We had the good fortune of connecting with jessica de Vreeze and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
My life has always revolved around art but it’s only later in life that I pursued art as a career. I first took a “safer” professional road as a lawyer. I finally switched careers to become the Visual Artist I had always been. I am a life’s lover. Today, translating my take on life into art is not only my primary focus, but my calling. Practicing law is interesting, challenging and also a way to bring good to the world, but it was not what I wanted my life to be. I was a good lawyer but after each case, the satisfaction of a well done work led place to emptiness. Pursuing an artistic career allows me to express what I have inside. I bring good to the world from another perspective. It is who I am, and the more I work the more I feel alive. Projects and possibilities are endless in my mind. I am very grateful and happy to have finally embraced this path. Pursuing an artistic career is more challenging on a material level. It is a pity, that in our society, being an artist is a kamikaze act. Most Artists work as much as any traditional profession, sometimes more, yet they often need to struggle financially and therefore with their first needs. This should change. We can see that during this Corona Pandemic that 65% of persons pursuing an artistic career lost all sources of income. I wish a world where you should not chose between your calling, your identity, putting food on the table and a roof on your head. The quest of justice is and will always remain in me while being an artist. This is part of my identity beyond bringing happiness to the world. Art is also a mean to inspire, awaken and bring changes. My art is engaged. Whether it is to bring down barriers between people and help them see that we are all fundamentally the same, with differences that enriches us all, or to shine the light on people and causes with my women’s project “Bringing the invisible visible” @Women_Mothers_Heroes.
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.
My art is about people and places. I want the world to know that it can count on me to tell its beautiful story. My portraits are unique, whether I portray people or places, I create an image that will strike. Expect more reactions than usual when you share a photo. They combine the essence of the subject and the artist at the moment it was captured. The person become my new art piece. It is the same with a brand or a company. My photography or mural will be unique, as each and everyone is. I mainly use photography but sometime will use mix media, paint or live performance if needed. I dedicate my time to create stories and expose them in galleries. I also enjoy taking portraits or being entrusted to tell other people stories. (the murals I created recently, visual to celebrate milestones (photography and painting used throughout the celebration)). If chosen, expect “du sur mesure”. Most of my people’s portraits are of artists and persons that are in the public eye. I limit the time dedicated to my portrait sessions to 5 per months maximum, therefore I chose them carefully. To understand how I am where I am today, I would like to tell a story. When I was 12 years old and living in Paris, I remember riding the public bus home from school. It struck me, some people did not smile and worst had sad faces. From that moment I believed that smiling was the key to a better world. I am happy when I hear that my art makes people smile, that it inspires people to believe in themselves and in their dreams. I am proud I decided to be myself. It’s an everyday challenge, a life journey. Being an artist is not an easy road, you need to push yourself each step of the way without the assurance of a reward. Become and believe in magic as you need courage, passion, strength to pursue your dream. You have to look up to the next adventure, the next goal. I learned that not giving up is the key, that you need to believe in yourself in humanity and keep sharing. You need to be patient persistent and multi task. As this journey requires to wear different hats (marketing, social media, accountant, technician, PR and many more). With time, I have been able to delegate some tasks and my team grew from one to two and more depending on the project. With my portrait d’Atmosphere I am committed to share with you values of quality, craftsmanship and a touch a magic.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
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. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out? I live in Miami, so let’s share my favorite spots in that city. I will start the itinerary from the coast to the center. If you have never been in Miami you should somehow pass by south beach, I would start by Muscle beach on Ninth St and Open Drive, in the early morning when the sun is not too hot and the place is quite empty. I would walk along the beach dip my feet in the ocean, walk a little around the area head to Lincoln and grab a macaron at Ladurée or a pastry at Rosetta. Some hotels deserves to be mentioned for their unique architecture and decorations on south beach my picks are “The One hotel on south beach’ and ‘the Faena Hotel’. Then I would head to the Standard (another hotel, this one for adult only but the restaurant is open to children) for lunch or a cup of coffee ( you could switch and do that for apéro time) I love the Standard on Venetian Way for the ambiance and view on the water. If you just had a coffee or drink head to the design district to my favorite place for lunch (food and ambiance) Mrs Mandolin, it’s delicious and very cosy, European touch guaranteed. Then walk around the design district, art is everywhere, window shopping is recommended but you can also find ice cream places “Aubi & Ramsa” (Boozy Ice cream) cookies places “Night Owl Cookies” a skate park, a museum, even the museum garage is