artist interview - jessica swift (the artist formerly known as jessica gonacha)...

Today we are checking in with the fab Jessica Swift (the artist formerly known as Jessica Gonacha)! She let's us in on her colorful, quirky, and sometimes morbid imagination.  And imagination is something that is never in short supply for Jess!  Her illustrations and fun patterns are sure to brighten your day!  On top of all her talent, I am lucky enough to call her friend!  :D

what three to five words would you use to describe your work?

playful, colorful, youthful, quirky, fun

what inspires you?

Nature mostly. And fashion! I get really inspired when I'm out walking through my neighborhood-- I get my best ideas when I'm walking. I can find inspiration all over the place, really: a color combination on a sign, the shape of a leaf, something I read in a book.... I'm always on the lookout!

what was your first job?  when/how did you know you wanted a career in art?

Ha ha, I was a piano duster. I'm not kidding! I worked at Swalley's Music in Boulder, CO when I was 15, and my only duty was to dust the pianos. It was excellent. Luckily I eventually acquired other duties. :) I first knew that I wanted a career in art when I was about 4 years old and I told my parents I wanted to be an artist. The next time I knew was when I was 23, I got into my first juried art show, quit my waitressing job, did smashingly well at the show, and didn't look back. From that moment forward I was making my living as a working artist.

finish this sentence.  I could eat ___ all day.


design books/blogs you can't live without

Blogs: Print & PatternDesign Seeds (my new fave!), Geninne's Art Blog

Design books: Olle Eksell, Japanese/Indian/Islamic pattern books, 4000 Flower & Plant Motifs: A SourcebookLike I Give a Frock,20th Century Pattern Design

what do you do when you are not doing art?

Sleep! And spend time with my husband, read books, cook, go to the gym, walk around my neighborhood, watch movies, play with my 2 cats....

name one thing about you that would shock the outside world.

I never learned to read. (Ha ha- TOTALLY kidding-- that's a Wayne's World reference! I can read. Really. I'm actually quite smart.) So, one shocking thing: I have an intensely morbid imagination. Like, I always picture bad things happening. For example, I'll be cutting some vegetables, and I imagine slicing my fingers off by accident. Or I'll be walking up a flight of stairs and imagine tripping on a step, falling on my face, and knocking my front teeth out. Things like this pop into my head all the time! It's very weird. It happens to my sister, too. But I'm a happy person, I swear!

finish this sentence.  If I could time travel, I would arrive...

In Impressionist France to hang out with Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin, and all the other brilliant artists of the time. The first place I'd go would be Monet's garden, straight to the bridge in this painting:http://uofugeron.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/monet-japanese-bridge.jpg

what's next?

Surtex!! I'll be exhibiting at Surtex (just like Khristian!) from May 16-18, 2010, so hopefully after that I'll be working on some cool projects with some cool companies and people. Other than that, I have some products in the works that I can't share yet, but rest assured that they are going to be awesome. They'll be available on my website in the next few months. Stay tuned!
Jessica Swift (formerly Jessica Gonacha) is a full-time artist, illustrator, and pattern designer in Atlanta, GA. She is addicted to unusual color combinations and is inspired by rainy days. Jessica went to Ithaca College in upstate New York, where she earned a BFA in painting, and she dreams of one day owning a houseboat in Amsterdam. Growing up in Boulder, CO, Jessica's passion for color and pattern was kindled when she was just a wee girl, and she nurtured that love by decorating every surface she could find. She does the same thing today, just a more grown up version!

Where to find Jess...


Barbra (ifneedb.com) said...

Can't wait to meet you ladies at Surtex and see what you've been up to!

Thanks for Design Seeds - what a great resource!

I like the bit about morbid imagination. It's good to see you aren't all sunshine + flowers, Jessica. Ha! I have a morbid/ridiculous sense of humor so I can appreciate the quirk.

Also I love love love the Afrique collection. So fun!

Katie Stephenson said...

What a great interview. I loved reading the questions almost as much as the answers. I never learned to read, either. :)