Times of Youth: For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My goal is to make the ordinary extraordinary. Colored pencil is my favorite medium. My drawings are very realistic. Since my work is very detailed and rather large, each piece takes up to 150 hours to complete.
Colored pencil was a big deal at my high school in The Woodlands, Texas when I began drawing as a freshman 10 years ago. I later attended Texas A&M University, studying animation. But it wasn’t a good fit. I did, however, get to spend a semester abroad, studying art in Italy. It was there that I saw the Italian masterpieces I had loved so much in my art history classes. I managed to stick with the animation program and get my degree, but as soon as I graduated I decided to focus solely on my passion: drawing. I hope to become a full-time professional artist, selling drawings and prints.
Thousands of people have discovered my work on Facebook, and I really enjoy this connection – their encouragement and comments.
Times of Youth: What lead you to choosing Art as career?
It is what I love doing most. I am always desperately trying to become the best I can be. I tend to put all my focus into one thing. For me, art as a career feels like my only option, but that is what I want.
Times of Youth: What style of artistry do you rather prefer?
I like drawing realism with colored pencils. I am inspired by the Renassiance painter, Caravaggio.
Times of Youth: Which was your first most praised piece of art that you still cherish?
In high school, I made a drawing called “King’s Defeat,” a portrait of a cowboy. That drawing won me my first award at The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival’s student art competition and scholarship. It was a huge shock to me because a couple of my most talented classmates had entered. I practically worshipped their work.
Times of Youth: What has been your biggest moment of pride?
My biggest moment of pride was at the Colored Pencil Society of America’s 23rd International Exhibition. I had a drawing in the show and so many of the other artists saw my piece and loved it. I won a top award at the show. It has been a major milestone for me.
Times of Youth: Has your family been supportive of your choice of career path?
Yes. My dad is also an artist, and he’s helped me learn drawing since day one. We critique my work together when I want I second set of eyes on my drawing. My mom helps me with doing research on how to establish myself professionally. My fiancé is an artist too. She helps me with a variety of things. We communicate really well and can see inside of each other’s head more than I can with anyone else. That can be helpful when I say something like “The drawing will look like this, but with more of that.”
Times of Youth: Do tell us one incident which totally changed your life/perspective.
In high school, I liked a girl who was an artist. I thought I could get to know her better if I was an artist myself, so I started drawing. By the end of high school, I fell in love with art.
Times of Youth: How would you describe your art style in one sentence?
My art is emotional and timeless.
Times of Youth: What makes your day? What spoils it?
I like to draw every day. For me, a bad day is trying to do art, but not being able to because things come up.
Times of Youth: Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out?
When I started my current series, I was stepping out of my comfort zone. Figuring out how to work with warm colors was a challenge. Most of my recent drawings are cropped in on the figure more, which was also a bit of a change for me.
Times of Youth: What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio or while working?
Colored Pencils are first, Photoshop is second. I use Photoshop to plan what my drawing will look like before I pick up a pencil.
Times of Youth: Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
My favorite artist is the Renaissance painter Caravaggio. His use of dramatic lighting makes me a huge fan.
Times of Youth: If you were given one wish, what would it be.
I would wish to be able to draw all day every day and not have business factors involved.
Times of Youth: Considering your potential, we believe that you have the power to bring a rational change in the world using your skills. If given a chance, what would you like to do to make this world place a better place?
Wow! Really? Thanks! My goal is not to change the world, I just want to connect emotion with drawing. When we listen to a song, we expect to feel something, but very often that is not the case with drawing because achieving a good technique can be such a struggle. I do not want to change anyone else’s work or say drawing should be done my way. I just want to communicate feeling with my work.
Times of Youth: Do tell us how your admirers/fans can reach you to share their appreciation or feedback.
My website: jesselaneart.com
Email: [email protected]
Times of Youth: Any advice you’d give to aspiring youngsters who want to enter in arts now or in the future?
Like many teenagers, I started out drawing anime. My teacher gave me a very hard time about my anime work, but I loved it and felt I got a lot out of it. Some of the best animes have highly emotional images, with excellent lighting and composition. When the time was right, I made the transition to realism.
My advice is this: whatever you’re doing, whatever you love… don’t give up. When I was 14, my art teacher called me the worst student in her class. She told me I didn’t draw like an artist and said I should draw like the other students. Through practice, I have climbed a long way in the 11 years since then. I believe that we all set our own limits and can create our own ability. We are not limited to the amount of natural talent we have, no matter how great or small.