worth spending time (great for photoshoot). a couple of steps away either chose to visit Upper Buena Vista with its cute little shops and one of the cutest “the house of findings” a second hand shop with a lot of treasures or have a coffee and pastry at “Cafe Creme”. Or visit Wynwood and discover it’s street art, restaurants and shops. If you like doughnuts go to the Salty doughnuts. For mexican street food, got to “the taco stand”, a mexican friend assured me it tasted like home. I also like “ Lucky” an asian food court with nice music, often a DJ live. To go out for a drink and dance “Astra” is the place I like as well in Wynwood. If during the day “Zack the Baker” is so yummy best bread and their carrots salad is just so delicious. “The graffiti museum” has opened its doors last December 2019, its worth the visit. Brickell, so many places to eat and drink, love the Sugar roof top, but best Pisco Sour can be found at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental. Brickell has a nice mall, very chic, only place in the USA where you can find L’Erbolario, an Italian shop for natural skincare, body and bath product that I like very much. Along the North River, my picks are the “Sea Spice” for the ambiance and food or “Garcia’s Seafood grille &Fish” for fish in simplicity. Near the freedom tower enjoy cuban food at “Colada Miami’ and enjoy the decoration and my mural. I left Coconut grove last as It’s where we chose to live. The Grove is a place apart that I treasure. It feels very boho, and surrounded by beautiful nature. The center of Coconut Grove has many cute and delicious restaurant and cafe. Books and more has a great selection of book and you can now also enjoy a coffee drink and a bite. Panther coffee has the best expresso I have ever drank in Miami. Le pain quotient is also there, as well as Starbucks. Ice cream : scope and vegan cakes at “Bianco gelato” or a milkshake at “Viki’s”. Pizza at “Farinelli 1937”, Thai at “Atchana’s Homegrown Thai” Mr C has a terrace over viewing the ocean and the city (their vanilla ice cream is unique). Along the way try Aesop’s soaps and cremes. I would recommend walking around peacock park and along bayshore drive direction the Marina. The Viscaya is a must see, Venise in Miami. If you are in Miami on Saturday go to the coconut grove organic farmers market. My favorite place there “Vera’s thai garden” so fresh and her papaya salad is extraordinary and made on the spot. There is also a soup lady and a woman preparing delicious raw food that makes you travel around the world. Out of the way if you like barbecues “hometown Bar- B- Que” in allapata, you’ll feel in dumbo Brooklyn. while you are there have a look at the Rubell museum Contemporary Arts Foundation (not very kids friendly in term of the art presented, I would recommend checking ahead) . So much more to discover in Miami, the architecture, the museums ( love the Perez Museum) the art galleries, the beach, Key Biscayne and its natural reserve. If you have more time I would encourage you to discover Coral gables and it’s trees, shops, restaurants, architectures, hidden treasures. Where ever you can walk, i would encourage you to get lost and discover what the city has to offer. That’s how you make the nicest discoveries. More can be found in my blog www.soparislux.com on Paris, New York City, Luxembourg and Miami.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to thank my husband Menno de Vreeze who welcomed me as I am, supporting all my choices and actions. A big shoutout to Jennifer Weiser my little sister, who inspired me while answering her own calling creating Jenni Jane (IG @JenniJaneParis), she gave me the courage to jump in. By my side, always Carony and EMy. Along the way I met amazing people, to name one Laurence Pierron, the fairy god mother of many artists. Life is series of needed coincidences. Depending of your response they can lead you a long way. A shoutout to The Old Print Shop Gallery who gave me a home in NYC among all their treasures. To tell this story I need to give a shout out to American Photographic Artists (APA), which I am part of and to Bruce Byers a talented photographer I met through APA. It feels right to belong to a community of like-minded professionals. It allows photographers Artists of all levels and experiences to meet, connect and collaborate. ”proofsheet” fine art edition, for example, led to two exhibitions at The Old Print Shop gallery in New York City. Further to a first collaboration, Bruce Byers and I decided to work on an exhibition transcending gender, time, medium and places. This exhibition named “Eyes Wide Open” exploring the Hue of colors and its impact on Street photography was also presented at the Old Print Shop Gallery in New York City. A credit as well to the Chabad of the Grove that reached out to me to create an interactive art piece encouraging Kindness. It allowed me to create a mural on 3713 Main highway, Miami combining street art and photography. A shoutout to Christina Laurens Design and Colada Miami who entrusted me with a mural representing the freedom tower in Miami. Art is a wonderful way to spread love courage kindness. Thank you for giving me to space and ways to reach many. The list is longer, my family, my NYC’s women, my friends, the persons who collect my work and of course all who entrusted me with their image. Great inspirations I wish to mention : Patti Smith, her songs unlocked possibility, her authenticity called my respect, her poetry perspectives. Peter Lindbergh portraits moved me, I regret him leaving us too early. Dave Heath, I felt in love with his work photographing people in street from such an intimate perspective while keeping in retreat. Street photography is an art that need to be preserved.
Other: https://soparislux.com/ https://www.portraitdatmosphere.com/
Tazzio Paris, KG Photo by Katie Goughan, Jennifer Weiser, Jennifer T. Chen, Petro Kitsul, Portrait d’atmosphere LLC.