“Stepping Into the Twilight Zone”
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I’m an abstract painte
r and glass artist living in Sacramento, California. I work in commercial real estate development and recently opened an art gallery with two other artists where we create, show and sell our art.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
When I see a blank wall I feel the need to mentally decorate it in my mind. I’m inspired by colours, which register and reflect various emotions within me when I paint. Every painting I do is a visual diary of feelings, thoughts and inspirations for that particular time.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/ paint?
I find inspiration in the strangest places! The other day I was inspired by a tiny dress a very young baby was wearing which prompted me to pull out my pink and pea green paints. A couple of weeks ago I found a rusted piece of metal with beautiful rust and ochre tones which I used ended up using for an abstract cityscape.
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Creative, dependable, intuitive, trustworthy and smart.
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
The summer I graduated from high school, I got a temporary job at a real estate office helping them with an audit they were going through. After the term was over they offered me full time employment and I accepted. My parents were crushed because they wanted me to go to college but they were not supportive of desire to go to art school. I ended up getting my real estate sales license and then my broker’s license and am still in the real estate industry today. I did go to college at night to study business and art, but still consider myself mostly self-taught.
JJ in studio
Describe a typical day in your studio space?
I like to start with a clean workspace and lay out my paints, canvas, brushes and water. Sometimes I’ll turn on some loud music to get me in the spirit; other times I paint in silence. I like to practice on a few pre-cut squares of 140-lb or 300-lb watercolour paper with some quick designs, then move on to a clean canvas where I lay down some lines of paint with no specific pattern in mind. From there I begin adding more colours and continue to “create and destroy.” I usually know how much time I have to spend painting and plan accordingly. If I only have an hour or so to play, then I work fast and furiously.
As an artist what is your biggest frustration?
Overcommitting myself and saying “yes” to unreasonable deadlines.
Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.
Each morning I make up a To-Do list of everything I want to achieve for that particular day. If I’m going to be working in my studio I’ll have the tasks that I want to complete on the To-Do list and cross them off as they’re finished. The most important tasks are always listed first and if I don’t finish my list that day I’ll carry over the unfinished jobs to the next day.
Can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I am fortunate that I share a studio with two other wonderfully talented artists. We are able to share marketing ideas and get each other’s point of view when needed. I also have a fan page on Facebook; and accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, ETSY and Fine Arts America. We have monthly art walks in our city that I participate in and when I’m able to, I enjoy meeting other artists and visiting art galleries.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Trust your gut and keep creating – no matter what other people think!
Teaching Lamp working
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I want to get my more of my art into corporate settings and be able to earn a decent living doing my art full-time.
What is your proudest moment so far?
Decorating and installing my art work into the lobby of one of the buildings I was project manager for.
Who do you most want to meet and why?
If Georgia O’Keefe were still alive I would want to meet her and watch her paint. Her colour and subject choices continue to fascinate me, and her fierce determination to be an artist inspires me every day.
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
Life is short – live each day as if it were your last.
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
At the moment I’m reading “I’d Rather Be in the Studio” by Alyson B. Stanfield, which is a fabulous book on self promotion and how to market your art. A book I recommend to artists and writers alike is called “On Writing” — it is an empowering memoir written by Stephen King about his journey to become a writer combined with basic information on how to write and be published.
Where do we find you and your products?