What is the best thing that I love about my work?
Art is so much about communicating – being able to capture ideas/emotions and create an image that has an impact on the viewer in some way that encourages introspection or growth. As I have grown as an artist, this is something that has always remained a north star for me and I’m constantly learning and improving on how best to do this. When I succeed, that is what I love most in my art.
And color. I’ve a somewhat desaturated use of color, but I love exploring color. That has always felt like where I was most home in my art.
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
There are two things that make me most happy – my work and my wonderful fiance and daughter. Being able to spend all my time shared between those two worlds would be wonderful. And maybe a little (or a lot of) time for reading! Also, as an artist/writer, one of the most fulfilling things is when others connect emotionally to my work. That is one-half of why I create.
What is my greatest fear?
Isolation. I’ve always had a fear of not being connected to others, of being invisible or too alien. It is something I have struggled with my whole life.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
Anxiety. I try to hide it but that takes so much energy and willpower. I miss out on a lot of things because of that anxiety, and I talk myself out of even more. It will take me a year or more sometimes just to convince myself to send my work somewhere. Often I wish I could just exhale out all that anxiety, just relax, smile and be comfortable with others; confident and free.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?
There are so many artists that I admire, for so many different reasons. The quality that they all share is that they are super passionate and invested in what they do. Artists that pour themselves into their work 150% are so inspiring to me. Also those that are able to create in a way that positively impacts those who experience their work. I’ve always had a love for the above and beyond – and seeing those artists that do that are always my inspiration.
What is my greatest extravagance?
I collect books – extravagantly – no seriously, I have thousands of them. And I plan to acquire thousands more! I have no shame.
Also, and this may make me a terrible person – but I love smoking. I love smoking dark spicy cloves, the way they crackle and the smoke moves through you. I love smoking dark cigars and pipe tobacco laced with cloves.
On what occasion would I lie?
To protect people. If the truth does more harm than good, I am going to err on the side of doing no harm. Oh and surprises, surprises are fun!
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
I’ve reached a point where, though I still have much to learn, I’m happy with what I am creating. I am much more dissatisfied with my marketing and business skills than I am with my art itself. That is something I aim to work on this year. Creating the art is only half the equation for me and if others aren’t seeing it, than how can it ever impact others, communicate ideas or have any meaning besides being my own mirror.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
I feel like things just keep getting better! Each new project feels even more exciting than the last, each painting just a little better than the last. So I guess now, this very moment and then then next moment, that line right at the edge of stepping into the future.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
My anxiety. I would purge that from my psyche. It holds me back from so many things! I spend so much energy fighting myself from talking myself out of things. I am quick to just retreat back into painting in isolation for another year or two rather than really putting my work or self out there.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
I feel so excited about so many things I have worked on and am starting now! I think helping create Boneshaker Press and helping create a 2nd Volume of Encounters with the Imaginary (and we are just about to start Vol 3!) feels like an incredible achievement.
Outside of Boneshaker Press, there are a few of my paintings I am proud of, but I am especially proud of the book I am just starting to create of Egyptian Mythology themed stories and art. Actually stepping out of my comfortable hiding spot and starting a Patreon and running a Kickstarter feels like such a huge accomplishment in and of itself.
Where would I most like to live?
I might be a reptile – so somewhere where it never drops below 90 degrees and is near the ocean. If I never saw snow again – that would be amazing!
What is my most treasured possession?
My books. I adore them. All 6,000 or so of them. Each one. And all the ones to come…
What is my most marked characteristic?
Hard to be objective about this or know what others would say. I would like to think my insatiable curiosity but that might just be what I like about myself.
I am very stubborn, very loyal and empathetic. I tend to be pretty serious but kind and open hearted. I am not sure what would be the most marked but those are some landmarks.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
Not one particular place but the mountains out here in North East Pennsylvania are gorgeous. When I first drove through PA, it was during a super foggy rain shower and I was overwhelmed by the lush green everywhere. It was like a fairytale. Granted, I had been living in Arizona for a few years before that, so I might have been a little pre-conditioned for that response.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
Hmm don’t really have one – at least nothing super interesting or fancy. I like to get chai at my local Barnes & Nobles because well chai and books lol. I also like to find a dive bar now and then to sit, smoke a cigar and drink some whiskey. North East PA has plenty of those!
What books influenced my life and how?
Godel Escher Bach – This book was a gateway drug for me into the field of cognitive science. I read it when I was 11 and fell, like Alice, into the wonderland of it’s labyrinthian twists and turn of phrases, exploring recursive formal systems and how they map onto consciousness. I had never had such a mentally stimulating experience before and I was hooked. I have been fascinated with questions of self-awareness, how we know things and puzzles and logic ever since. I return to this book time and again just to wander the halls, allowing my curiosity and sense of wonder to be rekindled.
