A Day in the Life of an Artist

Meet Jessica Camilli, artist, yoga teacher, and traveling Malabella girl {catch her in Denver this July for Wanderlust 108!!}. You may recognize her from our very first photo shoot to our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide, and so much more! She’s not only a dear friend of mine but an inspiration and muse for Malabella since the very beginning! She’s part punk, part bubbly inspiring light, and part badass artist!

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 What are your art roots?

 My parents are not visual artists but they did provide me with a very creative childhood. My mother was a modern dancer and my dad ran a Jazz club (where my mom still works). I grew up seeing countless Jazz performances, along with dances and plays my mother and godmother would take us to.  DC provided me with so much cultural exposure. My dad took my siblings and me in the backyard and taught us about astronomy and challenged us to think more expansively about the universe and our role in it. To say the least I had a lot of fodder for inspiration.  I have been drawing and scribbling down ideas for as long as I can remember. I consider myself incredibly privileged to have such understanding parents who supported my decision to go to art school and pursue art professionally.

What is your favorite medium to create with?

Although I do work a lot with ink and colored pencils, my favorite medium will always be oil paint. I am so enamored with the rituals of the medium. I find mixing a palette so soothing, the smell of linseed oil comforting and even the cleaning processes meditative. To me oils are much richer than acrylics and take you on more of a personal journey, forming a deeper connection to the painting.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently illustrating two children’s books, one of which I am also writing. Although I enjoy illustration, I do think of it as my “day job “, how I pay the bills. As far as personal projects go, I am currently working on a 14-painting series called “moldy kitchen.” All of the paintings are rendered in an illustrative manner using five colors of house paint. I am focusing on surreal imagery – kind of creepy kitschy stuff. I also tend to have at least ten back burner projects going on at a time. For example, I have a bunch of plans for colorful oil paintings on slabs of wood coated in epoxy resin – similar to the method I used in the “Mystic Triptych” painting you bought from me.  I’m also getting ready for my first gallery show since college in August at Myer Street Gallery {Richmond, VA} showing my playing card series.

What inspires you?

So many things. Things that are as terrible as they are beautiful. People who push the boundaries of social acceptance… Tiny moments of sweetness within the greater chaos of the world. Great acts of audacity. Really anything that pulls me out of the mundane and forces me to think in a different way.

Do you have any personal goals in art?

My short-term goals are to finish these books and get them published.  After that, I hope to apply for an artist residency so I can hone in on a more developed personal style. More broadly speaking, my main goal is to create art that is challenging and inspiring and to be able to support myself doing so.

How does your connection with your Malas tie into your process as an artist?

At least for me personally, being an artist can be incredibly chaotic. Balancing an already overactive mind with so many different projects, ideas, shows, commissions, forms of self-promotion, etc. can be incredibly overwhelming.  Although I do have an intensive background in Yoga, Malabella has really inspired me to clear my mind and set the alter of my workspace. I burn some Palo Santo and let the smoke waft around my studio. I grab my Stormy Seas Mala and take a moment to clear my mind and set a strong intention. I am so much more productive when I take the time to work from a place of calm.

What is your favorite mantra or intention? 

My favorite mantra is “confident, courageous, kind” as those are the qualities I aspire to embody in all things I do. My normal intention for getting ready for a work night is to “stay calm and focused”.

 

What empowers you? What connects you to your essence?

Yoga and creating art empower me. Nothing makes me feel more connected to who I am than creating a new piece of art. Especially one that took a lot of effort or growth to achieve.

What are your favorite parts of living in Virginia?

I love a lot of things about living in Virginia. I love having access to the diversity and culture of DC and Richmond, along with the natural serenity of the blue ridge mountains. I could be in a jazz club one night and be camping next to a lake under the stars the next. Or really in the same night if I wanted.

Sunrise or sunsets?

Definitely sunrise. Especially when you can see the moon setting at the same time.

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Website: www.jessicamilliart.bigcartel.com

Instagram: @Jessicamilliart

Email: jessica.camilli.art@gmail.com

Jessica is wearing the Cosmic Manifestation Mala & the Enlightened Moon Wrap from Malabella Jewels.

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