Jacqui C Smith: The Illustrated Flyy Girl
I stumbled upon Jacqui's work on Instagram one night and I instantly fell in love with her style. Her illustrations are vibrant and colorful, but her journey is even more bright. If you are interested in working with her, she can be reached at www.JacquiCSmith.com
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: Sure! I'm Jacqui, an illustrator from Chicago living in Burbank, CA. My artwork focusing on the strength and diversity of women. My family has been a huge influence on who I am and the woman I've become. I have a family of strong independent women that support me through thick and thin.
I'd also say my physical differences have had a huge impact on my outlook in life. As a 6ft dark skinned plus sized black woman, I struggled to find pride in myself when I was younger. Because I'm surrounded by such positive women in my life, I'm now able to see the beauty in myself everyday which is reflected in my artwork.
Q: That inner beauty DEFINITELY shines through your work! What is your life like on a day to day basis? A: My days typically start early. I spend part of my day working for Cope Studios, an artist studio in Glendale, California with over 48 in house artists. I manage the space and also have my art studio there. Aside from working for the studio, I spend the rest of my time working on various illustration projects. I create large wood illustrations that take 3-4 months to complete and I also do digital illustrations.
Also, I strive to be active in the local art community so I spend a fair amount of time showing at fairs and exhibits while also going to various other art events to support other local artists.
Q: Sounds like you stay busy ma'am! What are you currently working on (job , business, creative projects)? I'm currently working on building my illustration business and becoming a full time freelance artist. I have two children's books in the works, and a clothing line in the works. I also have our 2nd Annual Art Festival at the Brewyard June 24th that I am curating.
Q: A clothing line?! You really are on the move! Can you tell us what prep work did you have to put in to get to where you are now? Ha ha, Thanks! In terms of prep work, I think the best preparation is drawing as much as possible and sharing what you create, whether good or bad, with others around you, attain feedback and grow from the experience.
Q: What has been your most proud moment in your career thus far? A: Last year my friend, Jacqueline Myers-Cho, and I put on our first Art Festival at the Brewyard. It ended up being a huge success with 400+ attendees and 16 artists. This will be our second year and we're expanding and expecting an even larger turn out.
Q: What is one thing about you now that would make your younger self happy? A: My younger self would be happy to know that I'm confident, happy, motivated and that I take pride in myself and I'm pursing a career that I love.
There is no greater joy than following your passion, even if it's difficult. You can always start small, sharing an illustration or making a few prints, and go from there. There is nothing holding you back except the limitations we put on ourselves.
Q: Besides getting to know how awesome you are, Another stated objective of this segment is to encourage travel. What are some of the places you have been? A: Well let's see, So far I have been to Tokyo, Jamaica, Mexico, Canada, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, Orlando, Louisiana, Houston, New York, D.C., Las Vegas, and Atlanta are a few.
Q: What has been your favorite trip so far and why? A:Definitely Tokyo. I studied abroad there for four months and it was the greatest experience of my life so far. The food, culture, and atmosphere exceeded my expectations.
Q: What was your experience like as a black woman abroad? How were you treated? What was their perception of black people? A: I have had fairly good experiences abroad. For the most part, people just stare a lot. The worse was probably when I've had people cross the street to avoid me or older women clutching their purses like I was about to rob or attack them, but I've also had those same experiences in the states. I think the perception of black people is reliant on stereotypes, especially in Asian countries, but for the most part, no one will ever say anything to you directly. They are, however, really surprised when you're polite and articulate and will comment on it, but I think that has something to do with being American as well.
Q: What is one of the coolest things you have seen in your travelss? A: Visiting Nikko Japan and staying in a traditional hotel with a hot spring and visiting the temples was one of my favorite experiences. It was nice to experience traditional Japanese culture away from Tokyo.
Q: What would be your dream destination and why? * A: Japan is my dream destination even though I've been there already. There's just so much to see and take in. I really want to go back! I also want to go to South Korean, Thailand, The Philippines, New Zealand, and Italy.
Q: What are your upcoming travel plans? I am going to India for the Holi Festival in March 2019, Houston in April, Seattle in the summer, and possibly Chicago/Michigan in September.
This is the part of the interview I like to call, "the Plug". If you are working on a particular project or want support for an upcoming show please don't hesitate to let the FlyyFam know so that we can be there for you!
Q: What is your company name and why is this work important to you? A: Jacqui C. Smith Illustrations and I create female empowered artwork on wood. I think female empowerment is important because there is so much strength and beauty in being a woman and I want that to be the focus of my brand.
Q: I couldn't agree more! I love being a black woman! Can you tell me who or what is inspiring you right now? A: I'm heavily influenced by other young black female artists that I follow on Youtube or Instagram. Seeing such amazing work has really pushed me to do more and create as much as possible.
Q: I agree with you on that one. Watching other people flow in their God-given gifts and talents is EXTREMELY inspirational What inspired you to take the first step in your business/project? A: I was working at a job that I hated and I wanted more freedom with my time so I quit that job and it really forced me to step my game up. Once I started making money doing what I love, I never looked back!
Q: That's beautiful Jacqui! Where can we find your products/project to offer support to your cause?
You can find me online at www.jacquicsmith.com. On that site you can book a class or get in touch with me about a custom order. Or you can follow me on Instagram. I post most of my events and most current art work there. If you are looking to purchase my coloring book, it can be purchased on Amazon.
Q: Tell us more about that Art festival you and your friend are putting together of the Brewyard?
A: Sure, I am co- curating a Art Festival at the Brewyard in Glendale California. That means that my partner and I selected all the paintings and artists that will be featured in the show. Its a free event but there will be face painting, food trucks, live music and more. We will also be holding a Auction at the festival and all proceeds will be going to the Glendale Arts Association. I know it is going to be great, my friend Jacquelyn and I have been planning this for some time now, we are expecting a full house!
Thank you so much for your time Jacqui. I just wanted to let everyone know that Jacqui is available for hire for custom illustrations and her work is EXCELLENT! Yal go check her out at www.JacquicSmith.com and talk to her about bringing your photos to life like she did with mine! I look forward to working with you in the future Jacqui! Maybe we can link up in India for the Holi festival haha