WE (DOROTHY AND SARAH) ARE SO EXCITED TO BE INTERVIEWING OUR SECOND EVER "MEMBER OF THE MONTH" FOR THE RISING TIDE SOCIETY'S MEMPHIS CHAPTER. ALTHOUGH WE JUST HAD OUR FIRST MEETUP IN APRIL, WE'VE REALIZED WE ALREADY HAVE SO MUCH TALENT AND SO MANY INCREDIBLE MAKERS IN OUR GROUP WHO BELIEVE IN COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION. WE'VE BOTH LOVED GETTING TO KNOW JESSICA AND HER HUSBAND, MIKE, AND WE'RE SO INSPIRED BY HER INCREDIBLE WORK. THEY'VE BEEN SO ENCOURAGING, ENGAGED, AND HELPFUL AT BOTH OF OUR MEETUPS, AND JESSICAS WORK IS TRULY UNIQUE- NOT ONLY IN THE INCREDIBLE COLOR AND STYLE, BUT ALSO THE DEPTH AND MEANING THAT SHE BRINGS INTO ALL OF HER PIECES. WE'RE SO EXCITED TO HAVE HER ON BOARD AS A MEMBER OF THE RISING TIDE SOCIETY, AND WE WANTED TO SHOW HER OFF TO ALL OF YOU!
EACH MONTH THE MEMBER OF THE MONTH WILL ANSWER FIVE QUESTIONS FOR OUR BLOG- THE FIRST THREE ARE STANDARD QUESTIONS WE ASK EVERYONE, AND THE LAST TWO ARE SPECIFIC TO THAT CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR. WE HOPE YOU ENJOY JESSICA'S ANSWERS!
Q1 What is your favorite part of being a creative (or creative entrepreneur) in Memphis?
I grew up in a creative family (as the oldest of seven kids) in Memphis. My dad taught my brother and me to draw as children, so we were always doodling and my parents encouraged us to be creative and to think and question things. I think art and music encourage creativity in thinking and I want my own children to have that experience.
I truly believe that art makes a difference in a community - including Memphis. When you share who you are with the world in an effort to minimize differences and maximize beauty and encourage others, the world changes for the better - one person at a time. I use art to tell people that they are loved, they are good enough, I am with them in their journey.
Q2 What is your favorite part of your creative business?
The flexibility and the collaboration with other artists. I feel like I can figure things out for myself and learn from other people. If I mess up, I'm only responsible for myself (at the moment). I like to be free to try new things and experiment. I like change. When you go into a corporate environment, things are hard to change because there are traditions and because people are afraid of change. That can be fun and challenging too, but it can also be draining and burn you out when you have good ideas and aren't allowed to try them. Working creatively for myself means I am free.
Q3 What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to your first day of starting a business?
Don't quit. Be patient. Be kind to people (even when they aren't kind to you) and don't be afraid to engage with them. Or if you are afraid, be brave anyway. Get out there and do what you love to do and let people see it. Have confidence that there is value inside of you... and it will come out if you have the courage to work hard and show your work.
Q4 Your art with your kids is so beautiful and inspiring! Any tips on painting or crafting with family? Or instilling creativity in your children?
I read this book by Malcolm Gladwell and in it, he says that children become readers - not by having books available to them, not by reading a lot as a child, not by being read to - but by seeing their parents reading. You've probably heard the phrase - "More is caught than taught." It's true. If your children see you being creative, they will often want to join in. All you have to do is be brave enough to create and willing to let your children join you and make messes in your house. ;)
I would also recommend that you make creative materials available to your children and encourage them to try new things. Don't tell them they're doing it wrong - give them the opportunity to learn for themselves what works and doesn't. They may surprise you with what they discover. Children are much less inhibited and afraid than we as adult creatives are - which makes them more creative and bold in their choices. We have a lot to learn from them.
Q5 The colors in your work seriously blow us away. Where do you go for inspiration?
Thank you so much! I love color!
Have you ever said, "I have the blues" or "she's green with envy?" Did you know that some people actually associate color with emotion? It's one type of synesthesia. Synesthesia is when a person confuses two senses like sound (music/words) and sight (color). So I might hear a name and visualize a color that I associate with that person. I perceive much of the world through feeling and color and it comes out in my work. Each piece represents not just one emotion, but a progression of emotion - from fear to faith and from hopelessness to passion. I'm able to express my feelings through the use of color.
Synesthesia (I paint how I feel), combined with some simple color theory (often, complimentary colors) and some inspiration from other artists and nature - this is how I come up with colors.