Calah Jones is a visual artist based out of Stafford VA. In addition to her art endeavors she also owns her own magazine called Illesthetic. This week we got a chance to hear more from her on her journey, as well as her message to aspiring artists.
A: When and How did you discover that you had a passion for art?
In middle school. I was in the advanced art classes and I found it more interesting than any other subject. I started making art for people in my family and family friends and it just became something that I did.
Q: Who do you consider to be your biggest influences?
A: Artistically, my biggest influences are contemporary artist Jordan Casteel and the infamous Georgia O’Keeffe. They influenced my style in portraiture and abstract art.
Q: What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome as a creative?
A: Artist’s block. Recently, I went a whole year without creating anything and it really took a toll on my business and my skill. After I graduated college, I didn’t have the push anymore like I did with a professor over m y shoulder constantly challenging me and giving me new projects to work on. I had to fill up my own time with art. And not being surrounded by other artists like I was in the studio also discouraged me from starting again. Just finding the motivation to create is sometimes my downfall.
Q: What do you think is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
A: I also curate art shows and exhibitions, as well as publish and design my digital and print art magazine called Illesthetic. I curated an art exhibition called AB’STRAKT at the Rawls Museum Art gallery in Courtland, VA in July 2018. I’ve always wanted to open my own gallery and curate exhibitions (which I think are a little more on the professional side) rather than my local art shows, so that was amazing to put that on my resume so young. And also the magazine. It’s another form of curating to me, and to have that as a published and now officially trademarked is a huge accomplishment for me.
Q: What upcoming projects do you have in store for this year?
A: This year, nothing. But for 2020 I want to curate another exhibition in a museum/gallery. I’m also going to start painting more and enter more shows.
Q: How do you feel about the creative scene in your area?
I feel like the art/creative scene in the 757 is flourishing, definitely, but I also feel like its a popularity thing. Not many artists are well known if they don’t have a lot of social media followers, which is kind of lame considering they put their work in shows that not a lot of people come out to support. Which is why I try to keep having shows for artists and featuring different artists in the area in the magazine, because no one else will. So, I’d say the art scene is huge, the support for the arts is kind of where it needs to grow. And that doesn’t just mean buying people’s art, I mean there should be twice as many people coming to art shows, more art related events, and just more ways for artists and creatives to network versus everyone trying to be the most seen on social media.
Q: What qualities about yourself do you feel separates you from other artists?
A: I’m more of a do it yourself type of person. And I mean that by saying, if I can’t find something (i.e. an art show to be in, or a magazine company to intern for), I’m going to do it myself. I’ll start up something simply because I’ll notice it isn’t happening.
Q: What was your biggest failure as an artist and how did you over come it?
A: Biggest failure would probably have to be not entering in as many art shows as I should have while I was in college. That also put a pause on some of my work. I would have liked to have been recognized as an artist. Maybe I was, but it didn’t feel like it.
Q: What advice do you have to upcoming artists who want to make a name for themselves?
A: Always put your work out there and never drop your prices just because the area you’re in cannot afford it. And if you can’t find an opportunity, make your own.
Keep up with Calah on social media and on her website!
IG: @calahpillar & @illesthetic_mag