A Fine Line
Meet Jess Harris: illustrator, founder of Jessicards and aspirant empire builder
What inspired you to become an artist?
I’ve always been arty and as a child I was forever making things. If I wasn’t learning how to knit a teddy bear, I was designing the next season’s outfits! I get excited by the idea that anything really can become a piece of art – just look at Tracy Emin’s Unmade Bed. Art creates so many discussions. Art can be beautiful, controversial, abstract, simple, as well as many other things. I hope that my drawings bring some happiness, colour and design into someone’s home.
How would you describe your work?
A mix between illustration with a hint of fine art perhaps. I use pen and collage predominantly and sometimes add a bit of watercolour if a drawing needs it.
Who do you aspire to meet and why?
I don’t think I can name one person. I love mixing with all types, and some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met are just ‘ordinary’ people who have faced a situation and dealt with it. On a superficial level, I’ve always wanted to meet Ellen Degeneres – she’s a writer, a producer, an actress and an LGBT activist. She’s an all-round talent as well as supporting various charities. I’d love her as a dinner party guest.
What is your biggest dream?
It may sound cheesy, but my number one dream is to be happy. After that, my next dream is create a Jessicard brand. To be able to go to a department store and see makeup bags, cards, wallets and mugs all for sale with my name on them would be amazing. I want to see people using a Jessicard tote bag for their shopping. I want to have an illustration empire.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
London is where my family and friends are. It’s the city I grew up in and that has helped me become the person I am. Besides, London is where it all happens: the West End shows, the art, the fashion, the restaurants. I love travelling, but I will always come home.
Anything Thai. I love chicken satay and a green chicken curry. I just love eating out and food too much to choose one place.
Portobello. I like looking for bargains and treasures. There’s a bit of everything there too. I also have some good memories of going there with my Dad last year.
Favourite coffee shop?
The Coffee Cup in Hampstead. It is small, cosy, old fashioned and I have had many happy snacks and meals there with friends and family. They also do a great raison toast with salty butter.
Place to chill?
The sofa. Either at my best friend’s flat, my brother’s flat or at my parents’. Nothing like a sofa and a cup of tea.
Place to escape?
Anywhere with a pretty high street, some water and some greenery. I do like Brighton for the independent coffee shops, the vibrant vintage shops and the beach. You get a bit of everything, especially when the weather is decent.
Favourite area beyond the east?
Hampstead/ Kenwood and Hampstead Heath.
Desert island food?
Bread, peanut butter, Pink Lady apples and lots of delicious mango.