Jessica Gorlicky is a renowned Canadian artist who has found near-unparalleled success in her career. Starting her business at the age of 19 in 1999 – she sold her first painting then $500 and never looked back – this 31-year-old createur is a force to be reckoned with in the arts community. Find out more about this YE in today’s feature.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
My work is my life, my blood, my reason for being on this earth. It’s a force beyond nature and it’s difficult to describe. I create one-of-a-kind paintings on canvas and other materials such as mannequins; objects that I find interesting. And I travel across Canada doing live art performances, which means I create an original piece of art or installation in front of crowds – sometimes 20,000 people at a time depending on what the gig of the day is. At the moment I’m selling my original hand paintings and performing multiple times a week, sometimes everyday. I’ll never duplicate or reproduce my work. Something original has so much more value to me.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
In very few words I can say that it simply makes me happy…each and every day. So that’s why I did it. We all take chances in our lives: I had no choice but to pursue happiness. I must say it feels pretty damn good to get excited about trying something new and actually liking the way it turns out. I wanted to feel a personal reward. This gives me that…always! Inspiration is life. It’s everywhere, simple as that. The real question is: What doesn’t inspire me?
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Choosing an abstract idea from somewhere, something, and turning it into something else. Turning nothing into something always amazes me. It’s crazy the inspiration I gather from friends, family, music, culture, travel, dance, light, breath, love, emotions, strangers, traffic. We are so fortunate in this world to have so much around us. I take what I want and use it to my advantage.
Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
Building my future one day at a time. I have so many ideas about what five years looks like that I can’t possibly choose one or two to describe to you. I can say that I will change the world of art in some way and I’ll have a big, beautiful paint brush in my hand. I also hope to inspire heaps on the way!
What does success look like to you?
Freedom. Love. Being yourself.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
There are so many: Cirque Du Soleil’s Totem in Toronto, did 77 live painting performances (in the middle of that at the moment); Olympic Torch Relay Winter Olympics 2010 Vancouver, 8 minute live painting across Canada…I love Canada!; Raising tens of thousands of painting donations bringing in money for people who need it in a multitude of charities and foundations – Gordie Howe’s portrait, for example, raised $15, 000 for Alzehimer’s; Runway Body Painting for L’Oreal Fashion Week 2011; Private Collectors around the world, it’s such an honour having those that just love my art.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Follow your heart, follow your dreams, do what you love. Selectively only listen to your parents and friends. Make your own decisions and be true to your inner voice. Travel as much as you can! Fall in love with culture and learn at least one other language.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I have supported dozens in the last 10 years and have donated over 100 paintings in my career to date. This has been a huge part of my happiness and I’ve never said no to a charity/donation. Shh…don’t tell anyone…
What is Notable to you?
Notable is thought, creation, feeling, emotion, action, words and anything anyone would be curious about. It’s a difficult question…Life in general is notable.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Ah…OK, really, this is very unlike what you’re going to expect…but yes I’m addicted to BBM and yes I’m still a Blackberry user. Oy vey!