Fusion Art is pleased to feature award-winning artist, Jacki Cohen, in its “A Day in the Life” series. In this series of Artist Showcases, the gallery reveals the “typical” day of many of its award-winning artists.
Jacki is an award-winning artist based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. She has participated and won numerous awards in Fusion Art’s online art exhibitions.
Below please find, in Jacki’s own words, the answers to 12 questions about her, her art and her “typical” day as she gives us a glimpse into her artistic life.
How do you start your day?
I am an early riser starting my day by 5:00am. I exercise first thing to start my day energized and happy. I workout with a personal trainer at the gym 3 times a week doing weight training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. I hike the beautiful Arizona mountains 2-3 times a week at sunrise. I am one of those people who gets endorphins from working out so it’s key for me, as a creative, to make sure my body and mind are active every day. On the commute home from the gym and/or mountain, I talk to my son who lives 2 time zones away and the timing is always perfect before he starts his day, as a graduate school student. I have two adult children and a new daughter-in-law who also energize my life and keeping up with them is another way I am constantly inspired.
How many days a week do your work on your art?
I am in my studio Monday-Friday and keep regular hours. In order for me to be productive, I must be disciplined to my studio hours. I am most creative in the morning, so I create early in the day to midafternoon. I save my administrative duties for later afternoon such as taking photos of my art, updating my website, answering emails, submitting “calls to art”. I answer my social media engagements throughout the day because I realize timing is of the essence on that platform. When one of my social media sites sends me a notification, I strive to respond quickly. I understand the value of efficient and timely responses so my clients and potential clients can count on getting a hold of me when they need me.
During the holiday season, it is not uncommon for me to work on my art every day. I try to assign one day a week for all my appointments, client meetings, and personal agenda items. That way, whenever I’m in my studio, I can be 100% present which allows me to really explore my creativity and expand my artistic horizons. If my week has unexpected days away from my studio, I will make up that studio time on the weekends.
Again, I devote the same discipline and commitment to my art as I would for any other professional venture. Sometimes it can be challenging for people who work for themselves to not get distracted. I like having scheduled studio hours to keep me focused and on-track.
Do you have a home studio or do you go to an outside studio to work?
I have a home studio that is self -contained with its own entrance. I find that for me to be productive and keep up with demand, I must have a home studio. With fused glass, it is key to check the kiln for the temperature to know when to open and when to change the fusing schedule. I can only envision doing that with my kilns close by. A home studio enables me to switch the loads anytime.
What kind of art do you create?
I create fused glass functional and decorative glass art. I make bowls, plates, and vessels to be used as functional and/or decorative pieces. My signature work is primarily bright, abstract, colorful, and contemporary. I work in collections so there are different pieces that all embody the same theme, although no two pieces are ever the same. I create custom wall panel installations for home and office. These wall panels can be a single piece or a multi panel installation. My largest installation to date is an 11- piece public art installation, and my largest single piece is an 8-foot long glass wall, which was commissioned for a doctor’s office. I offer a huge Judaica collection for contemporary Jewish ritual objects as well as plenty of iconic Christian and Christmas art pieces.
Walk is through your “typical” day?
My mornings start with my workout and phone call to my son, as I stated in the first question. I shower and make a cup of matcha with fresh mint from my garden and enter my studio.
What has been your biggest challenge for far?
I think all passions worth pursuing have obstacles along the way. My biggest obstacle is that I am a self-taught artist; therefore, it’s up to me to figure out tools to learn my craft and how to run my business. Every year I set new artistic and business goals for myself. I take classes from master artists, subscribe to online webinars and books to learn new, more advanced techniques. Confidence, along with trial and error in my studio, and the copious notes I take during classes and webinars really allow me to reach my higher artistic aspirations. I graduated from Arizona State University with a marketing degree from the business college, which has been a benefit for the business portion of my art. Although marketing techniques from my graduating year have progressed by light-years, some of the same principles still apply. To succeed as an artist today, in addition to being a talented artist and producing great art, you must be a smart businessperson. You need to be extremely organized, take initiative, and continually grow, both artistically and business wise.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
My favorite part of creating art is experiencing that magic moment when someone connects with a piece of my art. I receive such pleasure when my work brings a smile to someone’s face. I want my art to find its forever home and for the owners to smile every time they walk by it. My goal is to have my art create a small sphere of happiness in someone’s home or office, or to be the perfect gift. I also love doing commissions. Creating custom work allows me to really get to know someone so we can create the perfect piece.
I LOVE what I do. I know how fortunate I am to have my passion for my career. I When I am working in my studio, I will get so involved that time stands still. It is this energy and enthusiasm that sets my art apart. My passion for color, design and beauty, along with the stories and circumstances that inspire the art is what truly seems to connect with customers. It’s that excitement and vibrancy that truly fuel my soul.
What do you enjoy least?
The administrative tasks, especially keeping up with my e-commerce website. That can be a chore sometimes. Being a creative, I prefer to spend all my time in my studio, but keeping the business running smoothly is essential.
Do you have any mentors?
I have glass masters from whom I will take webinars and purchase E-books. Right now, my favorites are Larry Pile and Lisa Vogt. I also love E-books from Helios Fused Glass Studio. I have a few social media masters that I follow to help me achieve my next level marketing and social media goals. Curious Kirby is a great resource for Instagram and marketing. Michele Frost from Fused Glass Coach and Fused Glass Business Tips for Facebook is also a terrific mentor.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
The artist life is not lonely at all. The creative process is solitary but certainly not lonely. I listen to podcasts, music, and TV while creating. Sometimes, I even talk on the phone to friends. When I am creating, I frequently go into a meditative space and it is very fulfilling. I balance the solo creative work with the vibrancy excitement and explosiveness of gallery openings and artist receptions. In a non-pandemic year, I typically have them on a regular basis in addition to in-person shows. That balances out the studio work. I have collectors that schedule private shopping appointments in my studio throughout the year. Plus, I have an extremely social calendar in my personal life. All in all, I am very balanced in my social interaction.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My best piece of advice is actually from me, from my experienced self, telling me—“try-submit-don’t be imitated”. Frequently artists are perfectionists and/or do not think their work is good enough. Therefore, we hold ourselves back and might not submit to an exhibit or show. You will never know if you don’t try. Every disappointment is an opportunity to learn and grow. If you frame it in that light, you will always be successful.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by life, nature, mountains, and the ocean. Early morning hikes alone with my music spark so many new ideas and bold art collections. Time to be silent and in the moment, allows me the freedom to create. I am also inspired by everyday objects; a restaurant menu or fashion can inspire me to create my next collection. I translate the world into glass
I want my work to invoke happiness, joy, and pleasure. My hope is that my glass art brings a smile and helps make someone’s day a little brighter, both literally and figuratively. I want my art to be enjoyed and bring inspiration – inspiration to believe in oneself and one’s dreams.
Thank you, Jacki, for sharing a peek into your life as an artist!
Below are 4 of Jacki’s award winning pieces. To learn more about Jacki and see more of her work please visit her website.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM