|art by Jessica Sporn|
Jessica Sporn, the namesake behind Jessica Sporn Designs and part of the teacher team for the Handcrafted Holidays class, lives the life of her dreams as a professional, self-taught mixed media artist, because she learned the power of “yes.” When we spoke in preparation for the Handcrafted Holidays class, we discussed how her approach to art has roots in her theater background. Watch the video to learn about her philospohy.
“Yes, and. . .”
Back in her acting days, Jessica learned a popular improvisation exercise known as “Yes, and. . ..” The premise is simple. One actor starts off telling a story and asks a question, and then the next actor answers with “Yes, and. . .” to continue the adventure and story. Jessica explains that when she makes art, she approaches it just like she would the “Yes, and. . .” improv exercise.
“Just say yes – jump in – go with the flow – add another layer – let your colors speak to each other – let your shapes dance together – and let your heart sing with the creative vibrations of your materials and the energy all around you.”
Actress to artist adventures
Throughout her life, Jessica said, “yes,” and her adventures unfolded in ways she never imagined.
Although she always loved to paint and draw as a child, Jessica pursued performing arts in high school as a student and actress at New York’s High School of Performing Arts (the inspiration behind the movie, television show and Broadway production Fame.)
While pursuing her acting career in New York City, she became involved in pro-choice politics. She ultimately left theater to go to law school, following in the socially minded footsteps of her grandfather and father.
During her first pregnancy, she craved to paint and create like some women crave pickles and ice cream. She painted her daughter’s birth announcement, and from that work, someone asked her to paint a mural in their baby nursery. Although as a child, Jessica had taken art classes at Brooklyn Museum, it had never occurred to her that she could make a living with her art. Nevertheless, she said, “yes.”
After her first child was born, Jessica left the full-time practice of law, and became a full-time decorative painter. She also painted birth announcements for her friends. In 1994, she said “yes” to an audition in a community theater production. There she met a fairly successful cartoonist who invited her to go to a licensing conference after seeing her artwork. Although she didn’t know anything about art licensing at that time, she said, “yes.”
At the conference, she launched her illustration career when she said, “yes” to a licensing agent. She first licensed her greeting card designs to Recycled Paper Greetings. Today, her client list includes Hallmark, American Greetings, Toland and many more. She is proud to also design stencils for Stencil Girl Products and stamps for Rubbermoon, as well as Judaica products for Aviv Judaica Inc.
She offers online classes, hosts a successful Meetup Group with monthly classes in her Montclair, NJ, studio, and also can be found teaching local art classes and retreats. The common thread? You guessed it! She said, “yes.”
Put the power of “yes” to work for you
What’s Jessica’s advice for new artists? Just say, “yes, and…” do it! As someone who didn’t go to school to be an artist, she says grab a pad of paper, some markers and start! Keep going – add layers – let one inform the other – play!
Don’t let the adventure end by saying, “no.”
Online classes such as our Handcrafted Holidays class lead you to your own art adventures with 10 different artists to inspire you with unique ideas on how to create your own gifts and holiday decor this fall. Our teacher team will walk you through each project from mixed media to watercolors and many styles in between to help you create the perfect gift from your heart for everyone on your list this holiday season. Since we’re kicking it off in the fall, timeline stress won’t squash the creative process. You will have all your gifts wrapped up with plenty of time to enjoy the holidays with your family and loved ones.
Sneak Peek at Jessica’s Project
During this group taught class, Jessica will teach us how to create a tzedakah box. The tzedakah box is a fundamental part of Jewish households and is filled up with coins to give to the poor or needy.
Since charity has roots in all religious traditions, this is a great project to make no matter your faith. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, just think of it as making an artful “piggy bank.”
So, how about it?
Here are just a few reasons to say “yes” for the Handcrafted Holidays class:
Connect with 10 Inspirational Art Teachers
Are you ready to create your own handmade gifts from the heart?
- Nothing compares to giving handcrafted gifts from the heart to your loved ones.
- Our online format gives you the guidance you need and step-by-step instructions so you will complete your project without the frustration of going it alone.
- Plus you’ll have the bonus of external accountability to get your holiday projects done in time!
- Our teacher team has done the heavy lifting of figuring out 10 unique gifts to create, so you won’t need to struggle to come up with ideas.
Registration now open!!!