Who are my favorite writers?
God – not sure how to narrow this down! Theodore Sturgeon, Octavia Butler, Alfred Bester, Ursula Le Guin, Walter Tevis, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert and Salman Rushdie. I also have a serious love for the wit and mental agility of essays and stories written by Mark Twain, H.L.Mencken and Dostoevsky. As for poetry: Ezra Pound, T.S.Eliot, Charles Olson, William Carlos William and Pablo Neruda.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
If I can help it, I will never die. Seriously, if they figure out how to upload my brain to a computer, make me a robot, frankenstein me back together, hell even just keep my brain alive in a jar with an internet connection lol I will do it!
That being said, worse case scenario, I die. I’m a blues gal so I’d like to have my fill of that. Specifically, I’d have to say Tom Waits, while drinking warm whiskey and smoking a cigar or clove.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
I don’t know that I have any heroes per-say, but as a child, there was something about Ender from Ender’s game that I really connected with. I was always very advanced and learn super fast and I was always an outsider with the other kids. That feeling has stayed with me throughout my life. But I was always motivated by the idea of achieving great things despite isolation and inner battles.
And Captain Picard. Picard might actually count as fictional hero for me. I was always inspired by his intelligence, his dignity, his strong moral code and integrity and how he had the confidence to lead and positively shape the world around him.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Again, I don’t really have heroes but rather, greatly respect those who have certain qualities. I enormously respect and admire people with integrity, loyalty, who are willing to do the hard work and who strive for mastery or greatness in some way.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
I tend to lean towards cerebral or clever scifi. I thought Arrival was incredible. Interstellar as well. Solaris, 2001, The Fountain – those are a few others that have stayed with me for a long time.
What role plays art in my life and work?
It consumes most of my waking hours and thoughts. I even dream about painting and writing. It is a medium to communicate ideas and connect to other people, to create something of value to others, to work towards the unachievable goal of mastery. It is my default – what I would have to work harder not to do, than to do. I also might be a workaholic lol
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
That would be my fiance, John. His unwavering support and encouragement is incredible. Even when I am the one to falter and say – maybe I can’t do this, maybe I should get a ‘real’ job – he’s the one that picks me up, dusts me off, and tells me to get back to work. Lovingly of course 🙂
Whom would I like to work with in 2018?
So many people! I am an idea person and I always have ideas for new projects I can try with new people! I have to keep that in check! But as we prepare to launch Vol. 3 of Encounters, we are opening it up to submissions and I am so so excited to see what wonderful artists we get to work with this year!
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018?
Social anxiety makes me scared of meeting people to some extent. Don’t get me wrong – I love people! I love talking with people, just usually takes and hour or two of wrestling myself to calm before and after. That being said – I love meeting all kinds of new people who are creative and curious.
What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on?
So many! But there are 2 that really top the list. I’m helping organize the 3rd Volume of Encounters with the Imaginary. Each year it has been growing and improving. I’m so excited to see how it grows this year!
I’m also working on creating my own book filled with stories and paintings themed around Egyptian Mythology, “From Dark Expanse, the Stars”. This project has been germinating for some time and it is exciting to see it starting to come to life. I’m starting a Patreon this week to share the progress with those who are curious about the project and launching a Kickstarter to create prints of one of the paintings from the book.
Where can you see me or my work in 2018?
Hopefully, lots of places! I will be showing my work at Emerald City Comic Con and hopefully Illuxcon this year! I also love participating in challenges and events with other art groups. I will be participating as an official artist again this year, in Month of Love, and I will be donating two paintings to the Changeling Art Collective’s auction to raise money for the National Audubon Society. And I will be participating in some of the Bird Whisperer’s monthly challenges as well – to name a few….
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
I was speaking to a friend recently who was talking about preparing for retirement and asked about my own plans and the question sort of gave me an ‘error does not compute’ feeling.
What I do, my art, my writing, isn’t something I will ever stop doing. It isn’t a job, it is who I am. I could be 150 years old and I would still be creating things. I don’t know what I would do or who I would be if I wasn’t.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
There are so many wonderful artists that I have met or know! It’s hard to choose just a few. My first recommendation would be Kira Night, who is one of the artists who runs Boneshaker Press with me and who creates gorgeous art that just keeps stunning me. But honestly, any of the artists I’ve worked with in Boneshaker Press would be wonderful choices!
How can you contact me
You can search Jeszika Le Vye and find me pretty easy on most social media platforms. I use Facebook more than anything – so I am always around there if you would like to friend me or message me.
At this moment i am running a Kickstarter Campaign
Anubis – Egyptian Mythology Art Prints – Make/100
Open edition prints & high-quality limited-edition giclees of my painting – Anubis: Discerning Gaze.
Look and fund me!! at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeszika/1551615085?ref=424620&token=d9b28bbc