Artist, president, and co-founder of JAM Art & Supplies, Jess Miller Johnson, is passionate about culture and her community. Oh, and dancing to great music.
I live in … My husband Alex and I recently bought a duplex in Pettigrew Heights in Sioux Falls. Being first-time home buyers has been exhilarating. Living centrally in town allows me to be less than five minutes from all of my jobs.
When I say “I am art,” I mean … We are the rulers of our own destiny. When I say I am art, I am saying that I am constantly creating; I’m even creating my destiny. Besides selling my art, art supplies, and JAM’s mission, I live an artful life, because I value the benefits of aesthetics. Aesthetic appreciation creates a connection between physical and mental feng shui.
My style(s) of art is … post-expressionistic, sometimes surreal, sometimes abstract, always symbolic, feminist art.
My motto is … Life is too short for one radio station.
One habit I have is … I never return library books on time.
My favorite thing to do is … to find envelope-pushing music videos that make me dance.
I’m currently reading … The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation by Robert Grudin. Honestly, this is a life changing book, and I cannot say enough good things about it. I want to get a grant to buy a bunch of copies, then pass them out on the street corners.
I knew I wanted to start JAM Art + Supplies because … I have an amazing support group. My maternity leave gave me the freedom to not work. While I was not working, and in between our newborn’s frequent naps, I was able to articulate my concept of a Creative Reuse Center that included a vision for Sioux Falls artists. I felt that there were and are a lot of people with art needs; some of them are Sioux Falls artists, crafters, children, and people who live in low income situations. I knew I wanted to start it, because it allowed me to serve my favorite demographic and my favorite products. I was creating something bigger than myself, and my support group has been here all along getting bigger than I ever imagined.
JamArtandSupplies.com is a place for … Sioux Falls newcomers and art nerds, potential donors, and customers!
People can get involved with JAM by … donating time, money, or supplies! Visit our website, get on our email list, pay attention, and show up! I understand that showing up is hard to do, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get at showing up. JAM can be a relaxing place for many.
Another project I’m excited for … are the commissions I’ve been getting. In the past, I have taken very few commissions, because the idea of doing a painting for someone else daunted me. I was worried they wouldn’t like my style, and I wasn’t sure of my abilities. I still worry my customers won’t like my style and concept, but I’m way more confident in my abilities. I’m taking commissions for goddess paintings; I’d love to paint your inner goddess.
If I weren’t doing this … I’d be unsatisfied. I love engaging with the world while seeking to change it. I’m a strategist, entrepreneur, and artist. I will create more businesses in the future; I just started with a non-profit art supply store because I love art supplies, and I think culture is very important. Individuals and communities can use art and culture to heal. Being an artist allows me to create the life and vision I have. We all have a say in what our culture is; we just need people to start realizing that if they have a vision, they are capable of, and perhaps, responsible for, making it happen.
Visit the JAM Art + Supplies art tent at the 605 Summer Classic June 23 and 24 in the Cherapa Place parking lot in Sioux Falls. For more information, visit jessmillerjohnson.com.