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Meet Jacqui C. Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacqui C. Smith.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jacqui. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve loved to draw for as long as I can remember. I always knew that I wanted to work in an artistic field, but I didn’t have much exposure to the arts. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and I moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago after finishing college with a degree in traditional animation at Columbia College of Chicago. When I first moved here, I worked many odd jobs while figuring out what I was most passionate about. After a few years, I was finally able to start seriously pursuing freelance illustration. Two years ago, I started going to art shows and showcasing my artwork and heavily focused on creating a unique style of art.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Absolutely not! There’s so much that goes into freelancing and being an Illustrator beyond being able to draw. I didn’t know the first thing about self-employment taxes, write-offs, or marketing strategies when I first got started. Also, one of the hardest parts about working for yourself is that there’s no one to tell you what to do or what to make. I make all of the decisions about everything. That being said, I love working for myself. Having creative control and being my boss has been worth it.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a freelance illustrator, and I primarily create artwork focusing on women of color through diverse portraits. My message is to uplift, encourage, and support women of color through art. Every year, I attend dozens of art shows in the Valley and surrounding areas and typically, I’m the only female artist of color present. I love going to these types of events because I get to see that there is a need for more diverse representation in the arts. I get to hear people’s stories and I feel their pride in seeing artwork that represents them in places where it’s harder to find. I am most proud of the impact that my artwork and products have had which has been overwhelming. I get messages and emails from strangers thanking me for creating coloring books, prints, stickers with representation that is lacking in the art community.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success by making goals and achieving them. Success does not have to be some grandiose ideal, it can be something as simple as selling one print or making one person’s day through your art. I have been fortunate enough to be touched by the stories of so many women affected by my artwork and that is one of my greatest successes so far.

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1 Comment

  1. Joyce Barnett

    October 19, 2019 at 14:53

    Jacqui, your work is great. I will be looking through your website and ordering items to give out as Christmas gifts.
    I know the family will enjoy getting them.
    I am not a big face book person and this is why I am submitting my comment here. Love your work and will be telling my friends to check out your website.

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