Speaker 1 (00:00):
Don't worry about what the final product is. Find the process and the daily, um, activities you can do to get yourself one step closer.
Speaker 2 (00:08):
This is the Bold Artist podcast.
Speaker 3 (00:12):
You have answers, and you're expressing them in your art. Your art is important, and it needs to be seen.
Speaker 2 (00:21):
Welcome, and let's get started with today's episode.
Speaker 2 (00:30):
Welcome to the Bold Artist podcast. You are about to meet an artist on today's interview that is so full of life, energy, color, fun, and her work is very unique. It's differentiated, and she has definitely found her style. You are going to get the chance to meet Jolene Mackey of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And without further delay,, I want to take you right on over to today's interview. Jolene Mackie, we are so excited to have you on the Bold Artist podcast. Thanks so much for being here with me today, and I'd love to start out the show by hearing a little bit more about you.
Speaker 1 (01:08):
Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to just be part of this little community that you're building. Um, yeah, so I am an artist. I am an oil painter by trade. Um, 2022 actually is a bit of a milestone for me. I'll be celebrating 10 years of being self-employed as an artist.
Speaker 2 (01:27):
A decade, Jolene, that's so much to be proud of, and where did you begin 10 years ago? Can you give us a little glimpse into your history?
Speaker 1 (01:34):
Totally. It's been quite the journey. Absolutely. Um, as most of us know, I think a creative career, isn't a linear path. It's not one that has a very clear, um, start point or end point. You don't necessarily know where you're ever going, but, um, the freedoms in that are, I think what have kept me going, and what I really value in my career is just to having the ability to pursue what I'm most passionate about and share that with the world. It's really the relationships that I've made over the years that have been the most valuable thing. Um, so yeah, I guess I have a background of training in traditional art. I went to the Emily Carr university and graduated in 2009 with my Bachelor of Fine Arts. Um, from there I did sort of travel a little bit and spent a couple of years sort of finding myself and learning more about the world around me and you know, what I really was interested in because I went from school to school.
Speaker 1 (02:30):
Um, and after that I sort of jumped in with graphic design, and that was sort of my, my way to edge into sort of the visual arts sector in a more linear way. One to me that made sort of more sense in a way that I could, you know, bill people for my time and, you know, actually generate income through my visual communication. So yeah, I was able to sort of, um, go freelance with graphic design and then start carving out my little painting path the years. And it's just evolved year after year. It sort of shifted and changed, um, with what's happening in the world around me. And it's been a really exciting journey so far. I'm just looking forward to where it's going to take me next, I guess.
Speaker 2 (03:13):
Yeah. And you know, when you mentioned that you've been in this professionally for a decade, I actually got thinking it's been about seven or eight years since I would have met you in person. So don't you think that's about right? As far as the timeline there goes. And you were, um, still like at that point, um, being new, you were, you were still amazing at what you were doing with paint. And then now seeing the journey of where you've evolved, uh, eight years later from when I met you, Jolene, you have made incredible strides. And one of the things that I so love and admire about your work is how unique it is. I could spot a Jolene Mackey from a mile away and know that it's your work. Do you know that about yourself? Do you know that about your work?
Speaker 1 (04:04):
So interesting to hear that, because I think every artist can say that, you know, you play with so many different things that feel so different to you, but the result of it, because it's come from your hand, it has your touch. Right? So, it's funny because I feel like I have all of these sort of different bodies of work and sort of these different eras that I've gone through of inspiration. But I always, I I've gotten that comment in the past where people are like, oh, I can totally tell that's one of your paintings. And I'm like, how it doesn't look like anything I've ever done before, but it's got my touch, right? Like it's got my choice of colors or my, my composition or placement. And I think that's kind of universal it's it's when you're looking at something that's made by the human hand, there's, it's going to be embedded with a little bit of that person and you're sort of going to feel that in the work. So yeah, no, totally.
Speaker 2 (04:54):
Yes. There is definitely a certain marking and way about your work that differentiates you and sets you apart. And do you, do you find that your journey finding your own style, um, has been difficult or like you just described it as very easy, but I'm sure there's been a process there, Jolene. Would you share with us how that process of finding your style has been?
