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Artist profile: JJ Jacobs

Personal Graffiti

Artist: Judy "JJ" Jacobs
Coming Abstractions
Coming Abstractions blog
Coming Abstractions etsy shop

Note: additional links and galleries that carry JJ's work are listed at the end


JJ, tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I’m an abstract painter and glass artist living in Sacramento, California. In my past life I was in commercial real estate development and property management.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
When I see a blank wall I feel the need to mentally decorate it in my mind. Shapes, color and texture are used in my work and I enjoy using various tools to make these staples “come alive” in my work. I have been known to use lids from deodorant bottles, caps from toothpaste tubes, brayers, leaves, pine needles, saw blades, chopsticks, and other handy tools that happen to be lying around at a particular moment.

Playground 3

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design and paint?
I can find inspiration anywhere, anyplace and at anytime. I usually squint my eyes a bit to soften the source and “abstract” it in my mind. The Farmer’s Market is full of ideas – like the apple section with all the various greens and reds; and of course the ocean. So is a fabric store, with the many bolts of materials that are sometimes color coordinated. If I squint my eyes just right, I can find inspiration in just about any place – especially if a lot of color is around!

What words would people who know you use to describe you? 
Creative, independent, intuitive, stubborn and resourceful.

What was your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
The summer I graduated from high school, I got a temporary job at a real estate office helping them with an audit they were going through. At the end of the term, they offered me a full-time job which I accepted. While working there, I decided to get my real estate sales license; then later studied for and obtained my broker’s license and was in the real estate industry until 2011, when I quit my job as VP of a real estate development firm to become a full-time artist.

A Burning Heart

What is a typical day like in your studio space?  How do you prioritize your time?
I like to start with a clean workspace and lay out my paints, canvas, brushes and water. Sometimes I’ll turn on some loud music to get me in the spirit; other times I paint in silence. I like to practice on a few pre-cut squares of 140-lb or 300-lb watercolour paper with some quick designs, then move on to a clean canvas where I lay down some lines of paint with no specific pattern in mind. From there I begin adding more colours and continue to “create and destroy.” I usually know how much time I have to spend painting and plan accordingly. If I only have an hour or so to play, then I work fast and furiously.

Each morning I make up a To-Do list of everything I want to achieve for that particular day. If I’m going to be working in my studio I’ll have the tasks that I want to complete on the To-Do list and cross them off as they’re finished. The most important tasks are always listed first and if I don’t finish my list that day I’ll carry over the unfinished jobs to the next day.

At Sea

As an artist what is your biggest frustration? 
Over-committing myself and saying “yes” to unreasonable deadlines.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Trust your gut and keep creating – no matter what other people think, or how scary it may be. When you are following your path and living your passion, the opportunities are abundant and the money follows.


What dreams do you still want to achieve in your life? 
I would love to travel more, and start writing again. I also want to get my more of my art into corporate settings and some really nice modern-styled homes.

Who do you most want to meet and why? 
If Georgia O’Keefe were still alive I would want to meet her and watch her paint. Her colour and subject choices continue to fascinate me, and her fierce determination to be an artist inspires me every day.

Judy "JJ" Jacobs

Other places to connect with JJ:
Coming Abstractions on facebook

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Karen Williams said…
Yay JJ! What a great profile! I love your work and am so impressed by both your creativity and your ability to bring your skills and strengths from your business background into play as well.