We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaimie Rudy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jaimie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’m still actively pursuing my creative career! I was born making art and visual expression has always felt like the place where I have my clearest, strongest voice. I work a normal day job to pay the bills, but I’ve been patiently carving out the future I want for myself… I’ve always drawn and decorated everything around me, and I’ve found that when I do share my work that it becomes a call and response. If I can make something that’s true and honest and it resonates with someone else out there, that’s what it’s all about. We all long to feel seen and heard, and I hope to bring about that bit of recognition and connection when someone views or interacts with something I’ve made.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In the last few years, my favorite form of expression has been embroidering onto old photographs. I love words though I am a quiet person, and I like to take a word or a phrase and see how it interacts with an environment to express a larger feeling- I’m a big believer that less is more. I began embroidering words onto imagery of the National Parks in response to the 2016 election (and subsequent administration) to voice the need to protect and revere our public lands; it’s a long-term project that I would like to show in a gallery setting with a book accompaniment. I’ve also created a number of embroidered images for musical projects, and I still get a kick out of seeing my work used to represent someone else’s ideas.
A lot of my work has a sentimentality to it… nostalgia, longing… very human emotions. I work through drawing and printmaking; drawing informs most of my work and I love the physicality that comes through in woodcuts and linoleum cut printing (as well as the reproducibility). There is something unique to block printing in the way shapes are formed through carving, the print always looks different than the original drawing but it also transforms into a style of its own- I tend to prefer the print to my drawings! An ongoing project I’m proud of is the yearly valentine I send to friends and family, this past February was the 9th year I’ve made them. This year’s card was an Elvis photograph I embroidered words onto, in years past I’ve carved linoleum cuts and hand-printed each valentine… it’s a labor of love and a project very close to my heart. I have a deep fondness for the physicality and *surprise* of mail, especially today as so much of our communication is digital. My valentines echo this, and I’ll be starting to print my artworks onto postcards and greeting cards as well.
I’ve always dreamed of making jewelry, and am always searching for something that I can’t ever quite find- so I decided to start making it myself. I’m early yet in my jewelry education and still building my vision; I love the physicality of actually working ideas into metal and being able to wear the thing I just made. I’m excited about all of the possibilities and am just trusting the process and letting myself play in ways I don’t get to with my artwork. I started making brass daisies because the shape makes me feel happy and optimistic, it feels like spring and we certainly just endured the long winter that was 2020. They’re really fun to wear, and I’m looking toward moving forward on a full collection of daisies and other things. Just a month ago I opened an Etsy shop called No This Or That, it’s the first step toward a curated space of the tactile things I’m making- that’s where you’ll be able to find my jewelry, valentines and other offerings.
I can’t say I’m where I want to be professionally yet, not even close- but I live my life creatively and dedicate time and energy to my work and practice every day. Having so much more time at home and with fewer distractions during this year-long pandemic has been a real blessing in disguise for me creatively, it gave me pause and rest and allowed me to get some new perspective (and shake up my routines) to make shifts that would’ve taken much longer to get to- physically and emotionally. I take a lot better care of myself than I did in my 20’s, and I have come to realize the mystique of the suffering artist isn’t for me. What do I hope to share? I want people to participate in what is going on around them (and within themselves). Spending time in nature is healing, burning a match is healing- expressing yourself is healing. There are so many little ways we can connect by being intentional in our actions and in the way we interact with what is around us. I hope to foster some sort of action…and hopefully lighten things up a bit, too. A friend of mine describes me as “the West’s Great Americana Satirist,” and I hope my life’s work will someday get close to fulfilling such an honorable title!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
LEON Gallery, MCA Denver, Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still and Kirkland are all lovely spots to see art and fill up the soul. The Denver Botanic Gardens are a great place to go with a friend or date or yourself for some respite from the city. A visit to Queen City General Store, Sacred Thistle and Rose House for boutique shopping and plants would be in order, followed by Meininger Art Supply and Fancy Tiger Crafts for art supplies and gifts. I’d make sure we visit Weathervane Cafe, Metropolis and Amethyst for coffee and grab treats from Make Believe, Bakery. Lunch at Sputnik, dinner at Taste of Thailand or Tarasco’s to please everyone while fulfilling my vegan desires. And if (/when) the pandemic is over, we’d catch a show at the Hi-Dive or get to a roller rink and get our skate on! Ideally we’d get out of town too, and take some time to snowshoe or hike in the mountains and fill up on that cool Colorado air.
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 dedicate this Shoutout to my parents, who have always supported my creative endeavors no matter how big or small- and who never once questioned me following my heart. I also dedicate this Shoutout to my husband Cole (also incredibly creative and talented) who asks me all the hard questions and encourages my continued exploration in all things that catch my interest; we got married in the middle of this pandemic and he’s helped me really push myself to build the life I want for myself and for us. My friends are incredibly supportive of me, and I feel lucky to live and work within a community of such talented and inspired people.
Other: Etsy: etsy.com/shop/nothisorthat
Drawing detail photograph by Amanda Tipton for LEON Gallery.