We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacki Cohen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacki, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My work-life balance has evolved over time to a more healthy partnership. With age, comes life experiences, lessons, and (we hope) wisdom. After 55 years of age, I finally feel comfortable with my work-life relationship and feel it is nourishing for my soul. In my earlier days, I was not able to manage work and life. It was all work and whatever time was left over was dedicated to “life”. I have mastered keeping regimented work days/times in my studio. This keeps me organized and productive. During the holiday/show season of the fall, I do work on weekend days regularly. I consider this seasonal and it feels normal as my previous background was retail. I start each day with exercise, this sets my day and puts me into an inspirational headspace. I am diligent about my studio hours and equally committed to my free time. For any job but especially a “creative”, my non-work hours are an equal ingredient for the expressive process. I depend on new art ideas, new creations, new collections, new color combinations, etc. In order to manifest these thoughts that translate into art, it is imperative to appreciate my life and non-work hours. My family and friends are vital for my well being and happiness. Happiness equals new art for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I LOVE what I do. I know how fortunate I am to have my passion for my career. I am literally living the dream. I get to create every day and make a living at it. When I am working in my studio, I will get so involved that time stands still. This energy and enthusiasm are expressed in every piece of art that I create. This passion is what truly sets me apart. My professional artist journey has matured and developed over time. Every year I make at least 1 new art goal and at least 1 new business goal. This helps me grow both artistically and professionally. The most important lesson that I have learned and sometimes still struggle with is the confidence to “go for it”. To apply for exhibits, art shows, museums, and galleries. Submitting art for venues, publications, and interviews. To push myself to the next level can be intimidating. Artists often do not think their art is good enough or the right fit. My advice is to always try. Simply stated, you won’t know if you don’t try. My brand is my story. Originally, I started as an admirer of glass art. I would purchase glass art on vacations, at art fairs, and galleries. I have always been fairly artistic and started taking art classes to explore my talent, classes in watercolors, drawing, etc and nothing felt quite right. I discovered a not for credit stained class through a local community college and registered for the class. I learned how to cut the glass, how to use the tools and fell in love with handling the medium. The stained glass end product felt too restrictive for my personal taste. The studio offered a fused glass class. That was a match made in heaven, I knew right then and there my passion has been discovered and ignited. I started as a fused glass hobbyist and took local classes a few times a month. That progressed to classes one a week, then bi-weekly classes for many years. In 2009, I incorporated to be able to start selling my glass professionally. Without my own studio and kiln, I honestly could not call myself a true glass artist and could not be very productive. Without a kiln, you are a glass cutter and designer. 2014 my studio was built and as they say, the rest is history. My story is simple, follow your heart.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I love this question because I am almost an Arizona native. My family moved to Phoenix when I was 7 years old. I love everything about the valley and Arizona. I love the weather, nature, being outside and hiking. My week itinerary would look something like this: Day 1 Start out the day with a local mountain hike, my favorite is Piestewa Peak. Have lunch in old town Scottsdale, Farm & Craft Walk around all the art galleries in Old Town Shop at Scottsdale Fashion Square Dinner would be a family Bar’B’queue in our backyard Drive to Cave Creek and check out the Rodeo at Buffalo Chip and do a little two-step, Day 2 Hike Tom’s Thumb lunch at El Charro Explore the Desert Botanical Garden and take great photos Dinner at Diego Pops in old town Scottsdale Day 3 Hike Camelback Mountain Spa day–Camelback Inn Treat Dinner-Mastros or Oceans 44 Day 4 Road Trip to Sedona Eat pie at Rock Springs on the drive up Hike in Sedona, Westfork or Devil’s Bridge Take a Pink Jeep tour Eat at Mariposa Stay the night, Junpine in Oak Creek Day 5 Drive to Grand Canyon Eat breakfast at Macy’s in Flagstaff on the way to the canyon Mini Canyon hike to Indian Gardens Eat at Oreganos in Flagstaff on the way home Day 6 Hike at Pinnacle Peak Take in a museum, Heard or MIM Afternoon pool day Dinner at Roka Akor Day 7 so much more to do choices are: Golf, tennis, spring training game, art fair, horseback riding check out ASU campus and eat at Chuck Box (classic) or Chop Shop or Pita Jungle Dinner at the Henry or Chelseas Kitchen
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is going to sound corny but honestly, it is my husband, Lance Cohen. He has and continues to encourage me in all aspects of my art. He champions the business side of my art and the creative side. He is always my number one supporter. It gets to the point that he wants to keep much of the art that I make in our home. When I decided to make a huge shift from hobbyist to professional, he was my benefactor that helped me set up my corporation and studio. Glass equipment is quite costly, and he financed the start up my studio 6 years ago. He is continually proud of my accomplishments and art that I create. The second shoutout I want to recognize is my mother, Yetta Gettleman. My mother is about to turn 80 years young and she physically helps me work all my major shows. She shares her pride with customers and admirers. She knows my system and helps me set up and break down a show plus works the show for me. Bless her heart for helping me.