OUR FIRST INTERVIEW
Our inaugural Real Life Muse is someone I’ve been following on the gram for literal years. Jessalyn Brooks is one of those people who seem to be able to do everything, while somehow oozing sublime East LA coolness. She’s a jazz singer, painter, contemporary dancer, vintage clothing dealer, the list goes on. If you’ve found yourself here today for inspiration, buckle in.
How did you find your way to making art? I started painting and drawing again about 2 years ago. I used to paint and draw as a kid and in high school but stopped, so to say this wasn’t my life plan is an understatement. I think I really started to take it seriously after my dog passed away last year. She was my soul mate, so when she died I had this weird revelation where I was like, “well, the thing I love the most in the world is gone so fuck it”. It was half therapeutic, half reckless abandon. Anyways, I guess I have her to thank for this whole thing
What did you want to be when you were younger? When I was a kid I wanted to be on Broadway. Lol. I mean, I did a lot of professional theater and danced for years. I’m a cat- so many damn lives.
You’ve recently started doing textile & fashion design, do you see your work shifting into textile design? Yes! My friend and creative partner Rachel Rosenfield and I recently made a dress out of one of my paintings. That was our first baby. We plan on making a lot more. The brand is called Looky Loo. I think our line of silk underwear is coming out next! Very exciting stuff.
What does a day in the life of Jessalyn Brooks look like? Day in the life of Jess: well, it’s pretty routine. I wake up around 6:30 or 7, scream for my fiancé to bring me coffee from bed, baby talk and wrestle with the dogs for about half an hour, and immediately go to work (I live in my studio). I paint pretty much everyday until the sun goes down.
What are some common misconceptions people have about being a working artist? A common misconception people have about being a working artist… hm. Well, for one, I work constantly. There’s very little leisure time. Also, and I’m just speaking for myself here, but stipulations crush my sense of intuition. I absolutely cannot function naturally under stipulation.
How do you stay inspired? I stay inspired by getting the hell out of dodge. I normally have to get out of LA for a few days. I especially love a drive through the desert.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far? The most surreal part of my career. Gosh, I don’t know! Everything feels surreal! It’s all still new to me, to be honest. I had a moment a month ago when I was in nyc and walking to a place where I was doing a mural and it was raining cats and dogs. I looked up at the buildings and just sorta smiled. I’d never been so happy walking to a job before.
What business advice would you give artists that are looking to transition out of their day jobs? My advice to anyone working a “normal” job but have dreams of being/doing something else- listen: just fucking do it. Do it. Make lots and lots of complete shit. Even if it sucks and you think you don’t have what it takes. Just keep doing it. And put it out there. Let the world be your journal. I guess my advice would just be, don’t be afraid. I mean, it’s ok to be afraid, but force yourself to hide your fear and just put it out there. If you keep putting in the time, you will get to where you’re going. It’s going to feel unfair and you’ll feel resentment towards people who don’t have to work “normal” jobs and get to pursue their art, but you have to plow through that, too. Just do it
What are you excited for? Any upcoming projects that you can tell us about? New projects- well, I’m working on a cocktail bar in Manhattan at the moment called Jungle Bird. It opens next month. Also doing a label for a champagne brand this summer. Solo show in early summer in NYC. All fun stuff!
What are your holy-grail beauty essentials? Overall, I just have to say, Freck’s Cactus Collection has been life-changing. These products are just so earthly and rich. I have beautiful skin for the FIRST time in my life. It kind of pisses me off ha! I had to wait a long time, but it was worth it. I love waking up and doing the routine- going to bed and doing the routine. It just feels so beautiful and indulgent- two things I think I had never really allowed myself to feel until just recently. Thanks, I’m crying now.
What’s your top piece of beauty advice? My top beauty advice: Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Exfoliate. In the right way. I wish someone had told me about it in my younger years.
JESSALYN’S THOUGHTS ON FRECK..
CACTUS WATER my favorite product. The cooling tingle combined with the renewing lactic acid makes this a DREAM toner. The calming cactus is the perfect ingredient to offset the renewing properties of the lactic acid, which is, by the way, my favorite (natural)chemical exfoliant.
SO JELLY I love love love this eye cream. It cools, moisturizes and plumps my under eyes. It actually makes my eyes glow, which is sexy af and I never had an eye cream do that. I don’t have to wear concealer under my eyes when I wear this. Actually, I don’t have to wear concealer at all anymore. Ugh. Love it.
LIL PRICK this dry oil is great, not only for your face but also your shoulders and neck. I even put some on the ends of my hair and it gave it a nice texture to my curls. It smells insanely good which actually lasts for hours. Gives you a radiant glow.
FORECLAY this was actually the first product I opened because I was so in love with the packaging. It’s a perfect detoxing mask. No redness or irritation afterward. My skin actually feels MORE moisturized after rinsing it off. Clean pores, Dewey skin. Dynamite 🧨
RICH BITCH okay this one actually might be my favorite. I’m not sure. Ah. I mean, the title is accurate. It really is rich. I don’t know how else to say it. Like, I’ve been in the High desert for 5 days and my skin is more moisturized than when I was an oily(or more like severe combination) teenager. Clear, glowing and sexy. I don’t think I had been properly moisturizing or exfoliating before. Now I know. I’m equally mad as I am excited 🙂