Speaker 1 (05:19):
Absolutely. It's so interesting talking about... it's such a thing, um, that I think as young artists we are very confronted with is finding your unique vision, your unique style, um, and trying to understand like what that is like, what am I, what is my style and what do I have to offer? For me, um, where it's always come from has been the things in the world that sparkle light inside of me. So I would say that nature for me has always been, uh, just a vast source of inspiration, just an, an endless and bountiful source of inspiration to go outside and just sort of see the colors in the clouds or see the changing leaves and just stop and reflect on those little moments that make you sort of grateful and, and filled up with, with what's in the world around you. So it's always, for me, it's sort of trying to capture those moments.
Speaker 1 (06:15):
That to me feel really, um, special and to me give a lot of value and joy to my life and bringing those feelings back into the studio. So, yeah, it's interesting. Um, I think so long as you're maintaining your honest connection with the work that you're making, it's gonna have your style. Like if, if you're really interested in what you're doing and you really love and are super inspired by the, what you see in the world, and then the work that you create to reflect that -- that's your style. Like tap into the things that light you up, and that's going to make the lightest work that you'll be able to send your beacon of creativity out and find all your like-minded artists in the world. So
Speaker 2 (07:02):
I love that -- how you said to maintain that connection to your work and that's your style. That's, there's so much there for me to think about. And you know, one of the things that I love about your work as well is that I, I tend to linger when I look at it, there is a lot to see. There's, there's detaile, but it's not overdone with detail, if that makes sense? And yet there's so much detail, but you leave a lot of open space, a lot of negative space to let the viewer's imagination in. And I do want to mention that everyone should definitely be checking out the show notes and clicking on Jolene's links to, to understand all that I'm describing here. Um, I'm looking over her shoulder for those of you who are listening on the audio apps, I'm looking over Jolene shoulder at a beautiful moonscape and in the tree.
Speaker 2 (07:52):
And I don't even know if that's a tree that's just a, a beautiful foresty foliage, there is a robot sitting and enjoying the moon, the view of the moon. And what I see there is I just want to linger. I just want to sit and be in that painting and, and wonder and imagine. And that's also the side of me that leans towards illustration quite heavily. I, I illustrate, as well. And I, I find that your, uh, fine art oil paintings, Jolene has had such an illustrative quality, a storytelling quality. Uh, can you tell us about that?
Speaker 1 (08:30):
I love the way that you framed that. And actually this is a really good opportunity for me to talk a little bit more about what my work looks like. Um, so again, to sort of like start at the beginning, my inspiration sort of being from nature and the world around me, I have always sort of worked with, um, natural elements, so clouds, and trees, and water, but I have, I tend to have a bit more of a graphic, simplified look to my work. Um, maybe some of my earlier work might've been, uh, inspired by like the Group of Seven in Canada. Just really bold, colorful landscapes that while not being necessarily super hyper realistic, they, they sort of give you a sense of place or time. So I've, I spent, I love working with nature and things in realism, but what happened over the years for me was I had this little robot character that started showing up in my sketchbooks.
Speaker 1 (09:25):
And this has been for years. I, the first time that this character emerged in my work, I think was in probably 2007 or 2008 when I was in university. And so it was this, the spark of an idea that never really left me, but I didn't take seriously at first. So I think when I first was selling work and putting myself into the world as an artist, I sort of thought, you know, people like landscapes, maybe this is sort of a safe area to, to stay within for now. And as much as I find it bountifully exciting, I was also really interested in, um, I guess I'm a very introspective individual. And I like those chances that we get to explore imagination and sort of go inwards. Um, so this little character, as he kept on showing up in my sketchbooks, I, over the years, started to recognize that he had somewhere to take me, like he had something to show me.
