January a month of Firsts

Hello lovely people!

Well, January was one hell of a ride. I thought I'd start off the year a bit more on the chill side but nope. Hit the new year running. So many new things started, so many awesome things on the way to being bigger things. I'm so excited for the year, creatively it's going to be great.

I don't normally do wrap-ups, but my partner and I did so much this month that I thought it would be good for us to catalogue what we did, so when those "I didn't do enough." rear their ugly heads, I can go nope, shut your face and look at all the amazing things we did in just one month. Too often I feel I haven’t done enough work. It is the curse of a freelancer and an overachiever person. Plus, coming from countries like America/UK where 70 hour work weeks are the norm, it’s hard to slow down and create a balance between work and life. Especially since I work from home. I’ve recently started taking weekends off and while it feels strange not to be doing stuff 24/7 it has helped my stress levels decrease a lot. While also making me appreciate the art work I do more.

Maybe it would be good to do a blog about what I do to chill out just an idea, we'll see.

I think the thing that I'm most excited about is the enamel pins I designed and my partner Jonas Roof set up in photoshop. It was my first time creating a design for an enamel pin. It is a very different process then just having my paintings digitally printed on wood. You have to separate the colors, you can't do much fancy mixing or blending unless you want to pay extra to have it screen printed on after the initial enamel pin is made. It took us a few days to get the design right, the correct font for the text, and to also find a descent enamel pin making company. Thankfully we found a pin company that does express, so we're hoping it arrives in time for our local Final Film Girls Berlin horror fest.

When all was said and done, we had a final design which we are proud of. It's a bit gore, a bit fun, a bit scary all the things I like. Since I am relatively new to the Women in Horror month I wanted to contribute in a bigger way and I thought this would be cool to make, so others could wear these pins like a badge of honour. Like hell yeah I love women in horror!

Speaking of Women in Horror I started my monthly blog project of bringing awareness to women who work in the horror creative fields. I of course started with favourite artists of mine like Candice Tripp, Ronit Baranga and a few others. Check it out here --->WiHBLOG<---- I will be doing one of these every month for the foreseeable future. I believe we need more visibility as artists in the macabre and horror genres, so I will do my best to contribute to the uplifting of our voices in my small corner of the world. I hope to meet others in the future who share my motivations and work together to create a book or a bigger database online, so others may educate themselves about women in the horror creative fields. I am always looking for contributors, so hit me up if you feel you could positively add to my research. Next month's focus will be on either film or literary horror, not sure which yet, but have a feeling I'll know when the time comes.

Seeing as I just handed it in this past Sunday and it's fresh on my mind, I applied for a large art grant from the city of Berlin. It is my first time applying to one, so I was a bit nervous, but thankfully I had my partner help me set up my proposal, as well as flesh out the thesis for my new series of oil paintings. It's a new type of writing for me, so I was careful not to fall back into the casual writing I do here, but also trying not to make it sound too stiff. It's a fine balance of making it engaging while also presenting an outline for what you are going to use the funding for. The one prevailing concern with this was the overall bad stigma horror artists receive from a largely conservative art world. All the doubt demons were hanging around my head going "Just quit, these people hate your kind of work, why bother." I pushed past that heap of negativity and said screw that, I'm worth it, horror is a valid genre and I need the funding if I want to further my dreams of creating an inclusive art space for the horror community here in Berlin and maybe future places. And oh yeah sustaining my own art career as an oil painter. Ya know nothing big :P

All this grant work really made me think about my new oil painting series. Which I will write about in a totally separate blog because it's so good you guys. I finally laid it all out and it finally makes sense. In short it's nature, death, people who identify as women and it's all going to be on black canvas. >Insert devil smile here< The colors you get on black canvas are just sick, so bright it makes my queer heart happy. I'm bringing the rainbow to horror for sure.

I actually got to talk about my painting process a bit on a podcast interview I did this month with a lovely person from the UK Nathan Blades, who has created podcast series about lifting up artists like me who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community. It was my first time doing a podcast so I was scared I'd mess up, but Nathan is such an easy person to talk to, I forgot I was being recorded and just enjoyed a fun conversation with another lovely creative. We talked about my inspirations, art process, what were my fav horror movies from last year, but my favourite thing was the end hypothetical question about what my dream passion project would be if money was no question. It was so much fun to improvise with Nathan and come up with a crazy project idea. It was awesome, I hope you check it out. The podcast should be out in February, I'll announce it on Patreon and twitter when it's live. In the mean time go have a look at Nathan's work here ---> click me.

This month really has been a month of firsts for a lot of things. I didn't see it till I started writing, but damn I really pushed myself out there this month. (pats self on back)

The last few things we did this month were attached to my expanding my artist skills to digital painting on the ipad pro with procreate. I never thought I'd be a person to enjoy digital art so much, but the program procreate is so intuitive and fun to create in, I have been using it almost every day. It's a great way for me to do prep work for oil paintings, try out new compositions, save on paper and expand my drawing skills. So now I have all this digital art and what to do with it, the sky is the limit. I currently have made a deck of horror rific postcards, fine art prints of an axe wielding lady and now also am expanding to leggings. Yes, finally leggings! I talked about them I think a year ago and I had no idea it would take so long to find a company to work with but now we do. We had some test prints made and I must say they look pretty amazing. I can't wait for next month when we send out a creepier design and then I can list them at my online shop @ jessicafholt.storenvy.com so keep them eyes peeled for updates!

Whew and that my friends has been my January. I d0 have my birthday at the end of this month, so it was wonderful to sit down and celebrate it, knowing I had a hella productive month. Shout out to my partner Jonas Roof without whom a lot of this would not be possible.

Until next month(tomorrow ha) have a good time and see you soon.


What did you get up to this month? Any cool books, art or projects you into or got going on? I would love to hear about it.