This week I had the pleasure of interviewing artist of the moment, Jacquie of Bird Black. I came across her work on Etsy and immediately searched for her Instagram so I could follow the daily works of this wonderful creative. This talented lady has a unique style which is why her following has grown significantly over the last couple of months. Each of her pieces consists of amazing detailing and together with ink and paint, she creates a spiritual vision!
Can you share a bit about your background and what inspired you to become an artist?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love drawing. My Mom, in particular, was always taking me to art galleries and had a bunch of great classical art books that told the history of art from the Paleolithic period to Pop Art. I was a pretty awkward, quiet kid growing up and honestly wasn’t really that ‘into’ people – but I had a small group of close-knit friends, mostly boys, who got me into comic books. From there it all kind of took off. I spent most of my teenage life hoarding comics and drawing pictures of the X-Men for my friends! I was very lucky to be able to attend a special arts high school where I was able to expand my artistic knowledge and learn some rad new skills like printmaking and photography. It was a great environment with amazing, knowledgeable teachers and the other students were super passionate, which helped drive the want / need to be bigger and better. Eventually I became a graphic designer and worked in that field for 10+ years but to be honest, I was never really that passionate about it so I used the birth(s) of my daughters as an excuse to go freelance, slow down and get back into Illustration in a big way!
What is a day in the life of Bird Black like?
Busy! Because I work for myself, I basically work all day long – from 8am – 8pm (usually) and if I’ve got big deadlines, sometimes I’ll be going until almost midnight! The thing is though, I love what I do, and that’s the key isn’t it? I’m no good at sitting still. If I’m not doing anything, I feel like I’m somehow wasting time, and because my mind never seems to want to stop, it all kind of just works out. I try to keep my days as organized as possible, I spend the mornings packing print orders, processing new designs digitally, (try) to get as many emails done as possible and then I try and spend the rest of the afternoon drawing, painting and conceptualizing new pieces etc. Coffee helps…a lot!
What gets your creative juices flowing? Music, people, nature…. Who or what are your biggest influences?
Too many things! Music, definitely – sometimes I’ll hear a certain lyric or a guitar riff from a song and it’ll send me off on a tangent, throwing off my entire day in the process! Nature, definitely; literature (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, whatever!); certain TV shows – anything that can create that spark of an idea really! I’m also ridiculously inspired by jewelry designs. Its something I’ve always wanted to get into but alas never have, so I silence that desire by using great jewelry pieces as inspiration instead.
How has social media helped promote you as an artist?
Exponentially. Instagram, especially, just blew my world up in the most positive and beautiful way. Initially, I was totally resistant to social media. I just didn’t get the attraction and I loathed the idea of spending half of my life online as opposed to in the real world drawing, reading, making music, playing with my girls etc. As it turned out however, embracing it as a necessary means of self-promotion was exactly what I needed to kick myself in the butt and get Bird Black off the ground. These days, I totally have fun with it, – so much so that it’s almost hard to remember why I was so anti-social media in the first place! I’ve made so many fantastic new friends & contacts, gotten a lot of amazing artistic opportunities and on top of all that, it’s just such a constant source of inspiration. I’m very thankful for how the IG community in particular have helped Bird Black grow and evolve in such a short amount of time. The most brilliant thing is though, I still do all the things I was scared of losing time for – in some ways, I think introducing social media to my life & my business has actually made me a better artist & illustrator. I’m still useless with Facebook though. Hahahaha.
What mediums do you generally work with?
For my drawings, I generally use a mechanical pencil, good quality black ink pens and the best quality paper I can find; I also love a bit of mix media action with acrylic paints, which I use like watercolour. Hilariously, I’m absolutely rubbish at painting with watercolours but for some reason can do the same thing with acrylics. It makes no sense, but there you go.
Other than art of corse, what are your greatest passions?
I love music. I play guitar (fairly competently!) and I occasionally write songs, although not as much now as I used to – or would like to. I also love cooking. I find it one of the most relaxing pastimes in the world, totally grounding – which for someone as highly strung as me, is probably a good thing!!!
What future does the future hold for Bird Black Emporium?Any exciting projects coming up?
I definitely have a few exciting projects in the works, along with some killer collaborations; I just finished a Zodiac series, (that I’m truthfully over the moon with!), so I’m looking at ways to expand on that a bit more production wise; I also recently decided to do a Tarot deck series which I’m in the very early stages of developing. It’s a pretty big undertaking, but so far the whole process has been an absolute joy!
What is a quote you live by?
Do your own time. It’s a quote from my favorite book ever (!!!) called ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. To me it means, mind your business, don’t mess about, keep your head with your gaze forward and just get shit done.
Shop Bird Black prints here.