Hi JáSki! Welcome to our Creator Series Q&A – Tell us a bit about your background, creative mission, and why Art & freedom of expression are priorities for you.
A: As a child, I created these Abstract pieces that resembled the stained-glass windows in churches. I’ve always had a love for colors and beautiful spaces.
I started at the Art Institute of Washington as an Interior Design student. After being offered a low-paying interior design internship, I decided to look at other options to generate income. It was important for people to be surrounded by beautiful things in beautiful spaces, so I wanted to inspire colorful and vibrant spaces for people to live and work. My professors loved my Abstract artworks and thought they were unique enough to be viewed publicly. I decided to take it further and explore providing original art pieces and paintings to influence and complement design and decor. I knew I wasn’t going to be an Interior Designer – I didn’t want to anymore – but maybe I could provide items and inspiration to the world’s designers.
The more Abstract Artwork I created, the more I realized that the creative process was transforming me and my thoughts. I had to think beneath the surface when viewing my paintings. I had to ask myself, what did I see? How did I feel about it? It made me better, and I identified a pretty complex person within. Art has been a catalyst for me to explore my thoughts. Art, in all of its forms, should be something that causes everyone to take a look within. It doesn’t matter if you are the creator or just observing and enjoying. It’s something that happens automatically. I wanted to invite people to take a moment away from all the world’s distractions. Those distractions drown out the little voice inside of us. To connect with their inner selves, to hear what that voice was saying.
I started having Art exhibitions in some of the local galleries and got an idea while walking past a rug store in downtown DC that I could turn my Art into rugs. I wanted to see how my Art would look on the floor. Couldn’t the floor be Art? I created the AmberRugs, and they sold out! That was my 1st successful Entrepreneurial debut. It came with errors, lessons learned, and a hefty price tag. But the clients that own these rugs are beyond happy with the product. I like to say that they are the best Abstract designer rugs!
Q: How does creativity play into your goals as an artist and what do you enjoy most about creating new artwork?
A: Creativity is everything. It’s a spirit that requires boldness to follow, and the nature of creativity has genuinely been a blessing in my life. As I navigated Art school, my confidence increased with each piece of artwork I completed. Some liked it, and some did not. I listened to those who “got it” and developed a style encompassing the best aspects of my work that they reacted positively to. Those were my people.
With creating new artwork, I find it best to create when I feel inspired strictly. I don’t want to be paid to paint a particular thing or way. I want to create what I feel inspired to see. I can’t rush or force creativity because it’s a slow journey unfolding before me. I never have an idea of what I will paint next. I truly enjoy and thrive on freely creating things, especially CRAZY-looking things people like and relate to. I love to hear what people see in my Art. The viewers often give me different definitions that they believe apply to my Art, and I love hearing the feedback. It gives meaning to my thoughts and creations.
Q: Tell us about your latest collection! Abstract Eye Art Collection
A: The Abstract Eye Collection is a series of 40 original works dedicated to examining the human eye at a microscopic level. I always felt that creating a cohesive body of similar but not the same artworks was important. The thought of examining a human eye and how different each eye would be fascinated me. It’s the attention drawn to the various colors, lines, and shapes that could make up the windows of the soul.
It’s one of those things I imagine I would see under a microscope. Then there’s a spiritual element in it relating to eyes. Things in space look like eyes to me. It’s an open-ended concept.
Because no two eyes are the same – not even your own, each artwork is uniquely different. The color contrast is fun to follow in every piece, and when shown together in a pair or more, their uniformity – amid each singular expression – can be awe-inspiring.
Q: What’s your go to exercise or an inspiration tool that you use to stay motivated on the days you don’t feel inspired?
A: A good love life, high kicks, good music. Being constantly surrounded by Art keeps me inspired. I also read and listen to inspirational and educational things daily.
Q: As a creative, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of challenges – how did you overcome any obstacles that have gotten in the way?
A: Every day can be a challenge sometimes, right? I remember dealing with little to no money early in my art career – the normal struggling artist! My car broke down once, and I had to travel to Eastern Market in DC on the train with my Art. My young daughter and I trekked on the train with my canvasses, hoping to get lucky enough to sell a piece of Art to get us through. A few times, I remember leaving the Go-Go in DC late at night and going straight to Eastern Market to sleep in my car for a few hours to get the best spot for my Art to be seen by the most people. The earlier you got to Eastern Market as a vendor, the better your spot. We would start lining up at 5 am. That grind shaped my career and allowed some prestigious eyes to view my Abstract Artwork.
A certain grit is required to keep going and creating, whether you sell your work or not. I’ve stood outside with Art under a tent in the hot summer and even in the cold of winter. I believed in it that much. You must show up for yourself and your Art every chance you get. I’ve embarked on creating things with no idea of how I would fund the project, but with boldness and determination, everything is possible. You have to keep going.
Q: We appreciate you visiting with us on Creator Series! Before you go, tell us your favorite quote or mantra and why.
A: A quote I developed very early in my Art career is, “My Art is as Abstract as life is…”. Different things can look very different when you look at them from varying distances and perspectives. An onion looks one way in the store, another way when you cut it, and yet another way if you were to put a sliver of that onion under a microscope. It’s best not to judge anything that you see until you can examine the different aspects of it.
Connect with Jaski Watkins
Online store: https://jafel-design-llc.square.site/
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Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!