About Jacqui Crocetta
As artist and designer, I've enjoy a blended practice of creative pursuits throughout my career from my studio in Kensington, Md. and my office in Rockville, Md.
What inspires me?
- Courageous People who overcome adversity. People who are dedicated to social justice.
- Nature. Organic forms, stunning color palettes, exquisite textures and complex systems are an endless source of inspiration and wonder.
- Art + Design. I find that inspired artists create lines, marks, forms and colors that have the power to move people—whether they are professionally trained, outsider artists or children. I'm moved by authenticity—the hallmark of all compelling works—whether in visual and performing arts or literary works.
- Everyday Masterpieces. I find inspiration everywhere… the patterns, colors and textures in the produce section of my local market, an urban street scene, or even through forgotten treasures discovered in a desk drawer. I'm delighted by shadows, reflections, transparencies and happy accidents that occur in the process of making something.
- Yoga, Hikes, Traveling, and Intuitive Painting. I find it critical to take the time to breathe and get grounded. It heightens my creativity, enhances my problem-solving capabilities and allows me to connect more authentically with others.
The unabridged version...
I have fond and crazy memories of the many creative experiences I was immersed in while growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Building forts in the woods, writing and performing in plays, and expressing myself through art were some of the activities that fueled my imagination. As a creative introvert—and the new kid on the block—imagination and thinking on my feet was critical to my survival. I relied on my wits to stand up to and sidestep bullies, escape close encounters with authority figures and avoid the risk (real or imagined) of physical or emotional harm. I learned to drop my native Boston accent, dodge the 17 year cicadas (welcome to Maryland), and make other kids laugh with my cartoons and practical jokes. All-in-all it was a pretty tame childhood with occasional mishaps on colorful moments, like the time a kid in my class set my science project on fire (more on him later).
From an early age I loved exploring the museums of Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston and my passion for the arts was further ignited by exceptional teachers who taught us myriad ways of making art. Beyond the traditional skills of drawing, painting and printmaking, we were exposed to many other art forms. I learned how to mix ceramic glazes from scratch, how to load a kiln, and each spring we had the thrilling experience of an outdoor raku firing. I attended an advanced summer program at Goucher College and learned how to solder silver jewelry and bezel set gemstones. I was constantly working on my art, received a lot of recognition for my work and would even find time to complete other student’s art assignments—sometimes for profit (record albums!). To this day, I attribute the open-ended activities of my youth and my exposure to the arts, to the development of the problem solving skills that are at the core of my career as a creative professional.
On a bribe from my parents, I went to Towson University to study fine art and visual communications. The carrot they dangled was a semester in Italy to study Renaissance art history and studio art in Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. It was definitely the highlight of my undergraduate experience. At the end of the semester I returned to the States (fifteen pounds heavier) with a portfolio of fresh work and a new perspective on my art and life. The following semester marked a distinctive turning point in my art. I began creating purely abstract prints in lithography class. It fascinates me that the mark-making and subject matter (mummified birds and nests) of my early litho prints relate to the “Protect. Nuture. Release.” series I created decades later.
Manure—a Catalyst for Growth
Like most people, my path has had its hurdles. For several years I put my art on hold so that I could support the people in my life who were going through difficult times. It was important to me to be of service, but my lack of balance led to my own stress-induced health issues. On the positive side, my health issues brought me to yoga and yoga gave me clarity…on everything. I learned the hard way that a soul-sucking life without art isn’t sustainable for me. Now I’m a huge proponent of living authentically and pursuing your dreams. Your passion is your calling and it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re courageous and willing to work hard. When I circled back to abstract art after a couple decades of derailment, who do you suppose bought one of my earlier paintings? Yep—the same kid who set my science project on fire back in the sixth grade.
Cultivating a Creative Practice
Self-employed for over twenty years, I’m energized by my blended career as visual artist and designer. I maintain a studio practice in Kensington, Maryland, exhibit and sell my fine art, and provide illustration, art direction and design strategy and services. I’m constantly honing my skills and refining my direction. I’ve had an incredible range of experiences from illustrating a children’s book to working for an Internet start-up and partnering with many wonderful nonprofits dedicated to making a positive impact in this world. The activities that feed my soul and keep me grounded include yoga, hiking, traveling, arts events, volunteer work and connecting with family and friends. I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who inspire and challenge me. I’m a member of various ‘creative tribes’ of talented people from around the globe. We connect in person and online to support one another and celebrate with each other along our journey.