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Jacqueline Diesing - combining creative passions, business experiences and healing practices

Chicago, IL / United States

Website | Instagram

Originally from Detroit, Jacqueline Diesing is a mixed media artist and architect, living in Chicago. Jacqueline obtained a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The University of Michigan in 2005. Her body of work focuses on the juxtaposition of historical architecture in ruins and soft, vibrant nature. In 2020, she was pleased to be accepted and interviewed as a featured artist for All SHE Makes’ debut online directory. Jacqueline was also delighted to be accepted to the I Like Your Work Podcast’s juried exhibition “CONGRUENCE” in June of 2020. In response to the pandemic, Jacqueline participated in Far x Wide’s “Willing the Season” exhibition and Rosalux Gallery’s “Open Door 16” virtual exhibition. Recently, Jacqueline’s work was part of Visionary Art Collective’s “Mirror in the Dark” virtual exhibition. Her artwork can be found on her website and the curated retail experience: SHOWFIELDS. Her work can also be found in the curated directories of All SHE Makes, Carve Out Time For Art, Where are the Women Artists (from ArtGirlRising), Visionary Art Collective and Now Be Here Art.

Jacqueline, I had the pleasure of recording a podcast interview with you a few months ago, and I absolutely loved learning more about you. Could you please tell our readers a little about your journey into the art world?

As a child, expressing my creativity was a source of joy and also a way to soothe myself during traumatic events. My mother suffered from depression and anxiety, so I often turned inward to a world of artistic expression. My elementary school art teacher noticed my artistic abilities and recommended I enroll in extracurricular art classes. I was interested in trying every artistic medium available, so I took a wide variety of classes and loved them all. Out of all the mediums I tried, drawing was the one that came to me the most naturally.

In middle school, I was bullied, and one of my saving graces was art class. Later in my life, familial expectations and conditioning led me to a career path as an architect, which, while it used my artistic talents, didn’t fulfill me creatively. When I was unemployed during the recession, I rediscovered my innate artistic talents, mostly from a strong nudge from my mom. She really encouraged me to draw again, just for me. I experimented with a set of soft pastels she gave me years before and developed a style that combines vibrant pastel drawings with hard-lined, micron ink drawings. Since then, while working full-time as an architect, I have developed a mixed-media art business.

Recently, I have come to realize my art is integral to my healing journey. On this path to wellness, I have learned to recognize when I need to lean into my art practice more frequently.

Your art is heavily influenced by your love for historical buildings and sites. What do you want the viewers to see?

I hope they see the beauty in these historical works of art and the craftsmanship that is a lost form of art. Above all, I hope they feel passionate about preserving or, in many cases, restoring these architectural masterpieces. Historical buildings add visual richness to the fabric of their surroundings, among many other things.

You mentioned that your creative process also represents a healing journey for you. What can you tell us about your rituals, habits, etc.?

Yes, regarding the creative and healing journeys, I have found one informs the other and vice versa. For most of my life, I have been committed to a fitness routine, mostly through dance classes. I typically take 3-4 hours of classes a week. I need exercise to clear my mind. It re-energizes me and helps me focus on my art.

A few years ago, I decided to go all-in on a holistic health journey which has led to a spiritual awakening of sorts. I joined a manifestation program in January 2021 that’s backed by neuroscience and has helped me in ways I didn’t expect. I have reprogrammed subconscious thoughts, received intuitive hits more frequently, and become more aware of the synchronicities of life. It’s also helped me pinpoint new directions to take my creative career and given me new ideas for artwork. When I’m focusing on one of their workshops, which involves meditation and journaling, I typically spend 3-5 hours a week doing the work. Otherwise, I dip in and out of some of the daily exercises. Aside from that, I have been experimenting with a variety of healing modalities recommended by my physician. I receive craniosacral therapy to help with my anxiety and pain from stress, etc. I also see a breathwork/healing touch coach. It’s amazing what intuitive hits I’ve received from them and how they reset my nervous system. Overall, my awareness of our connection to each other, the earth, the universe, etc., have increased, and I feel a new sense of purpose.

Your art is characterized by colourful florals and intricate micron-ink drawings of the historical buildings. What does that contrast mean to you?

The colourful florals surrounding the micron-ink historical buildings represent energetic life, giving hope for the present while honouring the past. It’s a form of visual healing.

You also work as an architect. In what ways do your two passions supplement each other?

The skills I have learned from being an architect have definitely helped me on the business side of being an artist. Preparing presentation materials, coordination emails, and even job applications has helped me complete many art open-call applications. I learned photoshop through my job as an architect, which has come in handy for the digital arrangement and editing of my mixed media collage work. Since I’m not seeking creative fulfilment from my architectural work and receive that through my art practice, I have shifted into a project architect role, which involves a lot more coordination and production than design work.

What inspires you the most?

It may sound cliché, but our environment is what inspires me the most, from the built environment to the natural environment. I feel most restored after spending time in nature. Sometimes that involves listening to the waves crash on the beach and sometimes it’s going for a walk. A change of scenery is a must to find new inspiration. I love to travel and explore.

I’m also inspired by other creatives, especially the ones who have created multiple branches of their business, usually resulting in multiple income streams. I regularly listen to creative entrepreneurs’ podcasts and love to connect with other creatives. Looking for expanders in life (the people who have achieved what you would like to achieve), is a large part of my manifestation program. It helps our brains see what’s possible.

What has been the most exciting moment of your art career so far?

It’s hard to pick one moment! One of the most pivotal moments for me was when I was selected as a featured artist and interviewed by All She Makes in 2020. It was a catalyst for other opportunities to come in. Overall, I’d have to say every artist directory and magazine I’ve been accepted to have been highlights.

What are your greatest strengths as an artist?

I think it’s too early to tell, but one of my greatest strengths is my ability to be highly creative, while also being organized and doing all the non-creative work required from an art business. There’s a lot of room for growth, but I’m grateful for all I’ve accomplished on the creative and logistical sides of this profession.

What is the number one advice for fellow artist mothers when it comes to translating their passions to a canvas?

Try to carve out a little time for yourself, which I know isn’t easy. Even if you only have 5 minutes, sketch for a bit. You may notice patterns in your brief sketching sessions, which could lead to the inspiration behind your next piece of work.

If you feel uninspired, check out Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way.” I have found her recommendation to do “Morning Pages” journaling and going on “Artist Dates” helpful to get out of a rut and find some direction.

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