Artist Interview: Jessica Egan

Jessica Egan has been working at One Strange Bird since the store opened. She is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago receiving her degree in Fine Arts and with a minor in Environmental Studies. Her artwork is about, and often made out of, natural materials. Whether it be live flowers or clay, this artist doesn't mind a little dirt under her nails. Her love for teaching and art is always apparent with her students, whether young or old. 03de26ca7caddb61-please

What is your name?

Jessica Egan

 What’s your favorite color?

Gold or goldenrod yellow

What’s your current studio jam?

I've been listening to a lot of Belle & Sebastian because I recently saw them in concert. Also anything with a Motown sound is high on my list of feel good music (Doris Troy, Betty Everett, the Supremes, and Dionne Warwick are great dancing tunes.)

Who’s art are you digging lately?

I was lucky enough to be paired with Jenny Kendler and Heidi Norton in a recent group show and I have absolutely fallen in love with their work.

 What’s on your summer reading list?

I just finished Neil Gaiman’s new novel Ocean At the End Of the Lane and would recommend it highly. It’s also a tradition to read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine every summer so I need to read that before September. Lastly I really want to check out the book that Simon Gallo recommended on his summer reading list, WIldwood. 

What’s your favorite place in Chicago?

My favorite place is my patio. All my plants are growing up there and I love spend time with them. We also barbecue a lot with friends outside and it makes for a great place to pass an afternoon or evening.

What’s your hidden talent? 

I’m a great tree climber and flower crown maker. I also have green thumb.

What’s your favorite YouTube video?

My sister and I love to send each other adorable YouTube videos, so this list could go on forever, but my current favorite is Mitchiri Neko's March.

What is your favorite class to teach and/or what class would you like to take?

I love teaching terrarium making and clay basics, to kids or adults. I would also really love to take our upcoming art and yoga retreat.

Okay, let’s get serious…

What is your role at One Strange Bird? 

I am the store manager and I also teach a lot of kids, family, and adult classes.

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How would you describe your artwork?

I always joke and say "My art is very flower," but it literally is. I use a large variety of different media, including; living flowers, dirt, ceramic, glass, laser-cut wood, microscopes, and photographs. Much of my work is about nostalgia and human relationships with nature. I am building my own personal language through the use of natural materials.

How does your art relate to your work at One Strange Bird and vice versa?

I am always inspired by the work that students create, whether it is with summer campers or adults. I really enjoy working with young people because they are so endlessly creative. It also makes me feel comfortable about what I am making and helps me create fun, and often weird, art. Finding new topics and classes to teach at One Strange Bird also makes me branch out and become more accomplished at new art processes.

What type of art do you want to try?

I really would love to try writing and illustrating short stories. I recently made up this crazy planet with my summer camp students when I challenged them to create their own "imagined planet." I really got into my story and have been writing and sketching about it for the past couple weeks.

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What publication do you see yourself in a few years from now?

Better Homes & Gardens! But seriously... Sculpture Magazine or Art In America. See more of Jessica Egan's artwork on her website and in person at the opening reception for "We're All In This Together" tonight, Saturday, August 3rd, from 6:00-9:00.