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The 3 paintings above are from the Digital Paint series, mixed media on canvas - using bits from old electronics.
Can you tell us a bit about your education and work experience?
I thought I was ready to be a professional artist right out of high school! I nearly didn't go on to college. Fortunately, one of my high school art teachers who had encouraged me so much, told me I didn't know what I was doing and needed to continue my education. I listened and I'm grateful. I went to the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, worked very hard and found out how little I knew. I decided on a "practical" path, which was to work in advertising until my art took off on the side. 20 years later I still haven't quit the advertising side of art. I have worked in advertising agencies, had my own magazine in South Florida, worked for publishers and freelanced and I worked at Ocala Magazine for over 5 years. Currently I have my own marketing/branding design company (Little Black Mask Marketing) and I work and paint out of my downtown Ocala studio (Studio 9), which I share with artist Mary Verrandeaux.
The Kiss III
Acrylic on canvas
Puppy Love II
Acrylic on canvas
What was your first memory as an artist?
It took me a long time to consider myself a "real artist." While I have lots memories of drawing in my childhood, creating assignments in high school and college, and even painting, illustrating, selling and showing art as an adult – I still did it all on the side of something else. I think the first time I honestly felt like an artist was during a showing in a Ft. Myers gallery, talking with the guests about my art. Hearing their impressions, the stories they got from my paintings, the emotions that were evoked by my work, and the further thoughtfulness it provoked, made me feel that I had accomplished something with the art – as opposed to just having accomplished the art itself.
The Nurturing I - Zebra
Acrylic on canvas.
This was the first painting I made, right after college.
What does success in the art world mean to you?
It means affecting people with my art and making a living at it. I'm half way there (still not earning a living from it).
Like many artists, you're involved in many projects. How do you balance them all?
Insanity. Sometimes I think I'm not completely sane because of everything I'm doing. After all these years I have finally embraced the fact that I am not going to cut back on work and find "balance." After a particularly stressful and taxing project, I always feel the best sense of accomplishment and I realize, if I weren't so overwhelmed... if I had a calm balance... then I wouldn't be accomplishing these things. It's a sacrifice that I think a lot of great creative, driven people have made.
You have a very distinct painting style, have you always worked that way? Do you like to work in different styles?
I haven't always worked in the "square brush stroke" style that I have been doing for a few years, but I have always worked with color and composition in an unnatural and strong way. I believe that some of the boldness comes from being a graphic artist. You know, "make it pop!" Also graphic design is a way of telling a story and evoking a response with a visual, so I think that I do the same in my paintings, too. I even suspect that, the "square brush stroke" is a painted version of a pixel, further extending the graphic design concept onto the canvas.
I do like to work in different styles, actually, but have to admit that I have not for a long time. Marketing your work as an artist, it's important to be identifiable and unique, so I have focused on one style for some years now and will continue to do so until I get it out of my system. A lot of the graphic design that I do can be considered art as well, so digital art would be another style of mine.
To contact Jessi.......www.littleblackmask.com
Thanks for sharing Jessi.