NetChat Sessions: Jess Knights Illustration
This month's Netchat discussion is with Jess Knights, image-maker and illustrator for creative food & drink communications. We discuss where her image making fascination began, when she gave herself ‘permission’ to be an artist and the effects of the choices we make in this lifetime on the future of our planet.
What inspires you as an artist?
Firstly and most importantly, I know it sounds a bit cliche - but I am inspired by people and the way that they connect with one another. I love chance meetings with strangers - I just met a woman on the train and spoke to her for a couple of hours about her different life experiences - that’s the stuff that gives me energy. I’m also really inspired by texture and pattern - I’ve always been drawn to finding, collecting and making interesting textures. Finally, I’m inspired by nature. If I don’t get out for a walk in a green space in a few days my head feels a bit scrambled. I like spotting all the little bugs and tiny mammals. I just like to soak it in - all those good microbes in the air.
What themes are highlighted in your illustration practise?
Well it’s probably no secret if you’ve seen my work that I’m passionate about food & drink. I love this sector because I think - at it’s best, it brings people together from all walks of life. I used to want to make a big, important, political statement with my work, but these days I let the work speak for itself. My main message is that food and drink and the places that serve it are brilliant spaces for the public to enjoy, and come together.
Different things empower different women. Do you feel empowered by the work you do? (tell us about your day to day).
I feel empowered by my work in a sense that it gives me confidence. I was always so
scared to call myself an illustrator, a designer. Looking back, I felt rubbish because I
wasn’t doing what I truly loved. Last year a pandemic happened, I found myself
unemployed. I felt like - I’ve tried so many paths, and now I’m faced with no option. It was a ‘Oh yeah…’ moment when I finally gave myself permission to be a ‘creative’.
What’s your favourite project you have worked on?
My current project is always my favorite! At the moment I’m making some products to sell around christmas time. One of them is a 2022 calendar - so watch this space for that.
I love your blog ‘food and drink: the problem and the solution’. Do you think it’s possible to create a healthy lifestyle for ourselves that also holds a sustainable future?
Thank you! It came from having some heated conversations with friends about whether you could enjoy, say, an avocado from abroad or some Cornish clams guilt free - and still claim to be an environmentalist. I wondered where I stood in it all - whilst I was also trying to eat a bit healthier. It was a minefield to say the least! I guess what I learnt is that food and drink as an industry is becoming a major environmental tipping scale. The choices we make in this lifetime have the potential to make a big difference to the future of the planet. The first step for us all as individuals is to make a conscious effort, as far as possible, to eat a majority plant-based diet, waste less food and eat seasonally and locally. Collectively we must (gently) encourage others to join us. (Read full Blog here).
... Anyone who loves Jess’s work as much as we do at Bloom, you can commission Jess for her wonderful art here.