Thursday, September 29, 2011

JJ Jacobs

As most of you know, JJ Jacobs and I have been sharing studio space since May. We met a couple of years ago when we both had studios in "The Building" and I have been inspired by her passion and energy ever since.

I have mentioned JJ many times in my blog posts, but today I am excited to share an interview that she so graciously agreed to do. Scroll down to learn more about what inspires JJ and see more of her wonderful work.

©2011 Judy Jacobs "Encore" 30" x 24"

What is your primary medium for creating your art? Have you experimented along the way with other techniques and/or materials? I mainly use acrylic paints & products but I used to use oils, watercolors and gouache. I like the versatility and quick drying time I get with the acrylics and can use various mediums and/or water to achieve oil & watercolor-like effects – plus the quicker drying time allows me to make more art!

What are your favorite subjects? Color is the driving force behind my work, and using a variety of color I like to paint landscapes, cityscapes and non-representational abstracts.

Who/what has inspired you? Georgia O’Keefe was influential to me – I admire her perseverance and tenacity as well as the way she pushed the “norm” with her subject matter and compositions.

When did it first hit you that you wanted to be an artist? I’ve never really thought about wanting to be an artist – I’ve always been one and can’t imagine not having art in my life.

What has your path been like? School, art related jobs, freelance, commercial...... I went to private schools through 12th grade and took every single art class ever offered at my school. I ended up going into real estate which paid the bills nicely but left my creative side empty. About 12 years ago I started fusing glass and making lampworked beads which revived my passion for art and began painting again about 3 years ago. Now I am painting more than doing glass work and pushing the creative boundaries more than before – all while working part-time at the real estate job. I’m praying for the day I can afford to be “working” full-time at my art which I hope will be very, very soon.

How would you describe the current direction of your work? Any changes on the horizon? My paintings are becoming larger and more vibrant. I’ve always used a lot of color but am being less restrained than before; and I’m getting away from thinking too much while I paint! Instead I have been following my intuition and just sort of letting my feelings take over the brush strokes, composition and color selections… doing this my colors seem to flow together naturally and I’m able to get to that point of saying “I’m done” much quicker than when I over think the process. Here are two examples of some recent “intuitive” paintings:

©2011 Judy Jacobs “Gypsy Wind”  30” x 24”

©2011 Judy Jacobs “Wild Child”  24” x 36”

Were you supported in your efforts to become an artist? Yes & no. Growing up with a creative mother, I was always encouraged to paint and color and to use my imagination. When it came time to go to college though, my parents wouldn’t support my desire to be an art major which led me into a long career in real estate instead. I managed to take quite a few college art classes at night and workshops from artists whose work I admire – and don’t regret having the business acumen I acquired during my real estate career. Without the business knowledge I am not so sure I would be doing as well in my art business as I am.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career? Probably the biggest challenge I’ve had in my art career has been building my self-confidence as an artist. I sometimes wish I had pursued an art degree but then I wonder if I had gotten a BFA or MFA if I would still be doing art at all. The other challenge I have is striving to maintain a healthy balance between doing my art and maintaining a social life – I find I can get inside my head too much and tend to become a hermit of sorts.

What brings you the greatest joy? I love watching other people making a connection between a work of art that they see and how excited they get when they tell me or another artist about how the piece relates to them.

How would you describe yourself? How does that come out in your work? I’m generally a happy person who likes to laugh a lot and I try to express those features in my work. When I’m feeling sad or upset about something I may go ahead and paint something just to work through the feelings but in most cases I’ll paint over the piece at a later date. When the earthquake happened in Japan a few months ago I couldn’t stop thinking about the horror those poor people must have been experiencing and painted “The Darkest Hour” while watching the news. This painting still makes me feel sad when I look at it because it reminds me how I was feeling when I created it. Yet another friend of mine loves it and told me it reminds her of the sun setting behind the mountaintops and how it lights up the buildings before nightfall. Go figure 

©2011 Judy Jacobs “The Darkest Hour” 24" x 36"

Any words of wisdom you would like to share? Never, ever ever stop creating and always follow your dream, no matter how scary it may be or how frivolous you think it might be! Life is meant to be lived with passion; and when that passion dies so does the spirit. (Love this! DP)

Thank you JJ! And thanks for being such a great "studio mate"!

To see more of JJ's work go to her website:

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