an iced coffee to survive the rest of the day. When I’m out for a drink I’d order a margarita with some salt on the rim but I’m normally more of a beer girl.
Favorite Music: I’m all over the map when it comes to music- sad girl stuff, Weyes Blood, Joni Mitchell. I love Madonna, Lady Gaga, Pretenders, Velvet Underground. I hosted a Beatle’s radio show in college. But I also can get down to top 40, I like pop and 90’s hip hop. Catch me at the red light listening to KDAY.
Favorite Books: I love all books by Haruki Marakami, I’ve read about 7 of his books. The Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin is a fun collection of stories from San Franscisco in the late 70s. Any Joan Didion or Maya Angelou. Most recently I read Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, some great insight on our current society.