Jamie Corley, Artist
This week we talked to Jamie Corley, a talented fine art painter based in San Francisco, CA. Her signature Bridal Bouquet Portraits are a must-have for the modern Mestiza bride!
When did you start painting?
I’ve painted on and off for my entire life. I have always felt creative. My grandmother is a fashion designer, and I’m grateful to have learned basic design, drawing and color theory at an early age. That said, I was not the “art kid” in school, and I didn’t discover just how truly passionate I am about art until I was about 25. I used to work in politics, so I would paint in the mornings and the weekends. I moved to California when I was 28 (I’m 33 now) and have painted mostly full-time since then.
What are some sources of inspiration for your paintings?
Fashion is a huge source of inspiration for me because I love playing with patterns and textiles! I also paint the female figure and sometimes draw inspiration from runway shows and fashion photoshoots. There’s a lot of overlap between fine art and fashion. I also find inspiration from nature, especially in a color sense. My grandmother used to say you can’t go wrong with painting in blues and greens because those are “God’s background colors.”
I paint a lot from intuition, so I have to stay open and mindful for inspiration to enter. And then when I feel inspired, it’s my job to just follow the path and see where it leads.
Who are your favorite artists?
Henri Matisse, Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ashley Longshore
How do you get out of a creative block?/ How have you been staying inspired in quarantine?
I had a really tough time staying motivated and creative during quarantine. I know a lot of creatives experienced creative block! I honestly took about two or three weeks totally off from painting. That’s unusual for me, but these are unusual times! Eventually I got a burst of inspiration. I knew it would kick back in and I didn’t want to force it. I usually paint for four hours in the morning (7-11am) and in the evening (6-9pm). Obviously the evening shift gets interrupted, but if I can stick to that schedule 3-4 days a week I’m pretty happy.
How do you know when a painting is finished?
I think every creative struggles to know when a piece of artwork is “done.” I have to trust my process and my instincts to know when the piece feels fully complete. Sometimes that even means letting it look a little “messy” or stopping earlier in my process than usual. When you know, you know, I guess!
What's your favorite piece that you've done?
A large (36x6”) abstract art piece I did in 2015. I find a lot of calmness in the chaos and the piece reminds me that there’s beauty in spontaneity. I also connect to my first figure collections, especially Woman I.
Is there something you are working on currently?
This is an exciting time because I’m in between collections. I just finished a number of commissions and also worked on 10 still life paintings. I’m in exploration mode -- I’m testing out what feels right in terms of style and color palette and also being open to what’s catching my eye right now. I feel pulled to paint beaches and then another side of me wants to explore portraits. I usually paint in a muted palette, and I think that will remain the same. At this point, it’s about playing and trusting my intuition to guide me to the next phase of my artwork. I have painted for enough time to know that eventually it will make sense -- maybe the series will provide me with an opportunity to hone a new technique, or I’ll find a niche in a new style, or I’ll learn a bit more about myself through the process. Maybe all of the above!
What are some special projects you do for brides? Do you ever do special commissions or portraits?
Yes! A bulk of my business is painting bridal bouquet portraits. I love painting flowers, and I like the idea that I can use my talents to help commemorate such a special ceremony. I started painting bouquets as gifts in 2015 and the idea took off! Now anyone can commission a portrait for a friend or spouse.
What are your favorite Mestiza pieces? What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
I love the ethos of Mestiza. I own the Pericon Midi dress and one of my favorite things about the dress is the richness and quality of the fabric and the stitching. The pieces are so well designed and crafted -- like pieces of artwork themselves!
It’s also been such a joy to watch Louisa, whom I’ve known since high school, grow Mestiza into a brand. I remember attending one of the Mestiza fashion shows at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and being blown away by the excitement for the line!