Mandatory Expression: Jessica Springman

Talk Happy Holidays! Here is a treat for you – an interview with artist Jessica Springman. Jessica’s art is hypnotizing. She describes her style as “Vennism – breaking apart multivariate reality into constituent and relational elements as separated and nested 2D representations.”

Jessica Art1

Jessica, what is your “catalyst”(what guilty pleasure inspires you, what fuels your work)?

In general, my mood drives my art — especially if I’m drawing for myself.  I work best under pressure and my most detailed work is typically done when whatever I’m feeling is most intense – whether I’m happy in love or angry as hell. I often have five or six pieces all going at once (at the time of this blog, there are nine in progress) and this is because I am also my own worst critic. If I were to feel guilty about anything, it wouldn’t be what inspires me, but all the “perfectly good” work – as my friends and family describe it – that I’ve thrown away over the years. I made a promise to myself a short while ago to stop throwing my art away when I get frustrated with it, and simply put it away.

What piece of technology makes your creative life easier?

All of my art is rendered entirely by hand.

I appreciate the camera on my iPhone for taking quick pictures to send to galleries, art competitions, publishers, agencies, to post on my website, Facebook site, etc. I also like to take pictures of my drawings in progress. It helps me see where the drawing is balanced (or not) and where the shadows need to be darker.


What frustrates you the most as a creative person?

There are three things that frustrate me most:

1) Not having enough time to concentrate on my art. This is huge. I’m a single mother of two and I have a “real job” that takes up most of the day. This leaves nights and the odd weekend to create. I don’t sketch as a personal rule, so a lot of ideas and that come to me either get filed away in the massive storage system in my brain (where they can only hope to be dusted off at a later date), or they are simply lost.

2) Not being able to find paper at the size I want. I like paper that’s 185LB or more, and up until a few years ago, was content to draw on standard size 16” x 20” sheets originally intended for acrylic painting. But now, almost all of my work ends up on 32” x 40” sheets of illustration board. Roll paper isn’t found at the weight I want. Recently, I’ve struck up conversations with a few paper manufacturers – Weyerhaeuser, French, Neenah, Canson, and Grumbacher — to see how they might help.

3) Not knowing what to charge for my art. My work is very detailed and rendered entirely by hand. The largest pieces typically take between 100-150 hours to complete from start to finish. The illustration board and pens I use are not cheap. And don’t even get me started on the cost to frame them properly!

578440_579651668767350_1585917391_nWhat is the last thing you splurged on to help boost your creative productivity?

I listen to all sorts of music while I draw – from Pavarotti to Nine Inch Nails to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Keith Urban to Royal Bliss. It doesn’t boost my productivity per se, but it keeps me company (as art is a rather solitary passion) and it gives my friends something to share with me while I’m sharing my art with them. I recently upgraded my subscriptions to Pandora and Spotify to get rid of the annoying commercials. I also spend copious amounts of money buying albums and individual tracks off iTunes.

I am also an art paper junkie. It is nearly impossible for me to go to an art store and not buy some kind of paper. I recently spent $200 on 10 sheets of handmade rice paper from China. I currently possess 15 watercolor blocks, 10 pads of 16” x 20” acrylic paper, 30 sheets of 32” x 40” illustration board, and Lord only knows how many 18” x 24” sheets of professional grade Windsor & Newton watercolor paper.

421253_514088228657028_361061947_nPlease share a small tip or a word of wisdom with our artist-readers – something that you’ve learned through your experience as an artist.

When it’s ready, get your work out there! Don’t be afraid to share your art and don’t ever let anyone tell you it isn’t good enough! I gave away the power to decide what was “good enough” and didn’t start sharing my art until I was in my late 30’s. I regret this. So my word of wisdom for all of you… Let people critique your work, but learn to take only what you need from their comments, and let the rest go. Not everything you create is ready to be hung in a gallery or published, but everything you create is personal, and it all has value. Use the feedback you get and learn to cultivate what the world wants vs. what you think the world needs. It changes constantly!


Tell me you are not inspired after reading this? If you would like to keep up with Jessica and her art projects, please Like her Facebook page.

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