The Artist and The Day Job

13 September 2017


Jessica Libor is an artist from Philadelphia, PA. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and also at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy.

Where attention goes, energy flows.  I don’t remember where I heard this phrase, or if it came to me after observing life, but it’s the truth.

Wherever your attention goes, that is the part of your life that grows larger, gets bigger, and creates momentum.   For almost ten years, I’ve worked as a makeup artist in addition to working on my painting and drawing practice.  I remember graduating from art school and wondering how  I was going to make enough for rent, groceries, etc. and going through a mental list of possible jobs.  While I sold artwork right out of college, it wasn’t enough to sustain a basic comfortable lifestyle.  I had several short lived positions: receptionist, waitress, graphic designer, gallery assistant, art teacher– many of these were consuming enough that when you went home for the evening, you had to either prepare for the next day or continue working on client projects.  I needed something I could leave at the door, that left energy for painting.  One day, I was walking by a makeup store when the idea came to me.  The hundreds of tiny shiny pots, brushes, pretty setups, aesthetic surroundings–was this so different than painting?

I had always had an interest in beauty–and mixing paints to put on a client’s face as opposed to a canvas couldn’t be that difficult.  I remember walking into the store with no experience, completely inexperienced, and selling the manager on my color mixing skills from art school.  I got the job.  While it started as “Hey–this is something I can do!” turned into an unexpected career.  It came easily to me–and although there could be boring days and frustrating clients, for the most part, I loved working with makeup–and most of all making someone feel they were beautiful, by telling them, and showing them a side of them they may not have seen.  It really did have the same creative feeling as putting on the finishing touches on a painting, sculpting the shadows and light out of the materials.   I noticed that in my paintings,  I was drawn towards painting skin.  I looked at skin all day at work, and I was drawn towards capturing it on canvas, too.  My models started to have the same glow as my clients.

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