Local Artists Ready for CCAD’s Virtual Arts Fair
Many of the spaces where we’re used to seeing Columbus artists and their work have transitioned online, as arts organizations and institutes take measures to limit the spread of the new coronavirus while also doing the best they can to continue supporting the arts amid the pandemic.
Among those institutions is the Columbus College of Art & Design, which has had to transform multiple end-of-year events that students and alumni come to rely on to showcase and sell their work. Each one is their own small businesses, and now more than ever support for them is needed.
Beginning Friday, April 10, at 5 p.m. through Sunday, April 12 at 11:59 p.m., artists and designers will showcase their work on the CCAD website.
Brittany Renee Jones, a junior illustration major at CCAD, loves traditional work such as watercolors and gouache (a more opaque watercolor) as well as experimenting with digital media. Her work predominantly explores her love of nature, as well as her appreciation for the beauty of the human form.
Megs LeVesseur, a CCAD alum who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics, is inspired by intricate line work, soft colors and organic patterns. She describes her handcrafted Botanical Collection as “whimsical” and created for beauty and function.
Jessica Driscoll, another CCAD alum, is the founder for VOID Leather, a fashion bag brand which takes inspiration from the “unknowns” of deep space and has the mission to serve as a way to fill your personal void with the things that bring you happiness and utility — so you are “ready for the everyday.”
Can you just give me a background on how you got started and what led you to your medium?
Brittany: I’ve been using traditional media/painting for about six years now. I got into using specifically watercolor/gouache back in high school and I absolutely fell in love with the mediums. There’s something about the physical acts that come along with watercolor painting, like stretching the paper and preparing the paints and water that I just can’t get enough of. I’ve tried a bunch of other mediums, but I just keep coming back to watercolor. It’s the perfect combination or risk and reward that I adore when it comes to making artwork.
Megs: I took my very first ceramics throwing class around 10 years old and basically fell in love with the tactile element and versatility of clay. While pursuing my undergraduate degree from CCAD, I was able to further develop my skill set and create a unique dialogue producing functional art for everyday life.
Jessica: I was always a creative kid, so it was natural that I ended up choosing an art school for college. Many traditional mediums like painting, illustrating, etc. never quite clicked for me, but once I started learning how to sew and make clothing, I was totally hooked. My interest in leather began around my junior year at CCAD when one of my projects required the use of leather. I was fascinated by the different techniques needed to manipulate leather into clothes or bags. The following semester I did an independent study around designing leather bags and loved the engineering that goes into creating a bag. Bags are first and foremost functional items so I spend quite a bit of time designing and testing the function of the bags. In 2017 I decided to turn my love of leather into a brand and spend time learning how to create leather bags to the highest quality I can.
What is your work inspired by?
Brittany: It’s mostly just inspired by where I grew up. I was raised in a forest around the Pennsylvania/upstate New York area, and the forests around there are just breathtaking. Those places were the start of my life obsession with plants and nature.
Megs: The Botanical Collection of handmade pottery is inspired by vintage fabric, mid century dishes, and the playfulness of street art; reminiscent geometric and organic patterns in nature.
Is your art your primary source of income? Do you experience burnout or lack of inspiration?
Brittany: It’s not entirely, I work part-time while also going to school. I’ve actually been experiencing burnout since the beginning of this semester. I was doing 18 credit hours and also working 25 hours a week my first semester of junior year, so that really kicked my butt.
Megs: Yes, making and selling my ceramics in-person and online is my primary source of income. I have experienced burnout and lack of inspiration many times throughout the years. When I was a student at CCAD I had a professor who gave me great advice in reference to building a sustainable life as a working artist. He said that the “most impactful and sustainable way is to develop a mosaic lifestyle, in which work, play and rest is equally combined to create a fully intentional creative career.” For me, I find when the feeling of burnout creeps in it’s helpful to create space to rest and reflect on what is working and what is not as a whole.
Jessica: Currently I spend half of my time working on VOID Leather and my other projects, and the other half is spent on my remote part-time job (which I am very grateful to have during this time)! Aside from leather goods, I do still make clothing, but largely as a creative outlet so I don’t sell much of it. My part-time job doesn’t have anything to do with art, but since it is entirely remote, I have a lot of flexibility and allows me to spend much more time in my studio working on developing my businesses.
Can you speak on transitioning to showcasing and selling art online for the fair? Why is it important to support local art right now?
Brittany: It’s a little weird, but a good way to learn about ecommerce. It’s really important people come out and support student artists just like they would if we were still doing the physical Art Fair. The Art Fair might be online now, but that doesn’t mean that people have put less effort into their craft.
Megs: This transition has [given] me the opportunity to focus on my existing online shop, adding a significant amount of work to be purchased, and developing authentic ways to engage customers in an online space. Supporting local art now and anytime has a positive impact on the overall wellness [of the] community!
Jessica: I have been selling my work online for many years, so moving to an online art fair this season is an easy transition for me. Columbus has a vibrant independent artist and small business community which is one of the things I love about Columbus and why I decided to stay here after college, so supporting our local art and businesses if you are able is vital.
For more information, visit www.ccad.edu/experience-art/art-fair.