Interview with Jéssica João
Tell us about how you got to where you are now.
I was born in Leiria, Portugal. That is where I studied until the end of 12th grade, in the Visual Arts area. I went to the Polytechnic Institute of Applied Arts in Castelo Branco for University and got a degree in Textiles and Fashion Design. That was when I understood what I really wanted to do with my life: Fashion Illustration.
During this time, I understood that my passion for Fashion Design was very focused on the Illustration aspect of it. Of course, it was such a bonus to gain knowledge of fabrics, textures and get to know more about fashion history and be exposed to influences and inspirations. That was the moment I started to draw the path I ended up following.
At the moment, I work in what I love the most: I am a freelance Fashion Illustrator. I have been very lucky to have crossed paths with people from the fashion industry who appreciated my style – which is basically defined by the carachteristics of sensuality, luxury and realism (when illustrating people, their facial expression is crucial).
How and when did you start exploring yourself creatively through drawing?
I don’t remember when I started drawing. I remember of how much I felt like I wanted to draw every time I saw cartoons. When I was a kid, I used to spend my vacations at my grandmother’s house – she still has doodles and drawings of mine all over her house. My parents already knew that they had to buy a notebook for me to draw in.
It’s kind of odd and rare in a 6-year-old child to be so conscious of the human body in terms of proportions and dimensions, but I was always very aware – although my drawings of people weren’t perfect, I can see that they showed a different perception than the disproportionality so common in children’s drawings.
I remember people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up and that, in first grade, I already knew and my answer didn’t change: I always said I wanted to be a Stylist. It wasn’t until University that I understood that Stylist and Fashion Designer are two completely different professions.
During my school years, people would tell me that I had a knack for drawing – and that is normally one of the main drives for people to pursue something. Not for me. I was motivated by how much I genuinely wanted to do it and how much I loved doing it.
I think that everyone can draw. Some people better than others – that’s for sure – but the quality of a drawing is not only in the quality of the line or the way of representing something, it also lies on the expression one can transmit.
What was your starting point and inspiration behind the work you developed for Monarte? What did your creative process look like?
The starting point was luxury, as it is with all of my other illustrations. I gathered elements from Baroque Architecture and also got inspiration from Art Nouveau, which is one of the artistic styles I like the most, because of the vegetal motifs.
Seeing as it was an illustration for a Spring/Summer piece, I used flowers, because they are characteristic of this season and they conjugate beauty and simplicity. Basically, I combined Baroque and vegetal motifs and elements with the delicateness of flowers to create an illustration where the fabric is my canvas.
Using this opportunity to bring to fabric what attracts her aesthetically, Jessica created a piece of her very own Baroque-Nouveau-Spring-Joanine style. The artista combined Baroque and vegetal motifs and elements with the delicateness of flowers to create an illustration where the fabric is her canvas.