Jess’s story is one of triumph over adversity. Breaking her back at the prime of her life and needing a spinal fusion has taught Jess to appreciate the simpler things in life. An accomplished photographer, Interior designer and Artist.
This delightful young woman is exactly who I love to showcase on the creative series. It was a pleasure to learn more about Jess’s creative journey and I am sure you will be inspired by her story, as well as her incredible artwork.
Firstly can you tell me a little about yourself?
I'm Jess, I'm 25 years old and from the Central Coast of NSW. I grew up in a large and loving family and was always told to do whatever I wanted in life as long as it made me happy, every, single day. So that's what I do! My journey to becoming an artist has been a little all over the place and never something I could have imagined.
I went from painting as a hobby and working full time, while also studying Interior Design to being in a wheelchair, awaiting surgery and this is where my love for painting was reignited. It was one thing I felt I could still do, so I made the most of it. "If you can, you must." Now I spend my days painting, surfing (this is very new and something I'm just learning again), avoiding magpies and exploring as much of this beautiful world with my boyfriend as possible. I consider myself one of the luckiest humans alive.
What inspires your creative vision?
Growing up by the beach, camping and being outdoors is something that will always inspire my creative vision. I love painting animals and plants and feel so lucky to be in a position where my work can remind everyone to appreciate the simple things in life and the beauty around them. I'm also heavily inspired by love. It's my favourite thing ever so creating for weddings, baby showers etc puts the biggest smile on my face and is something I'll never take for granted.
Do you have any projects you working on right now?
Always! I'm still learning how to balance client work and my own creative work but at the moment I'm working on some wedding invitations and stationery, a birth poster, painting a surfboard and some prints which will be available soon!
What's the most indispensable item needed for your work?
Paint and a brush! I love experimenting with different surfaces and have been doing that a lot lately so am more than happy to paint on anything I can get my hands on!
The first piece of artwork you ever sold?
It was a watercolour flamingo. My cousin knew I painted for a hobby and asked me to commission a piece for her friends baby shower. I posted a photo of it and then all of a sudden people started messaging me. I had zero intentions of ever selling art, so it was very surreal.
Which Artists have influenced or inspired you?
I wouldn't really say any artists influence me as such, I find if I let this happen I fall into the comparison trap. Artists that inspire me however, there are SO many!! I'll just mention two of my favourites. First would be Bonnie Gray. She's also from the Central Coast (she has no idea who I am, I just fan girl hard) and the way she creates with colours and tells stories is incredible and so different to anything I've seen.
Secondly, Zaria Forman. She is probably the most insane artist I've ever come across and a very good reminder to always create for a reason. Her works document climate change and the skill she has is out of this world. When I first found her page on Instagram I thought she was a photographer. She is amazing!!
You tend to favour watercolour why is this your favourite medium and do you enjoy working with other artistic mediums?
Yes, I certainly do. I don't think I really have any kind of inspiring answer for that. If I'm being completely honest, when I graduated high school I took home some watercolour paints (Sorry Mrs Finn.) and still have that palette and paint with it today. So I guess watercolour was the only medium I had at home for when I was bored and wanted to paint. I fell in love with it, the way the colours spread into each other and the pastel, soft colouring of it.
I think it's also a good medium to teach you to work with your mistakes. You can't paint over something the way you can with acrylic. Lately I've found myself enjoying acrylics more and more but don't like the amount of waste that comes with it. Watercolours last so much longer and don't come in plastic, so this also influences my choices. Although painting surfboards is one of my absolute favourite things ever and I use acrylic paint pens to do this.
Did you study art or are you self taught?
I did art for my HSC but actually did photography for my body of work. I never had intentions of being an "artist" so everything has been self taught. I'm actually a qualified Interior Designer however, I broke my back and have some life long side effects which restricts what I can and can't do for work. I'm so grateful it happened, I wouldn't be painting for a job otherwise. I think the universe tried to give me subtle hints over the years and I never took them, so was thrown a huge curve ball to make me pursue painting instead haha.
You go on some incredible road trips what do you enjoy most about this lifestyle?
Ahhh I don't even know where to start! Everything, absolutely everything. Mostly the simplicity. I've always enjoyed the simple things in life but the last couple of years I've learnt to appreciate them even more. Just over a year ago I had a really close call with melanoma. I fortunately was insanely lucky and all I lost was half an ear, but it really taught me how short life is and that we don't know what's around the corner.
I love seeing more of my beautiful country and the world with people I love (especially my boyfriend, Stefan and Alex & Loz from Will and Bear). I love cooking over a camp fire and all the ocean swims. I love sleeping under the stars and being reminded of how small you really are in this insanely large world. I love the unknown (something that's taken me a while to come to terms with) but being okay with the unknown is one of the most freeing feelings in the world and being on a road trip with no set plan excites me. I love meeting people along the way and hearing their stories. I think there is so much to gain from something as simple as chucking a mattress or small tent in the car, grabbing some groceries and driving wherever your heart leads.
Where can people buy your work?
On my website! www.jessicamay-creative.com and on there is a shop page (which is currently awaiting new works) and a contact form for any commissions etc!
Finally do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Create from a place of love and joy and remember that not everyone will love your work. And that's a very good thing. Stay true to yourself.
You produce your best art when it's aligned with your heart.
If you would like to see more of Jess’s adventures.