Don't you love it when you come across someone whose work just makes you feel amazed at the artistic talents of the human race these days? That's how I felt and still feel when I see the work of Jessica Gowling aka. Nature is My Friend. I first met Jessica through the wonder of Twitter and have been exceedingly lucky to receive mail art from her and send some (not so great) art of my own through to her! I'm currently working on an extremely (sorry!) belated package for her and hope that whilst I'm putting it all together this lovely interview will go some way to apologising for my slackness! Plus I really want you all to see just what it is about Jessica's work that's so wonderful......
Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
My name is Jessica Gowling aka nature's my friend. I am a printmaker, artist, blogger and nature lover. I grew up on the west side of Canada in both Alberta & British Columbia, and am currently living in a small town called 100 mile house.
Who/what influences what you create?
Wild animals, line, process, detail, nature, texture, environment, time, voids, fleeting moments, drawing, touch, learning, memory, intimacy, nostalgia, narrative, chance, love, anatomy, letters, postage stamps and Canadiana collectively motivate my practice. I also love scouring through books, walking outside in the woods and making/devouring delicious home cooked meals whenever I'm in need of some added inspiration.
How do you decide on a subject for an illustration/artwork?
It is most often an animal, and I have to be connected to it in a certain way; an encounter, a touching story, etc. This feeling informs the drawing, but it is not always the SUBJECT. I tend to call a lot of my work animal portraiture, as I truly enjoy capturing details, feelings or extended moments of reality that center around the many wonderful creatures in our world.
What's been the most exciting thing that's happened in your career so far?
It was really fun to have my work and studio published in two different magazines last year. I was also really proud of myself for doing a giant trade show with 300+ artisans/handmade vendors in a convention center in Vancouver last winter; it was a lot of hard work, but worth every positive encounter and all of the tidbits of knowledge for the future of my art business.
What made you choose art/illustration as an outlet for your creativity?
I always enjoyed drawing throughout my entire childhood, but had never really considered it as a career path. It wasn't until I was forced into post secondary by my parents, studied a year of a business communications degree and noticed how much I missed drawing and creating. I applied as a transfer student to pursue a Bachelors degree in the Fine Arts and was at ACAD the following semester. I graduated in 2010 and have been pursuing a career as an artist ever since.
If you weren't an artist/illustrator what job would you love to do?
I would love to work for the post office, either as a clerk or as a mail carrier (as another one of my creative outlets is sending mail and art through the postal system). I'd also happily be a librarian surrounded by books all day long.
If you could create images for any book in the world which one would you choose and why?
That is such a hard question... I'd love to illustrate any narrative book about animals. Some of my favorite books are those that include short stories about incredible creatures like "animals you will never forget," "bedside book of birds" or "bedside book of beasts." I also really enjoy well written animal science books that talk about particular behaviours in species like "wild heritage or "mysterious senses." A chance to draw a wide variety of feathered, scales and fur covered beasts would be exciting.
Whose work do you admire and want to adorn your walls?
My two friends are married illustrators and they are the most creative and quirky team: lovefromPete&Jo. It may not be everyone's taste for DECORATING, but I am a fanatic for their unique awesomeness and would happily plaster their pieces all over my place (in fact 2 are on my walls already). If I had to pick someone "famous" Kiki Smith's art everywhere wouldn't be half bad either.
What’s the best thing about doing what you do?
Enjoying "work" every day. Also being able to share my personal imagery, thoughts and adventure with others. Knowing that many people admire, use and enjoy things that I have created with my own two hands, is also endlessly rewarding. Meeting other creatives or animal lovers who appreciate and relate to what I do.
What does the future hold for your work?
I hope only bigger and better things! I am hopeful that my small art business will continue to grow with more online sales, art fairs, gallery shows and farmers markets that I continue to be a part of. There are so many beautiful creatures in the world that continue to inspire me, and not enough time in the day to make a momento of them all, so I always have ideas swirling in my head for future projects.
Thank you to those who have supported me, continue to do so, or who have just met me and took the time to read this article or visit my Etsy shop. Big thanks also to Jules for taking time to do this lovely feature.
Thank you so much to Jessica for taking part and writing such brilliant answers, it's pretty cool being able to find out what makes artistic folk tick! It never fails to amaze me at how wonderful I feel each time I feature another wonderful artist in Doodler's Corner, it's such an honour to share their thoughts and work with everyone!
If you'd like to be featured in Doodler's Corner please drop me an email to : firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat about it! :)