I had a very enjoyable conversation with Jori Warren. She was joined by her one-year-old Maltese-Westie cross named Artie “because art paid for him”.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Jori has had a long career leveraging her creativity in her many, varied jobs. Ultimately, her creativity led to her officially becoming an artist, creating her own brand of unique piece… and she hasn’t looked back.
[Featured Artwork: “Birthday Money… 1867″ by Jori Warren. 32″ x 60”]
The following responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.
01. Rock, paper, or scissors?
Paper. I use that the most.
02. What are three interesting facts about you?
A. I used to be a designer and signwriter for IKEA and they ended up using my handwriting as a font for their computers, which ended up on their signs Canada wide. I worked for them for many years building new stores, travelling around the world. I was young. It was a cool job.
B. I was a prop master after that. I did big stage decor for events like the Junos, corporate world, and the government, but I didn’t like the waste and the money spent for really no reason (in the government events). It was a creative job, paid well, but I just didn’t like how the money was spent wastefully.
C. I only sign my first name on my paintings. You’ll never see my last name on my paintings, if you do, it’s a forgery.
03. Is art your career or a hobby? Something else?
Absolutely, it’s my career. It’s not a career for the feint of heart. It’s a lot of work but, for sure, it’s my career.
04. Are you more productive at night or in the morning?
I’m pretty disciplined. I’m more productive and creative at night but I’ll work all day, being an artist is a job, a great job but I treat it as such.
05. What is the main medium you use in your art?
Acrylic paint. And cookie dough — I also paint on cookies, but that’s a side gig.
06. Where did your passion for art start?
My mom was very creative. Not in an artistic painting kind of way, but in the home she kept, the things she did. I think I was being creative right out of the womb.
I won a Klondike Days contest when I was 7 or 8 that got on the front page of the Edmonton Journal. But, I didn’t know I won that contest until my late 30s when my mom showed me the article. It’s funny. I don’t have any recollection of doing that. It’s like going back in time and learning your ancestors were also artists or musicians or whatever your into.
Then, as a kid, building sandcastles, and just playing, I almost became an architect. And then working in display, design, decor — 3D was my company name then. My company now is Joriginals “Where Art and Innovation Meet” so it’s not only just about art. Every job I’ve done has been creative in some respect or I’ve made it creative, especially for the boring jobs.
07. What is your go-to band or artist?
Believe it or not, I’m not a big listener to music. I’m a big proponent of silence, as a society, we don’t get enough peace. I get lots of headaches as well. I always paint in silence, which works for me. I have started listening to books which I’m really enjoying now.
But answering your question: My favorite band is Queen. That’s who I listen to, if I’m listening to music.
08. What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?
Elvis… and old rockabilly. I wish it would come back.
09. What inspires your art?
Seeing the detail and the beauty of everyday things from nature to car parts to our money, whatever it is. It’s seeing everything with a new eye. It’s getting people to look at things a little differently; instead of looking at the big picture, I like to get them right in there.
10. What’s your favorite color?
Chartreuse. White, black, and periwinkle.
11. What is one common misconception about being an artist?
That they are all scatterbrained, messy, and self indulgent. That is so far from the truth. Well, some are… maybe. *laughs* But most artists are hard-working. For myself, I’m detail oriented and always thinking and creating.
12. What household chore do you actually enjoy?
Cooking, baking, cutting the lawn. I do everything, so I better enjoy it. I’m proud of everything I have, so I take good care of it.
13. What app do you use most often?
For years, I would show my artwork in room settings and figure out how to paste and cut it in and finally found an app called InsituArtRoom that came out doing exactly that. So, I use that now because it’s way faster. So, that’s fun. And my collectors loved that because I could put my paintings in their rooms virtually. A lot of artists are starting to use those apps now, but I started staging like 10 years ago when I first became an artist.
Other than that, Twitter, but I’m not digitally tech savvy by any means.
14. Creating the art is one thing, but finding clients is another. Have you cracked the business side of art?
I think you need to be more of a business manager, time manager, creative director, and then be an artist. Yeah, I think I have. I believe in branding; your name and your products. I’m learning every day there’s new techniques and new ways to do it.
15. What is your favorite drink?
16. What are you hilariously bad at?
Singing. I can’t sing. Artie (her young puppy) thinks I can sing really well though. He joins in.
17. What do you hope people get out of your art?
I want them to see something with new eyes and new appreciation. I sometimes stand back and let people look at my art. I like to listen without them knowing I’m the artist. It’s the funnest thing. The word I hear the most is, “Wow.” And that’s just the coolest thing in the world.
Then, having a father kneel down and show his kids some part of my painting — like money — that isn’t around any more is cool. Seeing something new in something old is pretty amazing.
Yay, Jori! You go girl!
This just came up on my Facebook so I read the interview as well. Pretty cool!