If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you’ve heard me wax all the poetry about my sweet friend Jess Blazejewski. She came on board a few months ago to help me behind the scenes with all things blog related, and the woman never ceases to amaze me. There is nothing she touches that doesn’t instantly transform to gold, and that rings most true when it comes to her art. Soft, romantic, and utterly beautiful, I feel beyond honoured to have her here today sharing a behind the scenes peek. And make sure you check out her site! All of her art is up for grabs, and couldn’t be more reasonably priced.
If there are any other makers or entrepreneurs you’d like me to feature in this series, please let me know in the comments below. And feel free to check out the others right here.
When did you first discover art? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I’ve always been drawn to painting and drawing, since I was very young. I even got my Bachelor’s in Fine Art, but after graduating I began working in creative positions that were more art-adjacent, because that felt more “practical”. There is very little information on how to make a career of being an artist and the message seems to be that only a few lucky ones can stumble into it. I only gathered the courage to admit to myself that this is still what I really wanted to do, and to try this as a real career, after the birth of my son. I’m so glad I did- there is truly nothing as exhilarating as the challenge of trying to express the beauty of nature on canvas or paper.
Where is your workspace and what do you love most about it?
My husband and I carved out a room in our itty-bitty house to be my studio, and I don’t even think I realized how necessary it was until we officially designated it my workspace. The more I use it, the more I find having a private space to explore and experiment is an absolutely essential element in creating new artwork.
What I love most is having a desk by the window. It sounds simple but just having bright daylight and a bit of a view really energizes me. I will likely need to expand to something more legit at some point, but for now, with my schedule being so intertwined with my family’s, it’s really nice to be able to pop in and out.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I had been working as a stylist for Style Me Pretty for several years, which was such an amazing experience and really scratched a lot of creative itches. But a certain point, I realized I wanted complete creative control over the work I was making. And that I really, really missed the time I had been able to devote to actually painting and drawing when I was a student, when it wasn’t a hobby like it had to be when I was working full time. As I got further into figuring out how to make a career as an artist, I realized there’s a lot I love about business- even the things that terrified me at first, like finances. It really clicks with my organizational and planning nature.
What is the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
To figure out what motivates you, so that you can design your business accordingly. Your goals for your business will be different if what you value most is your time, versus your creative control, or making money. I got this from Shanna Skidmore’s Blueprint Model course, which I highly recommend!
When your creativity well has run dry, what do you do to get inspired again?
I delve deep into inspiring imagery (I absolutely adore Pinterest for this)! I always make sure that I’m looking at work that is neither painting or drawing, but in other areas that inspire me: interior design, sculpture, floral design, fashion, photography, etc. When you are looking at the work of other creators in your specific field, you end up doing a mental dance with envy that just breeds insecurity and unoriginal work. When you look to other fields, that’s when you find elements like the subtle curve of a hand, or the unfurling of a petal that spark a new idea. I actually keep an inspiration board of just these type of images and when I take a moment to look through, I always find something that makes me curious and excited to begin something new.
What colors, textures, and materials are inspiring you right now?
Subtle layered neutrals, the deckled edge of handmade papers, and translucent elements like vellum or veils.
How has motherhood affected your business?
It is the single biggest influence, both positively and negatively (and sometimes both at once!). After I had my son in 2014, I went through a long period of postpartum depression that left me feeling clueless as to who I was. Part of recovering was rebuilding my identity from scratch, and that was when I realized that I still really wanted to be an artist. It’s a life change that has me musing on what it means to be a woman and a mother and I can’t wait to put even more of that into my artwork.
On the other hand, trying to run a business while parenting a little one (with a second on the way) means a LOT of juggling and adjusting. I just don’t have the same amount of time I would have to give it my all if I wasn’t a mother. It can be frustrating to feel like I am working in slow-motion at times, and at other times, it’s amazing to have the flexibility and bandwidth to focus on my family, or my own health, when I need to. And nothing makes you up your time-management skills like parenting.
What’s your advice for someone wanting to become an artist?
Pay more attention to the artists who are actually making it happen than the naysayers who make it sound like an impossible dream. Put your energy towards getting really clear on your aesthetic and your influences, without judgement. Your specific taste combined with your unique style of mark-making will become your secret sauce. Make lots and lots of work, then make a concrete business plan- be strategic, and GO FOR IT! Decide it’s possible and stick with it through the ups and the downs.
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for…
The steadfast support of my husband, and postpartum depression- yeah, I never thought I’d be grateful for that either, but there’s nothing like clawing your way out of a pit to make you discover who you really are!
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