Nope not a new look or anything, and we are still three more to the season finale. So why the change? Well, before I went to see the super talented Jessica (who I met through to the lovely Chloe Lodge) I did a bit of research (I had to sound like I knew what I was doing you see). The Oxford Dictionary defines the term “Art” as – The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power and an “Artist” as – A person who creates paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby. Of course the terms have evolved and now an acceptable “informal” definition is – a person who habitually practises a specified reprehensible activity. I felt that between Jessica and Chloe both the “formal” and “informal” definitions were well taken care off. How could I then, possibly use my “design” for this feature?? Makes more sense now right? It should also give you a sneak peek of sorts on the magic the both of them created that morning. Go on now, feast your eyes!
Hey Jessica! So nice to have finally met you! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hey all! My name is Jessica Watson-Thorp, and I’m an Australian mother of four. I’ve called the Middle East my home for the past 13 years, moving around the region. I grew up in a small farming town in the far south of Australia; very different to the environment I live in now. Aside from my work and children I love to swim and practice the art of yoga. Right now I’m living in one of the best cities in the world. Dubai has a great mix of fast paced pulse and slow cruise where Emirati tradition meets cutting edge innovation. You can achieve anything here in Dubai. The sky is the limit!
And other than being an “Expat Mommy”???
I am a professional Fine Artist and art has always been my passion, my TRUE love. I work with colour and specialise in bespoke and personally commissioned paintings. I particularly love connecting with the lives and experiences of women. I paint about birth, pregnancy, love, loss, death, children, connection and the beauty of life.
I deliver my paintings to clients both here in the UAE and also ship them across the globe. I have a piece jetting off to Cape Town this month and another off to London in a few weeks time.
Artist! Such a romantic term isn’t it. But does the romance fade?. What keeps you going?
Being an Artist is my life’s calling and passion. My drive to create fuels me. I love working with my hands, and I especially enjoy seeing colour running through them.
My decision to work professionally in my field was a big risk, with no steady pay packet or security. There are always some people around you that tell you that you ‘can’t’, but I believe you have to be true to yourself, to follow your calling. Your work (or for me the art I produce) will then always shine with passion, movement and life. People can see this passion in my work and they connect to it. This is what keeps me going.
So the romance did not fade! Nice! What has kept the fire burning?
It sounds funny but my passion and drive to create has always just ‘been there’. I love to immerse myself in colour, texture, shape and rhythm. I HAVE to do it! When I was a child I was always experimenting, exploring pencil and charcoal, line drawings, pastels and crayons, inks and papers and printing, clay, hand building and sculpture, mixed media, watercolours and oils and finally, acrylics.
My Grandmother was an artist, and she taught me to work in oils from the age of five or six, but at University my work took on a faster pace and I found the drying times repressive so I made the switch to acrylics. This medium is the most important and expressive at this point in my career.
Life experiences have greatly influenced my work. A year spent in South Africa observing the many cultural groups, especially the Ndebele, fostered my use of strong and saturated colour. As I became more experienced in life, personal encounters started to influence my work. My relationships, my pregnancies, the birth of my children, the tragic death of a friend, fun times, low times, connections with people and the intimate relationships that we form with each other; it all comes together and comes out in my work.
So the passion has always been there, but it is constantly evolving, gaining shape and depth and changing dimension. This is what I bring to my work now, whether it be a piece for a new series or a show at a Gallery, or a very personal commission for a special client.
But where is that twist? No love story is ever complete without one!
That is true. So when I studied painting at University, we weren’t taught business skills. Being an Artist and running a business based on this is no different to any other business. We need these skills! This is something that I am learning ‘on the job’ and I must say it’s a continual learning curve. However, if you’re not learning, you’re not living!
I wouldn’t say working in the creative industries is easy. You think very differently to those in the corporate world, yet you need to be able to bridge this gap and relate if you are going to get out there in the world.
Being an Artist has its challenges.
Ah there is the twist! So tell me, have you faced any difficulties as a woman and do you think it is any different or easier if it were a man in your position.
This is a difficult one! Yes it is different.
I believe being a woman has so many bonuses and I am proud of my gender. I feel I am enriched by my experiences of a multi faceted life. I like to FEEL and experience everything that life throws at me, and I will strive to succeed regardless of what my gender is. However, as history shows women still have an uphill battle when it comes to recognition, in the arts as well as business and politics. A fine example of this are the outrageous comments we see coming out of the presidential debates in the United States leading up to the election, in 2016 no less!
I follow and support ‘The Guerilla Girls’, a shifting collective of feminist artist activists who expose sexism, racism and corruption across the arts. They act globally and target the large well-known creative institutions. They regularly name and shame galleries that don’t show enough women artists and critics who don’t write enough about them. Posters display slogans such as “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum. They reveal the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair using facts, humor and outrageous visuals. I have personally seen their work in both New York City and London and am in full support of what they do. Why should we be put on a back foot simply because we have the capacity to birth children and lead a more multi faceted life? Check them out ladies at http://www.guerrillagirls.com
I am dedicated to succeeding not only as an Artist but as a woman Artist.
And you walk hand in hand to sunset! Future plans?
I have so many! Changing jobs is not an option for me so I want to realize my dreams as an Artist. On a professional level this means gaining global recognition, travelling with my work and exhibiting across the globe, sharing my talents and fostering creativity in others via workshops and corporate events AND always enjoying the creative process. Personally it means having the time to watch my children strive for and meet their own goals. As I live for my work I love to blend it into my everyday and family life. This will always be a part of my future.
Commissions are a large part of what I do and I take orders globally with 7 paintings to do and ship before the middle of December. I exhibit twice a year both in Dubai and around the world. My next show is at Agora Gallery in New York City in March next year, and I am affiliated with a small gallery in London.
I work at events for businesses, exhibiting, speaking about creativity and running practical mini workshops for guests. People in the corporate world love this as it’s something completely different and this kind of experience usually takes you straight back to your roots and connects you to your subconscious.
I have also recently launched bespoke workshops for women where they can spend some time in the Studio connecting to their creative self, via COLOUR and collage, watercolour, ink and printing, and acrylic. I’m very excited about running my first ladies only workshops this month, they are already booked out!
How awesome is that! How do we follow your work or get in touch with you?
I am most active on Instagram so please follow me @jwtjessicawatsonthorp or on Facebook JWT Jessica Watson-Thorp. For a more formal view and to learn more about my background please visit http://www.jessicawatsonthorp.com Here you can subscribe to receive invitations to my exhibitions and quarterly Newsletters (I don’t like to bombard people). You can also sign up for one of my upcoming creative workshops.
I most certainly have followed her, almost feel like a stalker by now!!!! Thank You Jessica, I love your art as much as I love the images of them! Chloe how do I thank thee???? Both Jessica and I can agree the pictures are stunning! And of course, the entire blog goes so well with my color theme 😀