Speaker 1 (10:17):
So I'm starting to see this little character almost as a muse of mine. So he's sort of taking me to these more and more surreal dreamscape painterly places. So like you were saying, I have a painting here behind me that features a really nice, large, gold leaf moon. So it's got a beautiful sparkle to it in the light. And the landscape, while maybe some land forms are recognizable, they're not really a shape that you'd see on Earth. That's maybe some other worldly kind of shapes with this little robot character looking into this landscape sort of pondering, you know, his place in it. So yeah, my work sort of has segwayed over the years from this more, um, maybe traditional and like landscape based work to I'm sort of stemming into this more surreal kind of place these days that has me really excited about painting again. It sort of has me playing with material in a different way, and approaching the surface in a different way. That's really exciting to me. So
Speaker 2 (11:16):
Isn't that wonderful how a decade into your professional career, and you can have a whole new reawakening, like a brand new inspiration to take that paint and create. I love that because at times I'm sure when, you know, when you're a pro, and you wake up every day to push the paint, it becomes like a job and you have to face it, whether you feel like it or not. And to have that inspiration back again is just such a gift. And I can see it in your recent work and, uh, everything from the form, the robot, the subject matter. And then of course your approach to color. Jolene, I would love to hear more about your approach to color. I see in the painting that we're, that we've been talking about during this interview, it is a night scene with a glow. And of course, all the palette that you would choose would accommodate that kind of scene. But you do all kinds of different paintings with, with different kinds of lighting. And so one definitely needs to look at your portfolio to see all that. But Jolene, how do you approach color? What is, what is your, um, I guess yeah, your love and your, your approach to that.
Speaker 1 (12:31):
Um, I guess the word bold is something that comes to mind with how I approach my use of color. Um, I guess I've gone through stages where I have at times used more muted colors, but I find in my practice, I'm always drawn back to using really saturated, really poppy, exciting colors, um, that, that catch the eye and really grip the viewer and pull them in. Um, there's something to me about. I, in a lot of my compositions, I really love using complimentary color schemes, where you have colors on the opposite end of the color wheel. So, they end up popping each other off. So, even an example, this painting behind me, it has gold, which is this yellowy, orangy color complimented with the blue sky. So, that compliment sort of allows each color to play off each other and show off its best qualities.
Speaker 1 (13:25):
So yeah, I tend to, you know, I play with a lot of different, um, different sorts of color schemes. Like there's a whole variety of different color schemes I like to play with. But I it's just endless my love of color, and inspiration comes everywhere. Seasonally from the changing leaves and just the changing colors in the sky at night. I am so blessed by people who send me photos and say, Jolene, it's a Jolene Mackie sky tonight, you had to see this! So, I get the most awesome inspiration from people in my world who know that I just, you know, love those little moments that, that stop you and sort of strike you with some joy.
Speaker 2 (14:07):
Yes. And I mean, that has to say a lot for your style right there. If someone can look at the sky and say it's a Jolene Mackey sky. But I know exactly what they mean because your work is so unique and, uh, your skies are unique as well with a lot of twirling and twisting of the clouds and the blues. And there's just so much movement there. How do you, how do you create such movement and interest without overdoing it?
Speaker 1 (14:37):
Oh, good question. And I'm not sure that I don't always not overdo it. I think part of it is really pushing it too far. Sometimes I always tell people that I've made more bad paintings than I've made successful paintings. I paint a lot. I love painting, and there's, you know, you learn so much from the ones that you push a little bit too far, and as hard as it is sometimes to sort of let go of the, this object that you've been working so diligently towards, if you don't hold it too preciously and allow yourself to really play with it, sometimes you can get really exciting results out of it. And that's sort of the place I'm at now where I'm, uh, with my work, I'm trying to push myself a little bit outside of my comfort zone with how I'm applying paint in order to get, um, a result that I wouldn't be able to create if I controlled it anyways. I'm, I'm trying to sort of relinquish control of the material a little bit in order to sort of get back that, that spark of excitement of creation. So,
Speaker 2 (15:43):
Um, so Julian, what, what, what do you feel has been the boldest, bravest move or decision that you've made as an artist?
