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The Sassiest Mama: Jessica Watson-Thorp | Sassy Mama | November 2016

The Sassiest Mama: Jessica Watson-Thorp | Sassy Mama | November 2016

Renowned the world over by art-lovers, Professional Fine Artist and mama of 4 Jessica Watson Thorp knew she was creative from the moment she could walk, when her grandmother taught her to paint and exposed her to all forms of media while whisking her away on art-inspired holidays. Formally trained in all aspects of fine art including sculpture, painting, drawing and print making, Jessica’s work has been featured on screen and in print and exhibited across Dubai. Her private commissions capture a client’s personal experience in bold, bright acrylics and inks and she now also runs art courses from her home, empowering women and children to have confidence in their creativity. Painting, printmaking and parenting go hand-in-hand for Jessica, as she balances her landscapes and observations with the inspiring reality of raising four children (Xanthe, aged almost 14, Havaani, aged 11 and twin boys Isaac and Lucas aged 7).


Tell us about your business and why you started it. 

Art is at the heart of all I do.


I work from my own Artist’s Studio, where I paint peoples’ personal stories and particularly connect with the lives and experiences of women. I paint about birth, pregnancy, love, loss, death, children, connection and the beauty of life.


I love Dubai and paint about this beautiful region that we call home. I love the curves and lines of the architecture here and the often hazy light.


Commissions are a large part of what I do and I take orders globally. I exhibit twice a year both in Dubai and around the world. My next show is at Agora Gallery in New York City in March next year, and I am affiliated with a small gallery in London.


I work at events for businesses, exhibiting, speaking about creativity and running a practical mini workshop for guests.


I have also recently launched bespoke workshops for women where they can spend some time in the Studio connecting to their creative self, via collage, watercolour, ink and printing, and acrylic. I’m very excited about launching my first workshop next month, which is already nearly full.


Being an Artist is my life’s calling and passion. I love working with my hands, and especially enjoy seeing colour running through them. The easiest way to get a ‘snap shot’ of what I do is to take a look at my Instagram @jwtjessicawatsonthorp.


What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?

My favourite! My Mum’s home made sultana cake with no icing. It is an old rustic country recipe which is so moist and full of juicy sultanas. Unlike other fruit cakes it does not have citrus rind and so is quite sweet. I love it!


If we handed you a concert ticket, who would you wish it was for?

I’ve spent a lot of time in South Africa during my life, even before Apartheid was officially abolished, and the colour, passions and rhythm there run deeply though my work.

My ultimate concert would be to attend Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ concert in Cape Town back in 1992. Simon was inspired (as I am) by the rhythms of this fascinating and colourful country. He adored local township music and it’s eclectic mix of musical styles. He caused controversy when he broke the imposed global cultural boycott and traveled there to record and perform.

Unfortunately I didn’t attend, even though I was in the country, but I still love that album…I have it on vinyl (and I’m sure I’m showing my age now!)


What colour do you wear the most?

Blue, blue and blue! I like to dive into colour and this is my absolute favourite. It is the sky and it is the ocean. I have an affinity with water and I enjoy total submersion in my work. Blue is just me!


When did you last cry?

This summer I was in London visiting a friend with the children and we happened to watch New Zealand film ‘Whale Rider’, Niki Caro’s version of the book by Witi Ihimaera. This is SUCH a powerful film about the spiritual journey of a young girl and the differing views of her wider community. She is the chosen one, but the head of the tribe – her Grandfather – will not accept or believe it because she is a girl. Her connection with her spiritual home and how she struggles for him to see it is heart wrenching. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it. This story has parallels to my own work. I paint about strong women and feel strongly and emotionally about issues related to womens’ empowerment.


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