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  • Writer's pictureShelley Pisani

Place and Identity

I had the privilege of mentoring Jassy Watson last year as part of CQ RASN's Hothouse Mentoring program. Jassy is a highly successful tutor and artist with a recently opened gallery space at Bargara. She is now involved in CQ Shopfront and is our artist profile for this week!

How did you get started in your art practice?

Ever since I could hold a pencil I wanted to be an artist. I was fortunate to have supportive parents who recognised my love of art and an early talent, sending me to my first private lessons with an artist on the Gold coast at the age of 8, here I experienced working in pastels and oils. I left highschool in grade 10 to go to TAFE and study fine arts and from there I went on to study at the Brisbane Institute of Art and Morningside college of Art. I have also studied Art history and Ancient History at University.

Pursuing a career in the arts was not easy, especially before the onset of social media and technology as we know it today. Bills had to be paid so the 9-5 hum drum took over for many years until i decided to make the move to the Bundaberg region in 2004 to re-focus on painting and attempt to make a living doing what I love. And I haven't looked back. For the past 8 years I have been working as a full time artist and teacher from my space Earth Circle Studios at Innes Park. My work has been sold and sent worldwide and is held in public and private collections. I have taught in Greece, Bali and the United States and more recently I have ventured into being a gallery owner where I not only get to have a permanent display of my work, but I get to promote and represent the work of other amazing artists and makers from the region. 

What are the key inspirations behind your work?

Nature. The stories that are held within the landscape. Nature teaches me everything I need to know about colour and shape, light and shadow, about balance and harmony.  The landscape is such an integral part of who we are, of our identity and it has been through the creative process that I have found my relationship to 'this place' deepening.  I am captivated by the beauty of this red dirt country, from the ocean to the rivers and rocks to the mountains, there is so much inspiration to be found in this landscape. My most recent work has been focused on getting to know this place, this amazing region that we live in, with pen and paintbrush in hand. 

What is the business model and products that you are aiming to develop through participating in the CQ Shopfront project.

I wanted to re-visit my business plan for the gallery. I had to close through COVID and knew that I was going to have to re assess my business vision. CQ shopfront workshops have been really helpful in gaining some clarity as we look forward into this new environment we find ourselves in.  Since re-opening I have had to create a whole new strategy with the new guidelines in place and my market has completely changed to what it was only a few months ago. I am also looking to develop a high quality short run giclee print line of my new work.

What dreams do you have for the future of your practice?

I am working on an exciting exhibition project with another local artist and am creating works for a number of upcpoming award shows. What I discovered during COVID was that although I had to close the gallery and not teach classes, I could still paint, create and express myself. It was a good reminder for me as an artist, that my primary craft is the making of art itself, everything else flows out of that. The future of my practice is one where I make the time to do just that - practice. 


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