THE ORIGINS OF AN ARTIST
I don’t ever remember a time when art wasn’t a part of my heart and soul. From a young age, I would draw — especially wildlife. I have vivid memories of scouring through wildlife books, studying the animals before setting out to draw them. To this day, I still have one such book. It’s serves as a reminder of where I came from.
And, in order to understand my art today, you have to understand where I came from. While my full name is Jessica Pettit-Mee, I choose to be known for my art as Jessica Ivy. Ivy holds special meaning for me, as I have always loved the way it winds its way up a person’s home, enveloping it. My art is meant to do that, too — to belong to a person’s home, their heart.
Currently, I am 27 years old and live in West Cork, Ireland. It truly is one of the most beautiful places on this earth and inspires me to create the way I do. The wild terrains, the amazing coastlines, the beautiful countryside...there is no place like it.
I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IN AN INSTANT THAT IT IS A JESSICA IVY PIECE
Like many artists, early on I was discouraged from pursuing art as a career. I was often told there was no money in it, or that it was better kept as a hobby. After hearing this repeatedly, I chose to study history and business primarily. I continued studying art as well, and received good grades throughout secondary school. But on my Leaving Cert, I received a lower score than normal. For me, this was the final sign that art was not something I would pursue.
In fact, that score even kept me from drawing for five years.
Instead, I attended University College Cork (UCC), graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Economics. At age 21, I took a year off from university to work and save money to pursue my Masters in Business Economics. But during that year, I grew restless. I decided to move to Australia. A year later, I returned to Ireland a different person. But still, nothing major changed. So, I decided to go interrailling for the summer. Upon returning to Ireland again, I began work as a receptionist.
As I began to observe friends graduating with their Masters, or landing their dream jobs, I knew I needed to change something. I didn’t necessarily feel lost in my life, but I knew that I couldn’t keep chasing travels as a means of happiness. As I interacted with the graphic designers at the office where I worked, I gained interest in the career and chose to return to college to study Graphic Design and Illustration.
Because I needed a portfolio for the college to consider me, I began taking drawing classes during the evenings. It was then I found my way back to art. I often wonder how I went those years without it, as it is such an integral part of me at my core.
Fast forward to today. I currently work for a design company, and, in my spare time, am working on my first collection as an artist, set to launch May 2019.
The process of creating has been a long one, but the process means as much to me as the result. Through the process I have truly honed in on my personal style, which is vital as an artist I want people to be able to see my art and know in an instant that it is a Jessica Ivy piece.
As I move forward in my career as an artist, I will never again doubt this decision. It is where I am meant to be. Art is the biggest component of my life. It is the fire in me. It is my solace, my joy, my freedom, my absolute everything. It feeds my soul.
Art is simply who I, Jessica Ivy, am.
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