Spotlight on Jessica Soparlo
The artist behind Would Be Nude Not To has a “playful, imaginative, and feminine” style. Jessica Soparlo’s illustrations are inspired by her love of the mountains, the ocean, and the female form.
How did you get into creating? And, who or what were your influences?
“I’ve always enjoyed creating and in my younger years I kept sketchbooks and loved to paint in my spare time. I never thought art could or would turn into a career and had no idea what I wanted to study after high school so I chose to forego University to spend my winters snowboarding. I ended up living with a Graphic Designer in Big White and he ultimately put the idea in my head that I could work, create art, AND continue to jump around BC’s mountain towns (Thanks, Dan!). Graphic Design felt like the perfect solution and my parents were stoked on the idea of me giving up my snowboard bum status for a couple of years while I studied design.
In my early days, I didn’t even know what graphic design was so many of my influences were classic artists like Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Emily Carr. While I still admire those artists and their styles, I am obsessed with a lot of female artists that I’ve found on Instagram like Amber Vittoria, Out Of The (a Canadian Artist from Quebec!), Filippa Edgehill and Laura Berger.”
What has been your greatest accomplishment in your creative career so far?
“Honestly, every day that I give 100% of my effort to pursuing illustration and design as a career is an accomplishment for me. Great clients, cool projects, and dream collaborations… those are all sweet bonuses. It’s not easy to give up financial security and a seemingly straightforward career path to essentially draw naked girls for a living and every day I am reminded of the challenges and roadblocks to this lifestyle. So yeah, anytime I finish a hard day and still want to wake up the next morning and pursue this crazy path I consider it an accomplishment!“
Tell us your strangest commission request.
“Well, I draw naked women for a living and a lot of people have asked me to draw them in my nude girl style. To start the process I ask them to send me an inspiration photo of them hiking, biking, or anything they would like recreated. However lately, I’ve received a couple of photos of my clients actually doing their favourite activity in the nude. I definitely don’t request nude photos and was surprised when that was what I received. But I don’t think it’s strange, if anything I’m impressed and stoked that they went to these lengths to get these shots! But let me reiterate, I definitely do NOT need nude photos for any commission work.”
Tell us about your process while creating these 6 new pieces for Think-It-Over. Was it challenging or did you find it easy? What did you face during this process?
“Well, believe it or not I do like to draw things other than whimsical women in the nude, however I felt strongly about keeping the nude girl theme for these 6 pieces. While free reign on any art project is fun, I find I excel when there are some limitations or boundaries. Normally when I create I like to keep things ‘light’ and the themes pretty simple, however some of these topics for this show are pretty heavy and this was all new territory for me so I was excited to give it a go. I started by having a free sketch session where I drew whatever came to mind when I thought of the word ‘Justice’ or ‘Resilience’ for example. After some time doodling I did a good ol’ Google search to see what would pop up under those topics (um… A LOT). Then I looked at synonyms, symbols and related imagery for each of the words to see if there were any sparks. I even looked up poetry, news articles, and opinion pieces to see if there was a visual that I could attach to those narratives. After exploring all of those avenues I would usually go for a run or walk to let things percolate and see what jumped out at me.
Overall, the process was challenging for me but in the best way possible! It was freeing to explore topics that actually have some weight and incorporate my own opinions. I think these pieces will be the catalyst for more work like this in the future.”
Describe your 2020 in ONE word.
Think-It-Over is on until December 13, 2020. See our website for our opening hours.
If you can’t make it to see the art in person, check out this virtual tour.