Speaker 1 (15:51):
Oh, that's a big and beautiful question. And I guess I have a few things that flood into my mind. Some, some accomplishments that I've had and some things that I've, um, you know, been able to work on over the years. But I think in my heart of hearts, it's the little things. So for me, one thing that I'm actively working on right now is being unapologetically myself. I feel like a lot of the times, I mean, even when I started my art career, I was sort of, um, I guess editing or, or, uh, curating what I was putting into the world based on what I thought people wanted, or what I thought other people's expectations were of an artist. Um, and when I sort of through doing this and building relationships with people, through my art, I've learned that the more authentic to myself that I am, I build these strong and authentic relationships with people in the world.
Speaker 1 (16:50):
And like, if nothing else, to me, that's the point of being here is, you know, connecting with other human beings and sort of sharing our experiences and, you know, growing and learning from each other. So, um, I think that probably the boldest thing that I'm learning to do is be true to myself, be unapologetically authentic to who I am, and allow the world to take it or leave it because the power in everybody not liking it is that the people who really like it really get it, you know? Like if it's, if it's something that, like, that everybody can sort of like, then maybe it's not really, you know, pushing that conversation as far as it possibly can. So, yeah,
Speaker 2 (17:37):
I love it. I love it. That you just touched on the whole aspect of people pleasing and how that for an artist that is often such a, a deep seated, uh, issue that we have where we just desire so much to please people. I almost wonder if, because it's built that we're built to create, and with creation, there's always this putting yourself out there and before an audience right? Before viewers. And so there's this desire to create, and please. And so we have that just innately in us as artists. And yet what you're saying is that the boldest move you can make is just being unapologetically you, and whether or not people get it. Whether or not they understand you just be you and from that can come your art from that can come, uh, who you authentically are. So, yeah. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (18:35):
I guess I'm, uh, an experience that I had recently that sort of brought some of these thoughts to mind is I've been working on Tik TOK, um, as a social media platform for probably like, I think when the pandemic started is when I sort of was like, Hey, I got to do something on my phone that's a little different. So, I uploaded TicToc and I recently had a video that got, um, I think it's just over 2 million views right now. And what happened with that video was people either loved it or they hated it. And the people that loved it, they just understood what I was doing with my work. Like I was what I was putting out there. They were absolutely with, with no further context on the video, they were telling me things about my work that I'm like, how did you get that?
Speaker 1 (19:19):
And like, how cool is it that I'm able to communicate that through the work I'm doing and the people who didn't get it, that's okay. There's other work that they can love, and that they'll tap into, and that will spark a light for them. But, you know, it's not, I don't have to be for everybody. And there's, I think there's power in that in sort of, I am an absolute people pleaser at heart, and it's just something that I'm working on. Um, you know, just being okay with being who I am and not being perfect for everybody.
Speaker 2 (19:48):
Um, there's so much power in that saying I'm, I'm not for everyone. The work I do is not for everyone. There's so much liberation in that. And a definitely a message that all of us artists need to just ruminate, ruminate on and check ourselves when we go to release work and kind of check our motives and, and, uh, ask ourselves why, you know, the questions of why. And, and, um, and if we're okay with that, it's not for everyone. Yeah. So Jolene, there's another area of your life. Um, maybe not necessarily art related that I consider you to be so bold and that's that on social media. I see you roller skating.
Speaker 1 (20:31):
Oh no. Yep.
Speaker 2 (20:34):
You are brave, you are brave. I see you doing all kinds of crazy tricks that my body is just too old to do. And, you know, and I just, I couldn't do this interview without, including a little bit of the first of all, that the listeners would know that this, this woman is brave. She's on roller skates doing all kinds of things at the skate park that I would never attempt. Jolene what's this all about?
Speaker 1 (20:58):
Yeah, this was another pandemic tangent I went on again. Thanks to Tic Toc. I saw these girls on roller skates and thought, what the heck that looks like fun. Luckily, my mum had old roller skates in our garage that were, you know, the bearings were 30 years old. The wheels were 30 years old, but I just strapped them on. And I went to the parking lot and started learning how to skate. Um, it it's been such, it's just been a really wonderful thing for my, my health, and my mental health, um, to have something to focus on that is outside of my, like, creative practice, but still creative as an activity. I think that's something I really like about roller skating is that in itself, there's so many different styles and ways to move on roller skates that it's such a creative endeavor in itself. And it just, it's one of those things.
