Art Director, Model Maker and Prop Stylist Jessica Dance specializes in creating handcrafted models, props and sets. By bringing her playful imagination to areas of fashion, editorial, interiors, film and animation, she creates tactile and inviting solutions to a brief. Commissioned by Stylist magazine, Dance has collaborated with food photographer David Sykes to create a tasty spread of knit dishes and other edibles for their “Comfort Food” issue, which celebrates the foods that keep us warm and happy during the winter month. All objects are homemade using 100% lambswool and a domestic knitting machine. For more check out the interview below and visit her website www.jessicadance.com.
How did your art career start? What made you want to become an artist?
I have always loved creating and making for as long as I can remember. I did a degree in fashion and as soon as i completed my degree I realised that fashion wasn’t for me, it’s very fast paced and things go in and out of fashion where as with art it is timeless. For me it is all about the message and the process, I love that people can interpret art however they feel is right, there isn’t a right or wrong.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Not necessarily any personalities, but I have always been inspired by traditional crafts processes and practices. I love taking the time to sit down and teach myself a new process (well, new to me… the process might be hundreds of years old!) there is something very rewarding about reading a book and learning something new and creating something with your hands.
What was your favourite project and why?
I created x5 knitted faux taxidermy busts for a client, he was super easy going and asked my to create what I felt was right for the space (which happened to be a highland bull, sheep, stag, wild boar and a deer!). I spent weeks crafting the animal busts and it was very rewarding installing them into the space.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
Learning that the art world and creative industry is a whole world of its own with a pace of its own.
How do you define creativity?
Allowing your mind to run free and allowing yourself to imagine. I think Art really is ‘Play’, so for me I think it’s important to put day to day responsibilities to the back for your mind to create.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him or her?
Learn to let go! I am still working on this one! It’s very hard not to be emotionally connected to what you are making, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes things you may see as imperfections are actually what a viewer might love, because they show that what you have created has been made by the human hand. It is very easy to ‘over work’ something.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21? what I want to do with my life!
When I was 21, I knew I wanted to make things but I had no idea about how to make a career out of it; although I do think it is an important process to make mistakes or to do things that aren’t quite right – because sometimes you need to do the wrong things in order to understand what is right for you.