Feature Friday: Oh Jessica Jessica

Happy Feature Friday!

meet-the-artist-2017This week we are featuring Jessica of Oh Jessica Jessica! She is an animator, character designer, illustrator and Etsy shop owner! Although she may be wearing many creative hats, all of her work is thoughtful in detail and meaning. Jessica hopes that all the characters she creates connect with people in some way. We love Jessica’s style and story, and if you’re on the search for some awesome pins or illustrations, look no further than Jessica’s shop!

 

Castle Logo: Tell us a few things about yourself!

meet-the-artist-2017: Hello! My name is Jessica Harris and I’m a Melbourne-based animation artist focused on narrative storytelling. I love bright colour, changing my hair style, and listening to songs on repeat. I live in a tiny one bedroom apartment with my partner, Adam, and right now my art studio is crammed into the corner of our lounge-room.

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Castle Logo: You have a pretty broad spectrum of talents when it comes to art! You animate, illustrate, create films, enamel pins, and do custom work — how did you discover you had a passion for all of the above?

meet-the-artist-2017: Thank you! I’ve always loved to draw, and I was lucky to have the support of family and friends. After high school I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (which was heavily theory based and often not the right fit for the kind of art I wanted to make). Then I had a retail job for a couple of years, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, working on personal projects and not having enough time to get much finished.

I relocated to Melbourne and focused my studies on animation, completing a Masters of Film and Television at the VCA. That’s where I created the short animated films you can watch on my website. After finishing my Masters, it was a matter of trying to keep that going, but there isn’t a huge 2D animation industry in Australia and although I picked up a few freelance jobs, it wasn’t enough to break away from retail completely. So I kept doing personal projects and odd jobs that were related to my skills. I just like to be creative, whether it’s drawing, sewing, writing, or crochet. If I don’t do something each day, I get a little down in the dumps.

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Castle Logo: How would you describe your aesthetic? Do you think your style translates the same to all the mediums you work with or does it vary based off of what type of art/project you’re doing?

meet-the-artist-2017: My aesthetic? Hmm, it’s always hard to see it yourself. I think it’s just a combination of the art I love and that influenced me when I was in my early twenties and playing around with different styles. I loved the Pre-Raphaelites when I was in high school, and then I got pretty heavily into anime and manga, so every now and then I’ll get someone say “oh I can tell you like Japanese comics and cartoons” which is cool. I also went through a realism phase, so it’s a mixed bag.

With my own work, I’d say I have a consistent style, in the colours I use and the expressive qualities (I really love to create characters that have depth and connect with people). For the commercial work I’ve done, my ability to copy other styles came in handy. I think you need flexibility with animation and illustration sometimes, especially because you’ll be working with other people. It might mean putting the ego away to get the best result. Sometimes I prefer restrictions like that. When you are making something for yourself, you can spend forever re-working things instead of getting it finished.

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Castle Logo: Whether it’s pins or prints, the characters you create all show a lot of personality and emotion! How do you get the character just right and what’s it like creating these expressive works of art?

meet-the-artist-2017: I love this question, because it’s one of the major things I focus on. I always hope that the expressions translate and convey to my audience. I like to try and create something that tells a story, even if it’s only a single image. And with the pins, it’s also a necessity. There are so many great artists making awesome designs, I have to push myself to make something unique, that will connect with people. Sassy ferret is by far the most popular design right now.

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Castle Logo: You have quite the pin collection yourself! What about enamel pins draws you to them and do you have a favorite pin out of your Etsy shop?

meet-the-artist-2017: It was somewhat accidental. I was drawing, and watching some videos on Skillshare to try and refresh my Adobe Illustrator skills. There was a video about using the pen tool with an exercise in making a pin design. I thought it would be a lot of fun, and since then I’ve totally fallen in love with it (and the great community of designers and collectors).

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Castle Logo: Some of your Etsy fans may not know you also create amazing animated films. Explain the crazy amount of work that goes behind an animated film and how you felt when your films were screened at festivals.

meet-the-artist-2017: Most of my animations were on 2’s. If you break it down, for each second of animation I would create 12.5 images. Whether it’s a drawing (2D) or a photo (Stopmotion) it’s definitely not a medium for the impatient! My film Crochet Noir was made in my last year of study and I think we did the shoot in 6 weeks. I was pulling really long days at that point, and Adam was helping me make the sets while I was filming and editing. We were both very tired, but very happy at the end of the year.

It’s exciting to think about the festivals that screened my work. Unfortunately, because I live in Australia, it meant there were very few festivals I could actually attend, but it’s a really cool experience.

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Castle Logo: You also do custom illustration work! What’s the most fun and most challenging part about creating something specifically for an individual?

meet-the-artist-2017: I’ve done a handful of custom illustrations (only started those recently). Overall, it’s a really nice experience, especially the couples’ portraits. I love to draw romantic subject matter, and it’s nice to draw something positive and happy. The most challenging part would be getting the likenesses accurate. Everyone sees themselves in a certain way, and getting that right can take a bit of time.
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Castle Logo: How has the reception of your work been since you started selling it? Greatest feedback or most proud moment you’ve had?

meet-the-artist-2017: Since I started selling prints and pins at markets, I’ve had really positive feedback. The pin community, in particular, is so supportive and full of female creators like myself. It’s awesome that so many women have taken this medium and run with it!

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Castle Logo: What are you looking forward to next with Ohjessicajessica? Any exciting future plans for 2017?!

meet-the-artist-2017: I’ve got a few markets planned for 2017, so I’ll be getting new prints and pins drawn up. I’m also hoping to launch my first comic, All My Crushes, online in the next couple of months.
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Castle Logo: Any advice for other makers out there?

meet-the-artist-2017: Keep going! It’s a long journey for some people, but if you stop, then pick things up again in 20 or 30 years, that’s decades of skill-building you can’t get back. I see it happen a lot because I work in an art-supplies store. Many people don’t have the support to pursue art as a career (or even a hobby), but they feel a little emptier without it. I know I would. ❤


To learn more about Jessica and to shop her work visit the links below!

Website: www.ohjessicajessica.com

Etsy: www.etsy.com/au/shop/Ohjessicajessica

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ohjessicajessica/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ohjessicajessica

Tapastic (to find Jessica’s comic!): https://tapastic.com/series/Allmycrushes

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