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Artist Interview: Jackie Maloney

Hello Jackie! You know it’s going to be a good time when two introverts get together. To kick things off, how’d we meet?

I think we met in an artist Facebook group or two? We also exhibit together sometimes, I think the first time I saw you in-person was at the height of the pandemic and we waved at a distance with masks.

Where do you create your delicious work?

Sarasota, Florida

How long have you been employed as an artist?

Since I graduated art school in May of 2010, so almost a full 12 years.

I didn’t go to art school, what was that like for you?

I loved art school. Honestly, I wish I could go back as an adult, though. I think some people go to school too young when they’re figuring out other life stuff than what they’re at school for. MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) was great though, because I never had that “starving artist” mentality or label. As an illustration major, the goal for me was always to make a living out of this, and they gave me a lot of tools to do that (successfully). I come from a family of small business owners, so, going from school to selling at festivals was a natural fit. I never cared about being in museums or a part of the gallery scene.

Are you full-time or part-time?

I’m full-time.

Where can people find you online? Website, social media handles, etc.

Describe your artistic process.

I haven’t painted since January because it’s peak art festival season here in Florida! But I’ll be getting back into it soon. I start with a pencil sketch, then slowly build up layers of watercolor over the course of days or often weeks. After that, I use white gouache for some highlights and black gouache for the outlining, all applied to Arches watercolor paper with a paintbrush.

What is an obstacle you’ve faced in your art or as an artist and how did you overcome it?

This is a dangerous question because I was interviewed on tv months ago, and they made me sound like I had serious back problems and I don’t! But I do I think an actual obstacle I’ve faced is being both an introvert and a shy person. Art has allowed me to be out there with my work but without necessarily having to dance and sing to sell it. That’s a beautiful thing about having art as your “product,” the connections you make with your collectors are always genuine. There’s no need to be a used car salesman type, although I do wish I had more of that in my personality at times.

Same here, Jackie, and I agree your work speaks for itself, though it’s great to get to know you more. Can you describe a shining success story in your artistic career thus far?

I did a show on Memorial Day weekend in Hilton Head and it was on the hottest weekend of the year. It was torture, one of those “why did I even come here” shows. But once I got home, I received an email from someone I had met at the show asking if they could publish my artwork in their local magazine -- my “How to Pick Crabs” illustration. I ended up working with them for over a year with various “How to” illustrations. The cherry on top was someone saw

my work in the magazine and asked if I’d like to be the t-shirt artist for their yearly fundraising event in the area. And now I’ve been their Featured Artist for four years. All of that stemming from a terrible hot-sweaty-questioning-my-life-choices show!

I love that story and have similar ones, but nothing so cool as being a t-shirt artist for a festival. Congratulations! As a polar opposite to these successes, what things have you learned from your artistic failures?

I learned that I am better off painting things that I want to paint. If I try to paint something people want me to paint, I tend to feel uninspired and trapped. This often led to me not painting the commission or any self-motivated projects at all. So, I do not do commissions ever anymore, unlike you. This is what works for me and my practice.

What other living artists do you admire or would you like to give a shoutout to?

The people I most admire are the outdoor art festival artists who have been working for decades and really seem to have found a healthy work/life balance. It’s admirable.

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