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FEATURED CLIENT

JESSICA MCQUARRIE

Feminist Fatal: feministfatal.com
 

Who are you and how would you describe what you do?

I am a multimedia artist. My ongoing project, Feminist Fatal, is a platform for sharing my artwork (graphic art, animations, video, photography, poetry soundscapes), highlighting other artists in the Seattle community via articles, my interview podcast, the Feminist Fatal Audio Program and also an online shop where I sell classic posters and apparel featuring my designs.
 

How did you get started?

My siblings and I grew up on an island in Alaska together and my childhood was characterized by a close relationship between imagination and nature. However, I always felt more like a facilitator of other people's artistic abilities until an employer encouraged me to try graphic design. I could finally materialize my visions in a way I wasn't naturally talented at doing by hand. I started with doing pop-art style portraits of my friends four years ago and through my obsession for learning, honed my style and found outlets to collaborate with other people and started to be able to pay for my projects through the posters and apparel.
 

What do you like about what you do?

I really love meeting and working with new people. I love the spirit of trust that takes place in collaboration and the experiences I have gained in the process are usually worth more to me than the end result. I also get a little thrill every time someone purchases something from my shop. Posters especially have always been a passion of mine and I love that my customers choose to put my art on their walls around the world and look at it every day. It feels like I am sending a little piece of myself out into many different beautiful worlds and I think some of that energy comes back to me.
 

What is most challenging about what you do?

A lot of my pieces take ten hours or more to complete and it is challenging to try to pick projects that will be worth the time when my whims want to dictate my work. It can also be really isolating, sitting at a computer editing video or drawing. This is part of why I love to bring other people into collaborations and I practice a lot of other hobbies to feel balanced. I am completely self taught and there have been many extremely frustrating moments where I just wish there was someone who could give me the shortcut. In the end though I think my path has allowed me to develop a unique style, understand my programs thoroughly and have a lot of confidence in my ability to learn new skills.
 

What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

I really believe self-discipline and humility are the only required skills for teaching yourself graphic art, video, photography, animations, etc. There is so much information online and so much to learn from trial and error. You have to be able to let go of your ego enough to not be held back by the beginning years of fumbling and failing, one day you will lift your head up and realize you are in control. With all things it is my motto that if you are doing it for the reward of the process, the result will eventually exceed your expectations. I have a degree in Comparative Literature, and although pursuing my interest there has helped me grow as a person, multimedia production has paid the bills for the past few years and set me apart for every freelancing and employment opportunity and I've never spent a dime on school.
 

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Ask yourself what you have to offer that is special. There are so many people out there doing graphic design or video and photography. Especially with globalization, there are going to be uncountable numbers of people with more technical skill and more expensive equipment. The most important thing you have to offer the art world is your unique perspective and truth. Lots of people on social media see someone else doing something successfully and think they can do their own version of that and be successful. This route might work better at first, but your opportunities and shine will be limited in the long run and you’re sucking energy from the world rather than offering your own. The medium you choose is never as important as the message you have to share!