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Meet Jamie Kough of The Drawing Board in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Kough.

Jamie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started in this business at age 14 in my mother’s art studio/school. All growing up, I was inspired by the creativity around me and encouraged to use my voice, my heart and my hands to tell the world who I was and what I was thinking. The school system however sent contradictory messages. So when I was 12, my mom started an art school to give kids like me a place to thrive and be taught skills that could take us into a bright artistic future. I began helping my mom in my early teens and continued through my 20’s. I went to art school and got my teaching credential and have created in the visual and performing arts as a student and teacher for over 26 year. My visual art and dance background have led me on a journey through working on movie and TV sets, in musical theater writing, teaching, directing, building, designing stage props and sets designed for the fashion industry. I always tell my students that being an artist and being creative means that the world is open to whatever you want to do in it. The world needs creative people for they are the ones that solve all the problems! Today, I have my own business and through that business, I continue to freelance wherever art, ideas or a production are needed. I spent 13 years teaching at the university level training teachers how to teach art and continue to mentor those in the arts pursing education. The Drawing Board is a hub for creatives both professional and those just wanting to explore something new or that helps them to think outside the box.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. As wonderful as it is to be creative and artistic, with that comes the desire, the need to be useful and to be able to fit into some sort of a system or be able to create your own. Trying to understand how to use your gift for good is something that I’ve always struggled to create. I have never been able to find that person that I want to be like. There are businesses and systems that I admire very much and would like to be a part of however for whatever reason the pieces don’t come together. I think it is because I have my own ideas and I’m very driven and independent, not the personality that a boss necessarily wants to deal with. So, the feeling of not being good enough or what people want is always part of the walk as an artist. The same feelings occur when your work is not accepted. I get a lot of praise for my work but not enough sales to make a living. Everyone wants the art, no one wants to pay. That is a whole cultural issue in and of itself.
I have worked so many places and done so many different things with my art and the struggle comes down to remaining true to myself and not being taken advantage of. I seem to give away everything and everyone succeeds but the creator, me. Money is always tough when you are creative because you have to sell yourself and your work. I don’t like sales and I don’t like self promoting so that’s a problem. I went into business for myself because I wanted to design the cause on my own and leave space for others to come and use their gifts. It’s always a work in progress but I love collaboration and dreaming about how to better my community and helping people through the healing powers of art.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Drawing Board – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My buisness is called the Drawing Board, a school of creativity. The Drawing Board hosts workshops, classes and events. We specialize in teaching the elements of art and art history giving students a firm foundation in the visual arts so that they are able to create conceptual work and speak their own visual language. We teach in a non traditional way using movement, story and music. Teaching also expands to the healing aspects of art where many lessons are facilitated, not taught allowing rules to go out the window and for students to make the “teacher” decisions.

So many students that grow up going to traditional school become robotic in learning and understand life to be right and wrong and that someone else is always going to have the final answer and be giving us directions. WE function left to right, all the same size and waiting and wanting a grade or judgement ont he work we create.
By giving students an experience that doesn’t have strict directions or final judgment call, allows students to understand how much personal power they have to decide and how much foundation of knowledge they need. Learning becomes personal and life long.

This is a different method of teaching and thinking than traditional learning. I have taught in the public schools for over 20 years and at my business, I try to break the routine we get in, in public educational learning.
I am most proud that we teach this way. I am really proud that my students have a voice and know how to use it. I am really proud that we aren’t like everyone else. I am proud that our emphasis is on the creation of the product, not the product and that the person is more important that what the person does. I think this sets us apart from most culture here in Orange County.

Many parents want to know what their student will come away with and what they are going to get for their money. Society wants tangible outcomes, they want the most realistic composition and they want it to win something. Our focus is on giving students enough of a foundation in theory and technique that if they want to create work about the divorce going on in their family that they can do that because they have the skills to match their emotion and therefore, can just create. For some students, the act of being able to make decisions is freeing and builds self confidence. The issues of self and who we are and why are often answered through a strong arts education.

We also do wine and art events ( first in Orange County, over 15 years ago)!
Commission art for theater, home, school and office.
Set pieces.
Lectures in art and education.
Live art performance events.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love LA. I teach in LA, play in LA, take classes in LA and go to church in LA. I love that LA is diverse and full of culture. I love that I can wear what I want and not feel different. I teach in Compton and feel so connected to the students I teach in that city. I adore my time there because I feel connected to the need to survive, to just want life to be full and rich and how we have in common how we are going to get through the day. I love working with populations that are trying to survive. I connect with that. LA has so much of every kind of person and I enjoy the diversity. I like the affluent places in LA but feel most connected to the homeless, those in need and hope to continue to use my teaching, my heart and my art to be able to connect to that demographic.
Orange County is very different than LA. I don’t feel the diversity or the tolerance for all art types. I feel my art is better accepted in LA however, LA can also be really intolerant of new artists or those that don’t have a name yet. So it’s a tricky thing, does one stay in a city where you are the only artist everyone knows or go into a city where the sea is vast with artists and try to be seen and acknowledged. They are very different.

At my age, I don’t feel the need to be seen and discovered anymore. I paint for people that have specific needs most of the time however, I would love to break into the graffiti scene in LA. I feel that has not gone completely mainstream yet so there is still a mystique and acceptance outside the gallery walls.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 18032 Lemon Dr., Yorba Linda, 92886
  • Website:
  • Phone: 714 693 7156
  • Email: thedrawingboard@att,bet
  • Facebook: the drawing board

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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