Life as an Artist

Life as an Artist

by Nancy Jacey

Every day I wake up inspired by the world around us: the colors, details and elements that make up our surroundings. I am fascinated by life’s details, and I like to reflect this in my everyday life and in my career as an artist. I constantly study and photograph the world around us and use these references and experiences in my artwork and in my teaching. I like to vividly capture these personal interactions and bring them to life for my audience in large-scale oil, acrylic and colored pencil paintings. I work as a full-time artist, mother, small business owner and private art instructor.

Private art viewing in Tampa, Florida, in 2008, with the Florida Wildlife Federation and guest of honor, former governor of Florida, Charlie Crist.

My love and passion for art started at a very early age. I was born and have lived most of my life in Richmond, Virginia, and spend a lot of time on the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia offers a lot of inspiration as we are encompassed by the four seasons that visually decorate our mountains, beaches, farmlands and cityscapes. All of this has inspired the artist that I am today and what speaks volumes in what I create. This is where my story begins.

I am very fortunate and blessed to have fulfilled my childhood dream to work as a full-time artist. From a very young age, I knew that I had a love and passion for art. Art was my favorite subject in school, and I strongly admired my elementary school art teacher and fondly remember winning my first national art competition under her tutelage. In high school, we had recruiters from Rhode Island School of Design visit our class, and it was then that I realized that I could pursue art in college and as a career.

“I am very fortunate and blessed to have fulfilled my childhood dream to work as a full-time artist.”

I first studied at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, graduating in 2002 with my BFA in studio art. I studied painting, drawing, graphic design, ceramics, sculpture and art history. I was accepted as a transfer student to the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000, where I attended a summer program but chose to finish my degree back at VT. I then studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, earning my MFA in illustration, in 2004. My professors were outstanding and opened doors to working with publishing companies, art representatives and art directors. I was a teaching assistant for undergraduate students as part of my graduate studies, which opened my eyes to the world of teaching and inspiring others.

My artwork and wine label designs at Jacey Vineyards, Wicomico Church, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay.

In 2004, I moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where I signed on with Vicki Prentice and Associates, Inc., landing my first illustration gig with Scholastic Inc.’s, Weekly Reader Magazine. I also had the honor of connecting with the Florida Wildlife Foundation, where I was able to study and photograph wildlife and sell my work through exhibitions and prestigious functions through the foundation. I worked as a freelance illustrator and taught at various art foundations in Tallahassee. I opened my first art gallery and private instruction studio, The Jacey Gallery, in Tampa, Florida, in 2007. I represented many Florida based artists at my gallery. It was an outlet for their work, along with my own artwork, in monthly exhibitions. It provided a place for the creation of my freelance work, private commissions and to teach painting and drawing courses.

I relocated my business to Richmond, Virginia, in 2009, where I currently reside and continuing my art career. I continue to exhibit and sell my artwork internationally, accept private commissions, license my work to national manufacturing companies for product designs, showcase my artwork on wine labels at our family vineyard, Jacey Vineyards, and teach private art lessons Monday through Thursday afternoons and evenings at my studio. I am an active member of the CPSA, UKCPS, Allied Artists of America, the International Guild of Realism and the National Association of Women Artists. Some prestigious publications that have featured my artwork include American Art Collector, the Colored Pencil Magazine, To The Point and the Directory of Illustration.

“Balancing being a mother, artist, small business owner and instructor has it challenges, but I am so very blessed to be able to have made a career out of my love and passion for art.”

While my son is at school, I utilize my mornings and early afternoons, as my studio time to produce artwork for exhibits, competitions, galleries and commissions. I teach private art sessions Monday through Thursday afternoons and evenings. I volunteer for Connor’s Heroes Foundation to help raise money for cancer research through their annual Heroes Art Ball. I am so honored to have so many dedicated students who share my passion for art and have won and been published in both national and international contests and magazines. Some of my students have graduated with art degrees and are successful in their art careers.

CPSA’s 28th International Exhibition. “Getting Closer,” 29” x 23,” (100% Prismacolor pencil on Strathmore 500 series illustration board, using my son as my muse, along with my own reference photographs.)

Balancing being a mother, artist, small business owner and instructor has it challenges, but I am so very blessed to be able to have made a career out of my love and passion for art. I am so very thankful and for the gift of artistic talent that God has blessed me with, and for the support of my family, friends, colleagues, collectors, clients and students. I look forward to continuing and expanding my career as an artist, and I anxiously await and welcome the opportunities that may arise in the future.

ABOUT Nancy Jacey:

Nancy Jacey is a native of Richmond, Virginia and had a love for drawing and illustration from a young age. She received a BFA in Studio Art from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, (more commonly known as Virginia Tech) in 2002, and earned her MFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004. She is a recognized member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, the UK Coloured Pencil Society and the Allied Artists of America.

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