• Chad

Interview with Felicity Jones of FJ Creations

Our next interview is with our featured artist for the Kenai Peninsula box, Felicity Jones! We featured her Doodle Fish of Alaska coloring book full of pretty fish to color and lots of fish facts. :) We talked about how faith influences her inspiration, her love of fantasy novels, and more. And here...we...go!

Tell me a bit about yourself, Frostwhisker's Crafts (Or is it FJ Creations?), and how you got started?

When I was thirteen, I opened my first Etsy shop and named it after my leopard character, hence the name Frostwhisker’s Crafts. However as my business grew, it felt like my business name needed to change. I wanted my new business name to be something easy to write and say. I also felt like I needed to stop hiding behind my art and stand next to it more. So I went with the name FJ Creations.

As for how I got started, I feel like my art truly became my lifestyle in 2014. I posted a picture of one of my art pieces on Facebook, and received a request for a print. I bought my first batch of prints and FJ Creations took off from there.

That's awesome! Sometimes it just takes that one thing to set it all in motion. As far as naming characters, is that something you do a lot?

Yup! I am even currently working on a fantasy novel that takes place in a fantasy world of my own creation. It's still very bare bones but this year I am really pressing into it and getting some pages written.

I was reading on your website and you talk about how your inspiration comes from creation and, by extension, from God. You already answered that question super thoroughly on your website but maybe I can come at it from a slightly different angle. How does your art evolve from what originally inspires it and how much of your own imagination works its way into the mix?

Ever since I was small, I have been fascinated by nature, and the only way I knew how to express this awe of God’s creation was through my art. Because of this, I never really studied any other styles, and simply tried to draw what I saw, and capture the amazing world around me on paper. Eventually this became very bland, and even frustrating for me, because it was so hard to capture the grandeur of the world around me, and it made me dislike drawing realistically.

However that day that I sat down on my aunt's couch and drew my first doodle piece, I finally understood what I had been trying to draw all along. It was the very first time that I sat there and looked at the feelings behind the piece I was trying to draw. I wanted to draw a horse's head, but I also wanted it to be so much more. So I began to weave my memories into this horse. Squiggly lines like the trails I ride, a bird that I had once seen nesting, a feather I once grabbed from a tree as I stood on tip toes from my horse's back, and flowers that grew in the hay fields where my horse would love to run. It was then I realized that I had never been trying to draw exactly what I was seeing, I had been trying to draw what I was feeling when I looked at nature.

So now when I sit down to draw a piece, I study everything about it. Where is it used? Who does it affect? What has been its role in history? Then I take that information, mix it with my own feelings and experiences with it, and then I set to working at how to draw my piece. I have often said that art is a window into an artist's soul, and that is exactly what my pieces are for me.

Wow! When you talk about it that way, this blending of feelings and story, I can definitely see how that can translate to your art. When you're tapping into your feelings that way, it sounds like it makes the pieces a lot more personal. Do you find that to usually be the case?

Yes, especially since I am basing a major part of the piece off my own feelings and thoughts towards the art subject. I feel this gives the art a very unique feeling, since no one else has lived my life or seen through my eyes. 

You mention being a "jack of all arts." Is there a style that sort of rises to the top for you as a favorite or is it more mood dependent?

My art style can be pretty mood dependent, but you can always find a string of my personality throughout every piece, whether it be a flaming pink cyborg unicorn, or a lounging black and white doodle lynx. I sometimes mention that I see myself as a “jack of all arts” because while my favorite art tools are the humble pen and pencil, I will get these wild hairs to try something completely different. Typically this will be something hands on like sculpting, wire work, resin casting, or something to that effect.  

So I first learned about pyrography when I interviewed Hailey Morgan for our midtown Anchorage box and I think it's a really cool and unique way of creating. What drew you to it and what do you like most about it?

Well, to be honest, this is something I’ve only barely scraped the surface of, but it has thoroughly captured my interest and I would love to try some big pieces. (That will have to wait until I get a well ventilated studio though.)

That makes sense! Do you already have some pieces or ideas in mind for when you get to that point?

Once I sit down to do something it would most likely do whatever it wants! Haha, I don’t always have much control over what my pieces will be, especially when using a tool or art form I am unfamiliar with. Although if I had to say something, I would probably say I would like to do some salmon or whales on some driftwood.

You mention on your website your love of drawing fantasy creatures, dragons in particular. Can you tell me more about the challenge of drawing something purely from imagination?

Personally I think drawing from the imagination is the best part of art!  I have always felt that, at least for me, art is an amazing opportunity to create a beautiful image you could never, ever capture on camera. 

Unrelated to your art, but I love fantasy as well, so I have to ask: What are your favorite fantasy authors/series?

I love a good variety of fantasy series, but off the top of my head there’s The Wheel of Time, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, The Inheritance Cycle, and The Legend of Drizzt.

Nice! I've read most of those! Haven't gotten around to anything but The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for Narnia and haven't read The Inheritance Cycle. Eragon, right? I'm a huge Brandon Sanderson fan, so most of the reading that I've done recently has been his works. Have you ever drawn anything that's been directly inspired by the books that you read?

Initially my response to this would be no. I have never sat down and purposefully tried to draw something inspired by those books. However this does not mean you couldn’t find small themes from those books throughout all of my art, both visual and written. As most artists have found, the subconscious can be a surprisingly sneaky sneak that will take inspiration from anything and everything throughout your entire life. Then again, perhaps it is the blending off all the influences in your life that make something unique. 

Are there any events that we can find you at throughout the year?

This year I plan on doing the Nutcracker Faire here in Homer. That's about it. :D This year I was taking a bit of a break from events to help out on the ranch with my mom and dad's wedding venue, AK Diamond J.

Any upcoming pieces that you've been working on that you can tease?

Oh sorry, I am just in-between projects at the moment. I just finished up my doodle moose, and now I am going to work on doing a float plane but I am still in the researching stage of this next project.

What was it about The Bear Box that made you want to be a part of it?

To be honest, I didn’t know about The Bear Box until I was approached about it, but I did do some research, and I thought it seemed well put together and a super fun project to boot! 

Anything else that you haven't mentioned yet that you'd like to? Words of wisdom? Inspiring quotes?

Here’s something for artists that I often tell them when they ask how I draw such good animals: If you are ever drawing a living creature and having a difficult time with the anatomy, I would suggest looking up the skeleton of your subject. Knowing the skeletal system can do wonders for how you view the movement of an animal.

Thanks for being a part of The Bear Box, Felicity! If you'd like to check out more of her artistic talent, you can go to her website, her Facebook, or her Instagram. She also has some cool speed draws on her YouTube.