Jessica Swift is a freelance artist and pattern designer who draws her inspiration from childhood visions and imagination. The ability to visually represent her childhood aspirations lies at the foundation of her work, which aesthetically guided her steps into adulthood. Jessica’s bright style is featured in a variety of ways and places, from paintings in galleries to illustrations on people’s walls and even their pajamas.
WP: The first question is always a very serious one -what star sign are you?
Jessica Swift: I’m a Leo! Though not a very typical one– I don’t like being the center of attention, I’m not bossy, and I’m not very flamboyant!
WP: Sounds more like a Libra to us! Still, Leos are known for their creativity, which you obviously have in droves. What sort of creative projects are you working on right now?
Jessica Swift: I’m working on an e-book all about being a creative business owner and my experience as a working artist. It’s full of tips and tricks and information for aspiring artist-preneurs! I get so many emails from people asking me for advice about how they can build their careers, so this e-book is for those people. It will have everything I know in it!
WP: That’s awesome! It’s great when successful artist-preneurs (what an amazing term!) share the “secrets of their success” to the next generation of working creatives. When you’re not inspiring others, where do you find your inspiration?
Jessica Swift: I find tons of inspiration in nature and in being outdoors. I love trees and plants so much, and I get my best ideas when I’m out walking alone through the neighborhood. I’m always inspired by new places and scenery, too, which is great because I just moved to a brand new city– Portland, OR! Inspiration everywhere.
WP: Portland is supposed to be incredible. One of our favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, hails from there! Speaking of books, are you reading anything interesting at the moment?
Jessica Swift: I’m often reading a few books at once! I just finished Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMS shoes), and I’m in the middle of Richard Branson’s autobiography (founder of Virgin). I just started The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell a couple nights ago, which I’m totally loving so far!
WP: The TOMS book was stellar and super inspirational. At the risk of getting too serious, we’ll switch gears with another curveball – first celebrity crush?
Jessica Swift: Mariah Carey! I was absolutely obsessed with her. I wasn’t the type to go gaga over teen heartthrob boys—instead I went nuts over women I wanted to emulate. I wanted to BE Mariah Carey; I thought she was so cool! Haha, that’s kind-of embarrassing…
WP: Not embarrassing – AMAZING. Admiring successful women from a young age is actually cooler than just drooling over Leonardo DiCaprio (not that we did that as kids…) When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Jessica Swift: I wanted to be an artist! Then I wanted to be a gymnast. And an ice skater, and a singer like Mariah Carey, and then a singer-songwriter like Ani DiFranco, and then back to an artist. 🙂
WP: Artist, ice skater, singer… a lot of these professions are solo rather than in a group. What is your favorite part of working for yourself?
Jessica Swift: I love being in charge of my own schedule and never having to ask anyone for time off. I could jet off to Morocco at the drop of a hat if I chose to! (I should totally choose to do that one of these days…) I also love that there’s no cap on how much money I’m able to earn– it’s all up to me!
WP: Being able to live life every day sounds like a sweet perk. Is there a particular philosophy that you live by?
Jessica Swift: Feel the fear and do it anyway. Absolutely.
WP: What haven’t you done that you want to do?
Jessica Swift: Ride in a hot air balloon. And travel to India. And Morocco. And Iceland. Ummm, travel everywhere!
WP: We’re with you on the travel bug – we just wrapped up a trip to Peru, where textiles reign the arts and crafts market. What are some of your favorite materials to work with?
Jessica Swift: I love fluid acrylic paint on canvas.