Jaz Higgins is a pop surrealist artist based in Brisbane, Australia. She has worked as a full time artist for the past 7 years from her home studio, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Carrie: Welcome to Artist Strong Jaz Higgins, how would you describe your art to my readers?
I paint big eyed girls in fun, whimsical settings. These girls often take the form of fairies, mermaids and other mythical creatures. I want my art work to splash colour and magic across walls everywhere. My paintings are to remind you that life can be happy, magical and carefree. Even my ‘darker’ paintings, with skeletons and wicked witches, have a whimsical feel about them. They should intrigue you, evoke a sense of mystery, and excite you.
Carrie: When did you first realize your love of art?
I realized I loved art from a very young age – maybe even as young as two? I remember loving painting and drawing in kindergarten, and my Mum often bought me coloring books and pens as a reward for good behaviour!
Carrie: How did you discover your artistic style?
I think it was in high school. I have always loved bright colours and drawing the female form, but I could never really stick to ‘realistic’ style portraiture, I always wanted go beyond the realms of ‘realism’ and add in other surreal components. For instance, I painted a self portrait in high school where I was sitting on a mountain, but I just couldn’t leave it as a mountain, I had to change it into a giant hand, and then I added other hands and trees in to the painting.
Carrie: How do you think vulnerability affects artists/creatives?
Henri Matisse once said “creativity takes courage.” A blank canvas can be extremely intimidating and I think the first brush stroke is always the hardest. It takes courage to put your mind to something artistically. Furthermore, if you want to sell your art, you need people to see it, and that makes you incredibly vulnerable to both praise and criticism. Art comes from the soul, and you’re opening up your soul a little bit each time you are sharing your art with others. It’s both scary and incredibly satisfying at the same time.
Carrie: Where do you get ideas for your art?
I lot of ideas pop in to my head while I’m doing everyday things like walking the kids to school or washing up the dishes. I might spot a certain flower or come across a little dragonfly, and that will inspire a painting. When I’m actively looking for inspiration, I look to vintage illustrated story books, movies, nursery rhymes, magazines, art books, art galleries, and museums.
Carrie: What are important strategies or choices you make that help support your creative process?
I try not to wait for inspiration to strike. Even if I’m not feeling creative, I just try to start on something, anything. It usually takes form in one way or another eventually. With a busy home life, and two young children sometimes I have to choose to put things (like housework!) ‘on the back-burner’ while my painting takes priority. If I always waited for a ‘spare moment’ to paint, it would never get done.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
My art gets better the more I practise, but there have been times where I’ve hesitated to show someone something, or enter an art prize, and thought I should ‘wait until I get really good’ before I do something. I now tell myself to just go ahead and do it. The worst thing that can happen is that they can turn you away. The best thing that can happen is that they love your work.
Carrie: What is one piece of advice you have for struggling creatives?
Don’t let the blank canvas intimidate you. Just start. The process will flow over time. You don’t even have to show anyone!
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
My love for pop surrealism blossomed when I stumbled upon Mark Ryden’s work. The way he juxtapozes the cute and the creepy really struck a chord with me. I haven’t been able to tear myself away from his work ever since. I always come back to his work when I’m needing a dose of inspiration.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity is that child-like ‘spark’ you get when you are working on something. It’s exciting, and flows through you with ease.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Decide your art is ready to show, ready to enter in competitions today. How do you navigate those feelings of “I should wait until my art is really good” that can hold us back? I want to know! Talk about it in the comments below.
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