Speaker 1 (21:48):
If you can find an activity, for me, if I can find an activity that gets me out of my head, and into my body, and into the present moment, that's, that's what roller skating does for me. It just makes me feel, you know, you're flying through the air, and it just feels so freeing. It's it parallels to me with my painting practice, where for me, that's my meditation. When I've got a brush in my hand, I'm making decisions about what's in front of me. That is how I tune out all the worries in the brain. And I tap into the present moment, same with roller skating. It was an activity that got me into my body being physical. And it's just, it's actually, interestingly enough, been, um, both humbling, but a huge confidence builder, even as I'm a 34 year old woman, I had such terrible nerves going to the skate park for the first time. Like teenagers just have this confidence that I lost years ago. And it just, it terrified me to no end at first I would do laps around the skate park, scoping it out, just seeing if I could build up the nerve to go in there. And now that I've started doing it, and I've learned that that's actually a really welcoming and lovely community, as well. Um, it's just been, yeah, a really, really cool, uh, tangent, I guess, in my life and yeah, a really fun activity.
Speaker 2 (23:06):
I love it. Well, I applaud you. I applaud you for well, yes, going to the skate park among all the younguns. And you know, that can be definitely intimidating, and so good for you. And I'm going to be living that dream through you. Okay.
Speaker 1 (23:21):
Speaker 2 (23:21):
So people say Marijanel tries and does a lot of different things, but that will be one I won't be trying, I'm going to live that dream through Jolene. And, uh, I did love roller skating when I was a child. So I, you know, I, I know the joy, I know the joy you're deriving from those wheels on your feet, but I won't be trying that out anytime soon. So I thoroughly seeing that joy in you as your, you know, sometimes you even post videos and pictures of you falling down. And you have so much joy in the fall, and I find it, oh, it does relate. And it does translate back into your art. And one of the things I've observed about you and your lifestyle, because I've been so privileged to, like, live in neighboring cities and see you on social media for the last eight years, um, I have known about you Jolene, that you are so faithful. So when we describe Jolene's career and the tenure she's been a professional painter evolving herself, I don't know that there's a day that this woman has not had a brush in her hands. Jolene, is that true?
Speaker 1 (24:35):
Yes. To, to many degrees. Yes. I, for me making art and, um, living a creative lifestyle has been my way of living and coping with the world that we live in, which comes with its own challenges and struggles. So regardless whether this was going to be a path that, um, financially supported me, um, I always have had my hand in some sort of crafty, creative, making of things. So it's interesting. Um, I do believe that we all have a creative element to our personality regardless of how it's output. I don't, I don't sort of, um, enjoy the comparison of craft and art, and sort of this differentiation between high and low art, because I see value in all of these art forms and just strictly in the creative practice. I love calling it my creative practice because it's not, um, it truly takes practice. You have to show up at it every day to develop the tools and even the rituals to get yourself into a creative space, to actually work on something. So it's very, it's very similar. Like if you compare arts and athletics, you can see that sort of like training and practice aspect to it. Um, so for me, yeah, regardless if it was something that, you know, became a career or not, it's something that I've done every day. Um, I guess quite ritualistically. It's something that is so beneficial for me to tap into, um, and help me process what's happening in my life.
Speaker 2 (26:15):
Absolutely. That comparison of it being like athletics and training our muscles and the, the faithfulness and the, the willingness to show up and train is big. And so that's the thing is if someone feels that they're not that they're, they're weaker in the arts, or it's not their strength or that they're not creative, they could grow and strengthen those muscles if they, if they want, if you want to show up. And that's what I've observed about you is that your willingness to show up to be there and to be faithful. And that, that, um, that consistency has shown such growth and beauty in your art.
