We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Veilleux and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jennifer, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is one of the biggest ingredients in my life’s journey. Risk taking is introducing the possibility of failure. I am not shy about failure. With failure come good lessons that help me to improve whatever I am doing, lessons that help me learn and gain a deeper understanding of myself and my place in this great universe. The risks I have taken have led me to live in 7 countries and travel the world. This experience has filled my senses and gotten behind my eyes to translate through my hands into what I create.

The risks I take now in art and life feed one another – my life decisions center on dedicating time to my art, my art decisions are taken from my life experience. I continue to develop a diverse set of tools to employ in battle and to nurture my craft and my process. I have taken risks to achieve my creative vision and find that it is necessary for me to push past what I believe I can accomplish to know – and to know what that unknown space smells, feels, tastes of, and whether I even want to pursue my creative vision in one direction over another. I learn my limits by doing and then I can choose whether to believe them or to try to reach beyond.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a creative. Whether it is mapmaking and data analysis, developing research methods in my career as a geographer or putting together a workshops, painting, drawing, designing, sewing or sculpting in my studio as an artist, I bring passion to what I do and enjoy the energy that the creative process generates.

I believe that my life is genuine, and I prefer that as a measure of success. I put honor in the mix of my decision making, right at the beginning and the end. I ask myself, Is this opportunity honorable? Is this expression honorable? If it is not, I walk away. I have sacrificed several seemingly lucrative opportunities in order to stay genuine and honorable to myself, but I trust that the right situations do exist and I must persist. Cautionary tale: if it looks exciting, there will be excitement, but it may not be the kind you signed up for!

In my previous interview with VoyageMIA I spoke about my painting and illustrating. Since COVID19 struck, I am sewing. I now design and sew daily and the results include handbags, quilts, and clothing. At the beginning of the I was asked to sew a dozen masks for the Yankton Sioux Tribe Elder’s Council. After that I sewed a dozen more for the local ambulance service. Then, I made a dozen more. I think by the end of it, I sewed close to 900 masks. Sewing exposed me to the world of fabric, designers, and I wanted to explore it. I find that using the sewing machine soothes me. I was using a borrowed machine at the outset, I now, through the help of my supportive community, own my own machine.

I began by following patterns and tutorials. I learned through trial and error what I like to make. Now I am designing. I am integrating my illustrations into fabric for baby quilts. I moved from giving away or selling masks, baskets, and bags to friends and family, to taking commissions and opening an Etsy shop. It is modest, but I am proud of my work and am satisfied to know that the things I make are useful and have a place in everyday life. I think as long as I am creating, and sharing those creations, whether in a capitalistic framework, or outside of it, I am honoring myself and my role within my community. I am also combating all the uncertainty and pain in these times with beauty.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
During COVID this is a tough question to answer. I’d say take-away food, and there is so much good eats, and bring it to the beach, or one of the parks if they are open. Kayaking in the Bay. Painting with David Sexton in Normandy Isles if he is offering one of his socially-distanced classes. He is an amazing human. Drive-by tour of the latest murals in Wynwood. Window gaze in the Design District. Go watch the stars out in the Everglades. Remember to wear sunscreen.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My network of friends and mentors were and are great encouragement, inspiration, and offered sage advice on my journey, even when only I understood my trajectory.

Website: www.jenniferveilleux.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/archcreekstudios/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferveilleux/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.c.veilleux/

Other: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeanVievDesign

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.