Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Jessica now lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. She was kind enough to grant Art is fun this extremely informative interview, in which she shares with us the creative process behind her uniquely addictive funky art style.
How would you describe your style?
My style is quirky and colorful, and I like to think that there is often a message of hope and abundance beneath the whimsical, decorative surface.
Why or how did you begin working in this style? What initially inspired your style?
I started working in this style in January 2008, so not too long ago! My work was quite different before that. It was inspired by a couple different things, but mainly I started using india ink in my work and it changed everything. And then one day I decided to add a figure to a painting for some reason (my work had no figures before this), and I fell in love with it, so all of a sudden my work was figurative. It was a huge surprise to me, but the change was so inspiring! I think I was just ready to grow in a new direction, and this style really feels right to me.
It evolves and grows all the time! I think the biggest change really has been starting to create figurative work. At the same time as this change, my work also became more personal, so in a way it's very autobiographical and concerns my daily thoughts/fears/feelings. My work is constantly evolving and is always related to my daily life and experience.
What do you like best about working in this style?
I love that I get to explore my feelings and thoughts through my paintings. I also really combining different media (india ink, paint, block printing, etc.), because it's less monotonous than sticking to one thing.
Can you describe your technique in creating these artworks?
Well, I usually start by hand-printing the background with linoleum block stamps that I carve. Then, oftentimes I'll just sit in front of the piece until an image or idea pops into my head. Then I sketch things out in pencil and trace over with india ink when I'm ready. Then comes the paint! Sometimes I'll layer more things on top of all that, but the piece really dictates what it needs at that point.
How much preplanning is involved in your artwork? Do you know beforehand what it will look like when it's finished?
There is no preplanning in my work. I NEVER know what it's going to look like, and I really like that surprise. Sometimes it seems like I didn't even really create the piece, but it sort-of created itself through me Does that sound crazy?
Where do you get your ideas for your artwork?
Out of thin air! And also from my daily life experiences and thoughts. :)
Why do you work in mixed media? What do you like best about it?
I work in mixed media because I get bored doing the same thing for too long, and I like that I can mix and match techniques and materials. I love when the combination of material create unexpected results!
India ink, acrylic paint, gouache, oil paint, cut paper, linoleum block printing, hand-carved rubber stamps, glitter, and photocopy transfers.
How do you choose your colors?
It's all very intuitive. There's really no formula. I love combining colors in unique ways, so that's always in the back of my mind.
How do you choose your patterns?
Also very intuitive! I sketch patterns and designs in my sketchbook, and then I turn some of them into stamps and blocks for printing. There is really no rhyme or reason to which pattern I choose for each piece.
Do you have any tips for artists who want to create art that combines different styles in the same artwork?
I think just playing is really important! I had a professor that once said to me "you have to make the bad art in order to make the good art", and I think that's really good advice-- just play with materials and how you can combine them and see what happens! And make that bad art so the good art can come out! I've made plenty of bad paintings in my life. ;)
Jessica's funky art is sheer delight for the eyes and mind! Big thanks to Jess for granting such an insightful interview, which is sure to inspire anyone looking to work in mixed media. You can see more of Jessica's artwork at her website: www.jessgonacha.com. She sells original artwork, prints, and other artsy goodies in her etsy shop. You can keep up to date with her newest creations at her flickr or her blog.