Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Getting to Know Jaye Thirteenth

by, Amy Olson of Amy Olson Jewelry

Recently I had the pleasure to get to know Jaye Thirteenth of thirteenth story, a member of Boston Handmade, a little better. By reading her 'profile' from her etsy site, I found out that she is not only an illustrator, but is also a tattoo artist and comic book writer as well! I was thrilled to find this out and intrigued to learn more, so I put together a few questions and set up an interview with Jaye. Now you can get to know her a little better too!

AMY: How old were you when you first start drawing and how old are you now?

JAYE: My earliest surviving drawing is a windmill done in magic marker on wood- the wood on my fathers desk to be specific. I learned that I couldn't draw on the walls, but nobody said anything about the furniture. From the style of it I'd guess I was six years old; and I just turned 34 in September.

AMY: How did you get into tattoo artistry? How did that lead you into what you create today?

JAYE: My first tattoo design was done in college. A guy in one of my classes saw me drawing all over my notebook, and asked if I could draw a skull with a beret. How could I pass that up? From there it was band logos, eagles, tribal cuffs, and even a
few for myself. Working with someone else on a design for their own skin is a fantastic process. Its a humble undertaking, one rarely about what I would like and always about what they want. Today, I can easily see the path I took from tattoos to my current art. I often use the word "iconic" to describe my style, because they are bold images with a clean use of color, much like tattoos.

AMY: How were you trained?

JAYE: Self taught. And I think I've improved quite a lot since that windmill.

AMY: What inspires you?

JAYE: The two biggest influences on my work are print advertisements and comic art. I've always been enthralled with a good poster, including ones from the Lautrec era, as well as present day concert fliers. Growing up I had magazine covers and ads taped to my walls. Graphic novels and comic books are a more obvious approach to marrying storytelling and drawing, and they have a lot to offer in terms of pacing, layouts, and use of black. Images that make a statement, tell a story, or create a quick sense of wonder are right up my alley, and teach me constantly about composition.

AMY: Where do you sell your work?

JAYE: On there are originals, prints, and zines. My other major venue is craft fairs and art shows, which are always announced on my once-per month mailing list. Occasionally I pick up a tattoo design or music design gig from craigslist, and those have been a ton of fun.

AMY: So, you are taking a break from your full time job?

JAYE: Ooooh yeah. I am a property manager and I will always have over ten years experience in that field to rely upon, but now I am taking time off to focus on art. I've been working hard since I was fifteen years old, and I am more than ready to take the risk of making art full time. Of course, I am busier than ever now that I am doing something that I love. I've got lists and lists of projects I've never gotten the chance to sink my teeth into because of time constraints, but that is changing and I find myself getting up earlier in the mornings and enjoying every moment of the day.

AMY: How will you focus more on your art now that you have more time?

JAYE: Being extremely organized helps. I use a calendar to map out my entire day; there are blocks for eating and exercise in tandem with blocks for different creative projects and business needs. For example, a couple hours cartooning, an hour answering emails, a trip to the Post Office, another chunk of time for life-drawing sketches. I keep every day different and flexible enough to also handle appointments, marketing, grant or show applications, and housework.

AMY: Tell me more about your new cartoon and what compelled you to make this decision?

JAYE: FIN is my first cartoon series, and it truly embraces the art style that I've been developing for years. He is a ninja, born on the pages of my sketchbook. He's a bit of a menace, and a totally endearing addition to my creative process. As a fan of comic art, it was inevitable for me to meld my art and cartoons. There are a few other stories I have scripted, and will soon start drawing them as well.

AMY: Do you have an artist statement? If so, I'd love to hear it!

JAYE: Nope, not yet. its one of the first business related things I'll be doing in November, as many grant applications call for one.

AMY: From drawing to cartoons, to zines, to tattoos... do you have a favorite?

JAYE: All of them! To me, art is a fantastic tool for storytelling, and in every one of those mediums I get to play with stories. I invite everyone to check out my website, and thank you for reading this interview.

1 comment :

  1. Great interview! It is so interesting to read about fellow members and see the similarities and differences we have. Amy and Jaye you ROCK!


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