For the last few years we’ve covered a large majority of the independent food and drink scene in Liverpool but it is now time to spread our wings.
Art budgets are shrinking year upon year. As if it wasn’t already hard enough to get your work noticed in a big city, the world of art is in a transitional period. In Liverpool there are lots of craft fair vintages, there are etsy shops but more can be done. We’re going to develop a new series called “Meet The Artist”, a mini insight into local artists throughout Liverpool and a chance to showcase their talents to all of you. First up we have Jessica Arrowsmith Stanley, an amazing artist who, with that name, had no choice but to grow up and be one. Her destiny, some would say, was set from birth.
Tell us about yourself, how did you get into art?
In terms of my personal background, I was raised and educated in Southport before moving to London to complete a fine art degree at Westminster University and then moving back to Liverpool last year. I’ve always been crafty, my mum still has bags of glitter and stick-on jewels from when I used to make my own birthday cards and things when I was a kid.
Growing up I was always encouraged with painting by my family so I think that’s why I believed I could do it and make people happy by creating art. That’s what drives me, whether it’s an order for someone’s wedding or nursery or a mural for a bar I want people to enjoy art daily and for it to be more accessible. My work rotates between painting commissions to custom drawing orders to murals and I enjoy that variety.
What does art mean to you?
Initially I began making things because its instinctive, all children make things and paint but growing up I found it’s something I couldn’t let go off. It’s a big part of who I am. I can’t remember ever stopping and thinking that I didn’t want to do it anymore, so I never have. It’s a constant challenge and I learn by my mistakes every day.
I suppose for me art is a way of holding onto that sense of freedom that you get from expressing yourself when you’re a child. As I’ve gotten older I’ve lost that sense of fearlessness that you have growing up, but the sense of creating something that doesn’t exist anywhere else is still just as exciting, even with the weight of expectation and the desire to make something as good as you can make it.
How important is it to support local independent artists?
I think it’s incredibly important because when you’re buying a piece of art, independent or otherwise, you’re not just buying an object, you’re buying someone’s time, thoughts and a part of who they are, in a sense its priceless. As for buying local artists’ work, there is something so special about Liverpool and that’s a source of pride for everyone here. People should feel proud because of how many talented people there are in this city.
I wouldn’t be where I am, doing what I love everyday without the support of the local community and of course my lovely customers (thank you!). That’s the kind of impact you can have on someone’s life when you look a little closer to home.
What piece are you most proud of?
The piece that changed my work all together was my end of year piece in 2nd year at University. Artwork can quite often mean making your mark on something and I realised I had a slightly obsessive tendency to capture and document everything of sentiment, to avoid forgetting even nondescript events and memories so for this project I challenged myself.
Once the piece had ‘served its purpose’, ticked the boxes and been marked I painted it back to white. I painted onto the wall because I couldn’t really afford to make canvas…and the course workshop was quite an intimidating place to me. This way I couldn’t take any part of the piece with me and it lead me to become a mural artist and not to be so precious about leaving my work to be a part of its environment.
If you had some advice for budding artists, what would it be?
Use social networking to your advantage, engage directly with your audience (whatever size), meet fellow artists and don’t be ashamed to use every opportunity to promote yourself, being shy and retiring will only get you so far.
Make as much work as you can, get involved in projects and assist other artists and creatives as much as possible, you’ll always learn something (even if it might not be positive).
If anyone has any direct questions, I love hearing from other artists and I’ll try and help so please feel free to get in touch.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got an exciting Summer planned so far! I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a Super Lambanana. I’m then getting involved with the arts and crafts markets selling my drawings, starting with Artisans in the palm house (Sefton park) on the 25th of May and Capstan’s Bazaar at Constellations on the 31st. I’ll also be starting on a new mural for Cedar Food and Drink on Duke street over the next few weeks. There’s also a joint project to turn the loading bay in our Studio, 104 Duke Street Studios, into a gallery.