Speaker 1 (27:02):
Yeah. And in the same sense, it's the, it's the trust in the process, right? Where you're showing up, I'm not showing up with the goal of having a final masterpiece at the end of my days, that culminates everything I've created. I'm showing up because I'm, I'm in it for the journey. I really enjoy pushing paint. I really love mixing color, you know? And it's not, it's not really, if you're finding sort of the satisfaction in the finished work, that's wonderful, but let's rewind and look at all those hours you put in. And where's the joy in that moment, right? Like, I think it's so important to, to find the joy in the process and the journey. Because while it's really exciting to celebrate milestones and big achievements, I think it's even more important to celebrate the little sustainable things we do to, um, create this creative practice, to make space for it. Because I've worked many jobs in my life and, and still, um, found ways to, you know, carve out space for me to be creative, because it's been integral to my well being.
Speaker 2 (28:07):
Uh, when you were asked to do this interview and you began thinking about what we'd say and talk about, and the artists that are out there listening, has there been any sort of message or something burning on your heart that you've just really wanted to share and encourage other artists?
Speaker 1 (28:24):
I think, um, it sort of returns to just being unapologetically yourself. This is something that for me, is relatively been new to my, my sort of train of thought over the last couple of years. Um, I think the more that you sort of tap into what you love, and really honor what you love, um, and share that with the world. That's, that's how you build your tribe. And that's how you find your people that you'll connect with. It's been actually like for all of the weird things that happened over the last couple of years, it's been really cool to learn how to make connections through this social media sort of, um, world that we have now. Uh, you know, to be able to show my work to people in countries I'll never go to is such an amazing opportunity. So yeah, just, just learning to, I guess, like, don't worry about making work that looks a certain way.
Speaker 1 (29:25):
Don't worry about making work. If you think you should be the best abstract artist or the best realist artist, don't worry about what the final product is, find the process and the daily, um, activities you can do to get yourself one step closer to what that final product is going to be. You know, I just, I have such a focus on the little things because I think that's always, what has, um, driven me to keep going is just, you know, those 30 minutes that I got to spend in my sketchbook one day that, you know, really helped me carry on to the next day. Um, I, those are invaluable moments. So honor that. Honor that, those little things, those little practices and rituals that add value to your life
Speaker 2 (30:08):
Oh yeah. So important to remember, and to come back to the little, the little things. And to never despise small beginnings, because that's where we get started is in that small beginning. And sometimes it's, it's easy for us visionaries to know the scope of where we want to go, the big picture. And we want to, we want to be there at that big goal. And yet we have such small humble beginnings. And often learning is like becoming a kindergarten all over again. You just, how you humbled yourself and went on roller skates to the skate park, and you, you know, you said, it's, it's like this new beginning and this terrifying experience. That's how it is when artists are starting too. Where you just kind of have to, okay. I'm willing to feel like a kindergartener and, and yeah. And come back to the joy of play and experiment and exploring, and, and the joy in the little things.
Speaker 1 (31:04):
Exactly. Because it's so easy to get focused on. Like, I used to work with kids when I first was starting, um, you know, independently making a living as an artist. I would teach children. And it's so refreshing watching children make art because they have no fear. And when it, when, when we grow up, we build these expectations, and we build these walls of what we think the art should look like, but that's not what it should look like. It's just got to feel right. You've just got to choose the blue you really like. You've just got to like slap that yellow down and like, see if it works and play. Like, I think that's 'cause I in working with adults as well, there's there, there can be that reluctance to, to express themselves and play with material. But it's such, if you can find a way to break down some of those walls we've built as adults, it's just, yeah, it really, I think adds another layer of depth and enjoyment to existence.
Speaker 2 (31:59):
It has been so much fun to talk to you here today on the Bold School podcast, Jolene. You've added such richness to the podcast today. So thank you.
Speaker 1 (32:07):
So kind, thank you so much for everything you're doing, building this community, supporting artists, encouraging people to find their creative sides of themselves and really be true to that. I think it's so invaluable for us to support each other. So, I appreciate being part of it. And I encourage everybody to be their boldest self going forward.
Speaker 2 (32:26):
Thanks for being here, everyone doing whatever you're doing with the Bold Artist podcast, you can find us on YouTube on the Bold School channel, and of course on audio apps under the Bold Artist podcast. Check out Instagram. We're at Bold Artist podcast, and that's where you can leave us messages, suggest topics, and engage with us there. We would love to hear from you. Until next time, keep creating.
Speaker 4 (33:12):