Jacqueline White is currently residing in Philadelphia as an art ghost.
How did your journey as an artist begin? How early did you know you wanted to be an artist?
My journey began as most do, by creating constantly as a child. I was obsessed with little craft kits, like beading your own ornaments, weaving small pot holders, and I even got into knitting. One of my favorite things to do was making clothes and homes for my toys. I never liked how toy companies made accessories for their toys, especially dinosaur and animal ones, so I would dig around the trash at home and make all kinds of scenarios. I made a ship, a house, a plane, and once I even made a car (but that didn’t last). I would often do little installations in my home, out in the yard, and when I could get away with it, at my desk at school. My dad fondly teases me about my little villages I would make in the yard out of sticks and mud and moss to home my Pokemon figures. As I got older I became obsessed with drawing. I was always fascinated with anything anthropomorphic, human without actually being people. I drew dragons, wolves, lions, fantasy-type beasts, and of course everything I drew had a complete story line behind it. They weren’t just creatures to me, but rather characters I created and loved like my own children. I suppose it was only natural for me to pursue a future as an artist. But I never really considered it an actual occupation until the end of undergrad.
Can you describe your style to us?
I’ve experimented with pushing my stylistic boundaries in a way to truly discover what it is that comes naturally. I always found myself drawn to impasto and realism. I enjoy rich, almost straight-out-of-the-tube, pure pigmented hues. Something about that punch or pop. This is what I tend to make impasto, giving it a sense, at least to me, something delectable and that I could eat right off the canvas if it didn’t kill me. With that, I have a tendency to love realism with my figures. I enjoy the softness the body already has, and to go anywhere past that would be almost disrespectful for me.
What influenced many of the women figures in your artwork?
I draw most of my influence from the women around me. All of the figures are of my friends, each one observed and seen in the same loving way I see them. To further that, I am concerned with simply being a woman and the difficulties and judgements we face from society and ourselves. I see nothing but the pure good qualities of these women, non sexualized with loving attention to their faults. These are not faults to me, but rather what makes them unique, what truly makes them to be feminine.
Describe to us your process.
My process is a long one. I usually come up with a general idea of a pose or statement I like and then I let it gestate. That can take days or months. During that time I work on current pieces, do research of artists that inspire me, and read, read, read. Once I’ve found a pose I like, I sketch out and plan how I want the image to look. Then I set to work on the canvas. Right now I tend to have a 3 layer step process, but I’m always seeking to improve that. For the pieces that have 3D work attached to it, I take a lot of time considering what I want to say and how I plan on saying it with what material. Right now I’ve reached an impasse for a work because I can’t decide a material that conveys what I want to say the most accurately. A few scraps of material hang on the wall forlorningly, which I’ve taken up doing charcoal sketches of to help me think.
What’s one thing about your artwork that you’ve learned about yourself?
That it's important to listen to myself. Unbelievingly important. There is only so much planning and prep work I can do to help guide the work. But ultimately it is up to my state of mind. If I’m clear, focused, engaged, and generally happy then the work falls together. However if I don’t take the time to rest and allow myself to de-stress, then the work simply will not come together cohesively. I believe it’s a growing process, one that teaches me more than I can actually be taught by others.
What is art in your opinion?
Art is expression. It come come at various levels, from academic, to technical, to practical, to unguided. But it’s all art. Art represents people. We are all unique and different, who am I to define the exactness of art? I am simply someone who is also trying to express myself.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating?
Reading! I am an avid reader, mostly exploring classics and feminist works. I also love the orchestra and I frequent it when I can. The music is beautiful, always guaranteeing to refresh and stimulate my mind. Work consumes the majority of my time. I dream of the day I can commit almost solely on my creating alone, like most artists dream. I also try hard to stay active in the Philadelphia artist community, going to gallery openings, panel discussions, and visiting other artists’ studios. Lastly, I’m a gym rat. It’s true, I visit the gym at least 6 days a week. I’ve found it’s the most efficient way to keep my spirit up.
How do you get yourself out of a creative funk?
This is a hard one. For me, creating is an emotional experience. My practice and the amount I do so is heavily based on my emotional state. This is something I have actively been working on to push and keep from defining my habits. When things aren’t coming out quite right I’ll reach out to a friend and have an engaging art conversation or I’ll read about artists I admire. I’ve also taken up an “experimental wall” where I have loose canvas hanging and I’ll draw or paint on it to “warm-up” my brain.
Is there a different style or technique you want to explore?
Going bigger! Most of my works as of yet have been fairly small sized. I’m trying to push myself to make larger works that hold more content in the image itself. I’m too used to doing cohesive series that have to be hung together to make a statement. It’s time to stretch my painting arm.
Do you have any goals for 2019?
Graduate school! I am currently looking into graduate programs for a Masters in Fine Arts around the area. But before then, I will be having many group shows with the Philly Art Collective and currently my work is on display at Off The Gallery!