Saturday, January 8, 2011

An interview with the artist Jacque Pierro

I have known Jacque Pierro and her husband John for well over a decade, since they worked together with my husband for the Walt Disney Feature Animation Studio in Orlando. Since then after the studio's closing she established herself as an independent artist. She is also a wonderful friend that comes often to my art exhibits. She's a great illustrator, and works like a busy bee designing wonderful items that can be found in her store on Etsy. Enjoy the interview:

Tell me about yourself:

Hi there, I’m Jacque Pierro! I was born in Dayton, Ohio, and lived there until I was around 2 years old until my family moved to Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been an artist I think since birth. I loved, LOVED taking art classes all through elementary, middle and high school. After high school graduation I attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio where I received my BFA in fashion design and retail advertising.  

In my 20-year art career I have worked as a fashion illustrator, fashion designer, make-up artist, and many, many more odd jobs before I took a position with Walt Disney Animation Studios in Orlando Florida in 1997. I had the honor a privilege to work on such films as MULAN, TARZAN, LILO AND STITCH, BROTHER BEAR and PRINCESS AND THE FROG. After leaving Disney in 2004 my husband and I opened our art studio to pursue our own art. I returned to my fashion and design roots that I missed so much.  

Over the last six years I have designed and licensed my work to companies from around the world, as well as, I design my images, screen print them and make them into all kinds of products like handbags, pillows, prints, and home décor accessories. I’m married to a wonderfully supportive man,  John Pierro, who I met while working at Disney, one of the best things that I walked away with when the studio closed. We live in Orlando, Florida with our two dogs and a cat, named Dunkin (60lbs terrier mix), Shimmey (6 lbs Pomeranian), and Zen our cat, which we found on the streets as a tiny little 10-week-old kitten that we took in.  Life is good here in Florida.  

What is your opinion of arts education? Is an artist born or made - or both? 

I think it’s both. I think you have to have a love for being an artist; you have to love what you do no matter what it is that you have chosen for your career.  But a good art education always helps to mold the talents of an artist to give them the tools that they will need to develop their talents. 

What are your earliest memories of art?  

Drawing under the dining room table early in the morning before my parents woke-up.  I must have been around 3-4 years old,  maybe even as young as 2.  I had a set of 100 markers that I would take out one by one and dot a color into each square of graph paper until I had pages and pages of colored dots.  I was in heaven.  All those markers and paper were so exciting to me. 

Where there other artists in your family?

My grandmother designed and sewed her own quilts and plush toys.  My mother is very talented at designing centerpieces.  My sister loves to draw and sculpt.  I have quite a few creative family members. 

Why do you do what you do? 

Because it’s what I love to do, it’s what keeps me sane.  It’s what I have to do for my good mental health.

What work do you most enjoy doing? 

Really all of it combined together.  I love drawing and designing, but then it’s really fun to take those images and put them through to a final product.  I love taking my illustrations and silk-screening them onto fabrics, paper, or board. Then taking those pieces of work and designing them into another product like pillows, purses, wall hangings and prints.  

I worked with licensing my illustrations to manufacturers several years ago but it was really unsatisfying. To not be apart of the final process of the product was really frustrating especially after waiting months to see that the company only created something that ended up being poor quality and really changed my final design to something else that was horrible.  It was difficult to work with people who ended up being such a big disappointment.  So after that let down I now print my own work, design them into products and oversee the entire process, and that has become so much more fulfilling to be apart of the entire process of my designs.   

I also really love the selling and business side of my work. It’s really fun to directly work with customers and clients who are interested in purchasing my designs. Really, everything I love doing starts with drawing my illustration right through to selling my finished design to the client. I even enjoy overseeing the books; it’s all very exciting to me. 

Describe a day in the life of you, the artist:

Since I’m a one woman show I wear a lot of different hats, so day to day it changes.  But for the most part I get up around 9 am since my husband and I go to bed around 2 am, we're late night workers.  

I start the day with the basics like eat breakfast, have a cup of tea or herbal coffee, shower, and get right to work.  I like to start by reading emails and a huge list of blogs that I go through.  I then like to check the numbers for my Google analytic. I’m a little obsessed with numbers. I know, a little unusual for an artist, but I always liked math and science, go figure.  I might then take photos for my blog that I try to write Monday through Friday depending on my workload.  

From there the day could go any where. I most likely will be: designing new products, cutting and sewing fabrics that I have silk-screened, drawing new illustrations, screen printing, photographing new products to be listed to the store, bookkeeping, filling and sending orders to customers, and a million more things that would take forever to talk about. I break for dinner around 6:30 or 7:00 to spend some time with my husband. I then usually find another project that I want to work on right up until about 1 am, and then try to hit the hay around 2 am. I recently have gotten back into my workout routine that I squeeze in for around 10 pm each night. I don’t know if I’m a work alcoholic, or just blur the line between work and my everyday life, really, what’s the difference when you are doing what you love to do.

 Your husband is an artist, have you collaborated
on projects together?

John has designed some patterns that I have turned into silk-screens that I have combined with some of my prints. We have done a few illustrations where he will put down some work, then he’ll hand it off to me and then I will add to it, and we go back and forth. But that’s all we have done so far.  We would like to do more projects where we have collaborated more.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I have worked in the restaurant business as a hostess and waitress, but what artist hasn’t. I’ve worked in cosmetics, a receptionist and retail sales.

What's your scariest experience?

This interview, just kidding, I can’t think of anything.

What inspires you?

Pretty much everything. I find inspiration in nature, colors, images, fashion, music, art, and life. 

What research do you do?

I research all the time. Mostly reading books, blogs, and surfing the Internet. 

Name something you love, and why?

My husband, dogs, cat, and being an artist. They make me happy. 

What is your dream project? 

Just to do more of what I’m doing.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Do what you love. 

Favorite writer, favorite song, favorite inspiration:

It always changes day to day.  Right now for writers it would be anything related to silk- screening or sewing, that’s all I have time to read right now.  Except for the book that my husband gave to me for Christmas “Chanel and Her World” by Edmonde Charles-Roux.  Very good book that I’m reading right now and loving it, so right now it would have to be this author. 

Music:  I love so much different music, but to name a few bands it would be U2, Garbage, Sting, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, Depeche Mode and it goes on and on. 

Favorite inspiration: Life. 

Where can one view your work online? 

My work can be viewed at