This week for our 10 Questions With section, we are excited to chat with Jessa Dupuis, a designer, illustrator and mixed media collage artist based on Vancouver Island, Canada.
Jessa’s sketchbooks filled with her unique work caught our eye, partially because we are biased fans of anybody using a sketchbook (wink wink) but mainly because her style is an intriguing combination of bold and modern, and then suddenly nostalgic and romantic. Hers is a colourful expression of the balance between everyday life and surreal dreams, or as described in her own words, weird art.
1) How did you get into art?
I’ve always loved drawing and colouring since I was little. My interest in art eventually evolved into a career in graphic design. I’ve had the privilege of working with great clients on design and illustration projects for the past 15 years. It was only about three years ago when my youngest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that I brought handmade art back into my life. A little bit of “art therapy” to help process and manage our new, drastic change in life.
2) Has anyone, or anything, in particular inspired your creativity and artistic passion?
So many people and things inspire me, it’s far too long a list to include them all here! In my top three are my husband Eli who helps make the time for me to create my art, my two arty kids – who create so freely and joyfully with anything (chalk, markers, paint, clay, random pieces of nature) – and my Thrive Art Studio group, an awesome gathering of women that not only inspire me, but push and encourage me along my art journey every. single. month.
3) How would you describe your personal style and aesthetic? I noticed you call your work “weird art” – can you tell us more about that?
I feel my style is ever evolving – at its core, I would describe it as a delicate balance of losing, winning, observing, wondering, letting go and reclaiming. I have a favourite quote from Ezra Croft: “People need art in their houses. Not bed bath and beyond dentist office art. They need weird stuff.” The first time I laid eyes on that quote, I took it to heart and gave myself the space to make art I wanted to make (and my heart definitely favours the weird and fantastic bits of life).
4) What themes do you pursue?
I suppose in a very broad way I pursue the stories of life. I tend to focus the most on women, loss, regret, memory, nostalgia, recovery, balance and joy.
5) Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly in vintage magazines and books. LIFE mags from the 1950s–1960s are a personal favourite.
6) I noticed you keep a sketchbook for your 100 Day Project. What has been the biggest benefit in keeping a sketchbook?
I’m a bit embarrassed here… for the past three years, I’ve made getting into the flow of daily art practice in a sketchbook a high/top priority goal. But each year I neglected to even start… until this year! (Yay! something good to come out of 2020). Now that I’ve been disciplined in getting into my sketchbook every day, I’m honestly not sure why it took me so long to do it. I’m happy (and proud) that I have finally started and there is no stopping me now. I feel the biggest benefit has been a steady flow of happiness. I am getting in there, making a mess, trying new things out… I’m creating freely and joyfully – like my arty kids do.
7) Other than art, what are your passions in life?
Other than art/design… animals, reading, beach walks, thrift store shopping, eating (but not cooking), craft beer and sunny days with my family and close friends.
8) You live in the beautiful Cowichan Valley. What are your favourite spots for inspiration in British Columbia?
Believe it or not, my own little neighbourhood is my favourite spot! I have a lovely backyard full of huge old trees, birds (hummingbirds to herons) and wildflowers (most of which are likely just very pretty weeds). Up the road there is a small alpaca farm (it is as awesome as it sounds) and down the road is the beach. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than that.
9) Any advice you would like to share with aspiring artists?
Embrace your own weird… whatever that is and make what you love to make. Connect with other artists – friendships and inspiration will abound!
10) Are you working on any new projects you would like to share with us?
I am slowly (in true 2020 style) working on two new series. The first is a series of diptychs – loosely titled as Win or Lose – an abstract study of success and failure. The second is a series titled Lucid Magic Wonder which is an exploration of the connection of our day to day life with our dreams, our fears and our fortunes.
You can see more of Jessa’s work here and on her Instagram feed.