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Meet the Maker: Jasika Nicole

This week on our Meet the Maker blog, we are putting the spotlight on the tremendously talented Jasika Nicole. Good thing she’s pretty comfortable there as a talented and accomplished actress! Jasika is a multi-dimensional artist with many mediums, and we will try to touch on just a few of them today.

Women leaning forward over a sewing table for a profile photograph.
Photo Credit: Jasika Nicole

How did you get started in illustration and your comics?

I’ve been a visual artist all my life. In college I majored in theatre and minored in studio art, so I moved to NYC in the hopes of starting a career as either an actor or fashion illustrator; I was excited to go down whichever path I would have the most success in. My acting ended up taking off pretty quickly, but I continued to draw, as it had always been a beloved hobby of mine. When I started dating the person who would eventually become my spouse, they introduced me to graphic novels and it was a powerful reveal. I had always loved writing personal essays and memoir type stories, so I recognized graphic novels and comics as a way to fuse two of my loves together, illustrating and storytelling.

Pottery table with illustrations and paintings on walls.Photo Credit: Jasika Nicole

What was the inspiration for your comic, Closetalkers?

I became interested in fiction after spending so much time telling my own stories. I wanted to share a queer love story in the format of graphic novel storytelling that felt personal, unique and true to my own experiences. While it is in no way a replication of the true love story I have with my own partner, it was definitely inspired by our relationship and our connection. In the beginning I had so many great ideas for the story but I lost steam after writing a few installments- as per usual, work got in the way, and because I was never very good at outlining multi-episodes of my work in advance or figuring out a good personal workflow, I would come back to the project after months of not working on it and completely forget what I was doing, hahaha. Ultimately I moved on from that project years ago and haven’t done much in the realm of comics since then, but I do still enjoy drawing and writing in my free time.

What does a normal workday look like for you?

I guess it depends on what kind of workday you are referring to; because I am an actor, they very rarely look the same. Depending on the production I am working on, I will either go to a studio or drive to a location where my scenes will be shot. If my scene is first up then I will go back to my trailer, get dressed in wardrobe, then head to set to rehearse and shoot, but if there is a scene ahead of me, I will hang out in my trailer til they finish the previous work. A typical work day on set is basically doing that all day- spend a few hours shooting a scene, take a break til it’s your time to work again, shoot another scene, take a break, for about 12 or 14 hours (if you’re lucky). This is how I got really good at knitting.

These days, most production companies and studios are still on lockdown from the pandemic, so there isn’t much work happening. I don’t anticipate that productions will be able to fully return til at least mid 2021, so I have been spending my time making, exploring new hobbies, and writing. I re-opened my etsy shop in June and started selling prints from my Illustrated Maker Series there. They did so well that I reached out to brick and mortar craft stores to see if they were interested in carrying them, and that’s how I ended up at Fancy Tiger Crafts! I am now in the process of making ceramics to sell in my shop in addition to my prints. And I am also in the process of reimagining what a “work day” looks like for me.

Sketches leaned against the wall with a green plant to the right.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I think I have probably always been terrible at describing my work, and I’m not sure why. I’m proud of it and I love to share it, but I don’t always know how to express what it is. It’s like trying to come up with another name for myself! But someone on instagram recently described my aesthetic as “whimsical, with depth”, and that really resonated with me. I think my work feels exuberant, and fun, and unique, but I also hope that it comes across as relevant, honest, and intentional. My work feels like a direct extension of me and those are all words that I would use to describe myself, so it’s probably close to the truth!

Pottery lined up in rows in multiple colors, photo is taken looking straight down.Photo Credit: Jasika Nicole

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Mine seems pretty irrelevant these days with quarantine still in full effect (at least in my household!) and no out of town trips planned for the foreseeable future, but I’ve always wanted my superpower to be the ability to know EXACTLY what to pack for a trip. To know the absolute perfect things to bring for what the weather will be like, the kind of adventures I will go on, and the kind of mood I will be in. I hate overpacking, but I hate even more being in a new city and realizing there are clothes or shoes or accessories I should have brought with me that I didn’t. Although I love exploring new places, I hate traveling, so knowing from the start that I packed the perfect suitcase would be such a relief!

To follow Jasika’s art, textile and ceramic work, find her on Instagram at @jasikaistrycurious , and support her work on Etsy, shop name: JasikaIsTryCurious!

Pottery close upPhoto Credit: Jasika Nicole

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