SPOTLIGHT ARTIST Jada Fitch
Thalo loves to promote artists and each month, we spotlight a member of our community!
This month we are pleased to have Jada Fitch as the August thalo Spotlight Artist.
THALO TEAM: Can you give an "elevator pitch" of your work?
Jada Fitch: I'm a naturalist and illustrator in Portland, Maine, who is obsessed with birds. Most of my work focuses on Maine flora and fauna, especially birds. My illustration work is generally watercolor paintings and digital art, but I also create decorated, diorama-like window bird feeders that have gotten hugely popular online.
A Snowy Owl Story color art, Watercolor, 14" X14"
TT: Is there a common theme throughout your work? Is there something you want your artwork to convey to people who see it?
JF: Emphasis on beauty found in the natural world is something that tends to be a common theme in most of my work. I want people to notice, and want to learn more about the other creatures that live all around us. Also birds, I paint a lot of birds.
TT: Which artists do you feel have influenced your art the most?
JF: John James Audubon, Ernst Haeckel, Arthur Singer, Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Walton Ford, are some of my favorites, and I aspire to be as talented as them one day.
Bachman's Warbler (part of the Recently Extinct Birds of North America Series, Acrylic on Wood, 12" X 12"
TT: Imagine you got to design your perfect Gallery Show. Tell us what it is!
JF: A portrait of every bird species in the world, paintings would be grouped together by bird family.
TT: Out of all of your creations (or bodies of work) which one did/do you find the most cathartic in creating?
JF: I really enjoyed painting portraits of extinct bird species. The series was titled, "Recently Extinct Birds of North America. I liked trying to bring birds that I've never seen and will never see back to life. I don't think a lot of people realize how many species modern man has eliminated.
Various Home Tweet Homes; Goldfinch Model, Wood, acrylic, other materials, 7" X 7" X 5"
TT: How do you promote yourself and your art?
JF: I try to promote my work as much as I can on social media, but word of mouth seems to be the best way to find illustration jobs locally.
TT: What project are you working on currently? What are you most looking forward to with your work this year?
JF: I'm currently creating as many window feeders as time will allow, as well as doing a logo for a Maine bird guide. An ongoing series of paintings of all of the birds on my life list keeps me busy between other projects. I've always got a few things in the works.
TT: What would you consider to be your "biggest achievement" with your work thus far?
JF: My biggest achievement thus far is probably working with The Maine Audubon Society on a series of four children's books. The series is called, "Wildlife on the Move." The first in the series, "A Snowy Owl Story" was number 2 on The National Audubon Society's list of the best bird books of 2015.
Butterflies of Maine, Watercolor, 24" X 30"
TT: What was your first work of art that you were proud of? Where is it now?
JF: The first work of art I can remember being proud of was a portrait I drew of my dad in preschool, which emphasized his beard stubble. It got printed on notepaper and sold at a craft fair to raise money for the school.
TT: Do you take commissions?
JF: Yes, I love taking commissions. I really enjoy having assignments, and being asked to draw/paint something I might not have otherwise done. Individuals also tend to pay much faster than publishers :).
Original Home Tweet Home featuring Titmouse, Cardboard, watercolor, wild tufted titmouse, other materials, 8" X 6" X 5"
TT: What do you do when you aren't working on artwork? What are some of your hobbies/passions other than art-making?
JF: When I'm not working on art, I'm usually bird watching. I also take half a day off each week in the spring, summer and fall to work as a volenteer, banding birds with a local organization call Biodiversity Research Institute.
"Rock Pigeon", (bird #5 in my life bird series), watercolor, 12" X 17"
TT: Is there something that you would like to share with us that we have not covered, that pertains to you and your work?
JF: Most people want to know about the window feeders, they started as a weekend project for my own amusement. My other bird feeders are out the window opposite my desk, so I spend a lot of time watching the birds come and go. I also take a lot of photos of them, and wanted a way to get them as close to the window as possible for some good shots. Then I thought it would be cute to have them in a little room setting.
The first few were just cardboard, painted with watercolor and just taped to the window. The photos I posted on social media got a huge response, and people were requesting I sell them. So my husband and I came up with a waterproof plastic version that was collapsible, stuck to the window with suction cups, and could be shipped easily. They sold like hot cakes! But I wasn't feeling great about creating something made out of plastic.
Now I'm making one of a kind, wooden, hand painted ones, with tiny hand painted bird portraits. I can't make them fast enough to keep up with the demand. I do have other illustration jobs in progress most of the time, and I post new batches of the window feeders on Etsy as often as I can.
TT: More of Jada Fitch's work can be seen here:
facebook illustration: www.facebook.com/jadafitchillustration
facebook bird homes: www.facebook.com/jadafitchbirdhomes
blog/ tumblr: www.jadafitch.tumblr.com
etsy (where the bird homes are sold when I have them available): www.etsy.com/shop/jadafitch