All the way from Australia, where she grew up in a small farming town in the far South, we meet Jessica Watson-Thorp, a very active fine artist with a wild passion for colour in all its hues. We speak to Jessica about her art, inspiration & living in Dubai.
Please tell us about your business and what inspired you to start your business adventure?
I am a professional Fine Artist and art has always been my passion, my true love. I specialise in bespoke and personally commissioned paintings which I deliver to clients both here in the UAE and across the globe.
My decision to work professionally in my field was a big risk. I believe you have to be true to yourself, to follow your calling. Your work (or for me the art I produce) will then always shine with passion, movement and life. People can see this passion in my work and they connect to it.
Where can we find your art?
I am represented by Galleries in New York City and in London and am involved in art initiatives here in Downtown Dubai, Al Quoz and the Al Fahidi District where I collaborate with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. I also exhibit throughout the year in Dubai and my Studio is always open for tours via appointment.
ABOUT LIVING IN DUBAI
What inspire you in/about Dubai?
I am a colour fanatic and I love to drink it in. In Dubai it’s the turquoise waters, the warm light and the reds and glowing oranges of the dunes that inspire me. I find the architecture of the region fascinating, the curves, domes and arches and the windows. I love the windows! A lot of my work is my take on this beautiful region that I call home.
Favourite thing to do in City?
I love leaving the glitz and glamour of the new part of Dubai behind and heading down to the old part of town near the creek. I never tire of the Al Fahidi District and the souqs – they’re always so full of life, colour and aromas. The pace of life is a lot slower down there and I love being near the water. I’ll always finish off one of these visits with the tranquility of the Park Hyatt. Perfect for afternoon tea and a beautiful example of old colonial style.
Do you have a design secret to share with us?
Something that I have learned at Graphic Design school and has always worked; if you can't fix it, exaggerate it.
What's your favorite way to spend the weekend?
I love a lazy start to contrast with the business of the week. I often go down to La Serre in Downtown for breakfast. La Serre serves the best pastries in town. It’s made up of a gorgeous Parisian boulangerie downstairs and a bistro upstairs. This venue often supports local artists by showing their collections as part of their ongoing Artists Initiative. I had the privilege of being one of the first Artists to show with them and still have a few pieces hanging upstairs in the Bistro along side works from Meem Gallery and Art Sawa. La Serre is a perfect match between fine art and fine food and it’s attached to the Vida Hotel, which holds a monthly art auction.
A Dubai store you could spend hours browsing?
I live near Box Park, on Al Wasl Road, so I am often there for the quirky shops and cafes. I love Typo for it’s textured and quirky stationary, and Urbanista; it has such an eclectic mix of accessories and gifts.
A LITTLE EXTRA...
Things you can't live without?
Colour, and art. I see it everywhere, I take note of its gradients, it’s tones and personalities, the moods it sets and how it enhances our lives without us even noticing.
As an entrepreneur please share some tips that help you set up?
With any major project or dream the key is the decision to start, after that take one step at a time. Every small step counts and adds up to create your dream, your dream day, your dream job, your dream life.
Keep an ever-present drive and a belief in yourself that you can achieve your goal. Whatever set backs you encounter just keep going.
It is crucial to reach out to others who are willing to help and support you, and outsourcing the stuff that is not your forte. This might just be a friendly chat with an IT guy sitting next to you on the plane, or your girlfriend who is a full time Mum but has a professional background in law or commerce and would love to help you succeed with a word of advice or two. Connections and opportunities for self-development are everywhere. Take them.
Finally, fine-tune what you are creating and work out the market you are targeting. You need to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Think about how you are going to do this, then feed this message across your brand, your social media, your work, what you say if you speak about your work, the work itself. This all sounds daunting, but in fact it’s not as your brand is YOU, and you know yourself best.
Do you read any blog? If so which ones are your favorite?
I read a lot of art blogs to keep on top of what is happening on the global art scene, Artsy Magazine is great for this and very informative. I also read ART AFRICA as my work is heavily influenced by my time spent there in my teens.
Do you have a life motto?
Do it with passion, or not at all.