We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessie Gu and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I believe that for most people, pursuing a creative career is driven by a deep passion, and I certainly count myself among them. My love for comics and animations has been a part of me since I was a little girl, and my dream of publishing a graphic novel has remained a steadfast goal over the years. However, I acknowledge that the path to becoming an artist can be long and solitary, riddled with challenges.

Being an artist requires setting personal goals and methodically working towards them, even when self-doubt creeps in or the path ahead seems uncertain. Embracing failure and constantly pushing oneself to take on new challenges is a crucial lesson in the pursuit of a creative career. This journey is not a sprint; it’s a lifelong commitment, and the beauty of it lies in the fact that it never grows dull or stagnant.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a devoted comic book enthusiast, my illustrations are deeply influenced by the captivating world of Japanese manga. I derive immense joy from observing people and engaging in observational drawing and sketches. Nature and animals are another wellspring of inspiration for me, and my daily walks through the nearby park provide a constant source of creative fuel. I’m truly passionate about immersing myself in this world of beauty and wonder. Visual storytelling is my passion, and I yearn to share captivating narratives with my audience.

Recently, I accomplished a significant milestone by completing two zines. One of them delves into the themes of history and heritage, reflecting my belief that heritage is a reservoir of inspiration left behind by those who came before us. It’s a catalyst for us to create new things, and our creations, in turn, shape the future. This zine is a testament to the ever-evolving world we inhabit.

The second zine is a response to the pervasive anxiety that plagues modern society. In it, I engage in conversations with young adults, seeking ways to help them focus on the present rather than being consumed by worries about an unpredictable future and an unchangeable past.

Embarking on a new project is never a straightforward endeavor. When I feel compelled to convey a message, the arduous journey begins. I grapple with procrastination and self-doubt, especially when there’s ample time before a deadline or when no specific deadline exists. It’s a delicate balance of being relaxed enough to experiment, test, and even embrace failure, while simultaneously maintaining the tension necessary to ensure the project advances. I value feedback from my audience but also prioritize staying true to the core theme I aim to express. I’ve learned that avoiding the temptation to convey too many ideas within a single project helps maintain clarity and coherence in my work, ultimately serving as my guiding principle.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were to visit London, I would certainly make sure to plan an unforgettable day for her. First, we’d explore Richmond Park, renowned as the largest park in Europe and famous for its resident deer population. Afterward, we’d head to Soho for a delightful lunch.

Next on our itinerary would be a visit to Tate Modern, a gallery that holds a special place in my heart, and I’d love to share that experience with her. As the day draws to a close, I’d whisk her away to Greenwich to witness the breathtaking sunset against the stunning backdrop.

To cap off our memorable day, we’d enjoy a relaxing drink along the Thames River, creating the perfect ending to our London adventure.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The book ‘What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye’ by Will Gompertz has had a profound impact on my understanding of the art world. I was previously perplexed by modern art, particularly performance and abstract art. This book, an enjoyable read, provided me with valuable insights into the entire evolution of modern art.

In addition to this, I must mention the ‘Picasso and Paper’ exhibition held a few years ago at the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition shed light on Picasso’s captivating journey in exploring and advancing his artistic career, which proved to be a deeply inspiring experience for me.

Website: www.jessiegu.art

Instagram: cumberjessie

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