Meet the Maker: Jackie Juaristi


“I’m an abstract painter with a love of creating watery, textured shapes that represent the process inherent in making them: the pour of paint, moving it quickly, and absorbing it back up again.  This documentation and awareness of time has helped me in understanding the present moment. I also adore nature; in particular, the water and light of Central Florida. I am always trying to represent these elements in my work, as they have taught me about being in the present moment more than anything. 

I also write poetry and travel as much as I can, but most of the time I am teaching little kids how to make art. I am so grateful to have found something I love to do every single day. I teach Pre-K through 3rd grades at an independent school in town. I have a B.A. in Studio Art and a B.A. in Creative Writing from Florida State University, where I also went to graduate school for my M.S. in Art Education.” 


What time of day do you like to start working on your art?

When I am starting new pieces, my ideal time would be right after eating a big breakfast, when the sun is shining, and I can spread my papers and paint out on my porch. I want to be able to place my pieces next to each other, walk around them, and take breaks after running around controlling gallons of water and paint running all over my porch or driveway. When drawing on top of my paintings, I often work at night, at my kitchen table, where I get cozy.

Do you want to be liked or respected?

I do want to spread love and thus, respect the people I come in contact with. I know in my own life that the more I practice self-respect that I can give it to others, and often demand it from others even more. It’s all a cycle. Love yourself so you can love others; like yourself and others will probably like you, too. 

What does your support system look like?

A big soup of love that spreads up the Atlantic seaboard and across the ocean. Many of my friends moved away from Orlando in the past few years, so I have a lot of places to visit! But, they keep me afloat constantly; they are always in my ear, sending me memes, or hopping on a plane so we can hang. I’m super grateful for my mom & dad who live in town, and a rad work community of colleagues and families who are constantly asking how they can help. If I ever get lonely, I go to Stardust and am immediately at home.

What would your key artist advice be?

Get your concept down. Don’t be afraid of it; it might seem sad, scary, funny, or ridiculous to tell to the world, but the world wants your story! Don’t judge your story too hard. Judging yourself is probably the hardest judgement you will ever receive. I think as someone who takes pride in high-quality work, I have been through a lot of self-judgment over the years. It got me to where I am, but it also held me back for a long time. Your work is already in progress, right this second! Believe in it, let yourself have time to figure it out, and love it so much you can’t help but show it to everybody else.

What do you find the most difficult part of your work?

The stories behind my work are often tumultuous. My concept when painting has always been focused around the process and time. The time it takes me to make a painting helps me focus on the present moment. The present moment and mindfulness has pulled me out of a lot of hard times, and thus my work is a representation of time spent and how I process grief. I always am writing poetry and vignettes as I am working through a series, and these often tell the real story behind the work. The past two years, my pieces have focused on processing chronic pain, then death. Facing our problems is never easy! But, when I finally decide to face them, I usually make a lot of art, write, and process them. Then, I show my work and I am a little more free than before.

Have you ever made a mistake you wish you could take back?

Yikes. I really do think we are faced with situations, people, and reactions for a purpose. We learn so much through what we get uncomfortable about. I feel uncomfortable whenever I treat anyone with an ounce of disrespect. I’d take those things back. Otherwise, no.

Describe your typical Florida uniform. What do you wear when you want to feel like yourself?

Purple glasses, high-waisted jean shorts or gym shorts, a simple tank, and high tops. I can ride my bike like that, hang out, put things in my pockets, and have a mini dance party!

How does Orlando inspire you?

The surrounding areas of Orlando are where my heart is at; in blue waters, rivers, and oak scrub forests. But, growing up, I was very sensory sensitive. I loved light like I do now, and I fell in love with the light at home when I was a kid. I really feel uncomfortable when I travel and the light is different; when I can’t tell what time of day it is or when the clouds block the sun it is disorienting. I am always craving the way the golden light in Orlando falls through glass into my house or down streets in autumn, and how the sun shines through the trees and creates a blue glow in the morning. The City Beautiful is very, very beautiful if you look closely.

What do you miss most about home when you travel?

Every time I travel I am so excited to get home; mostly for my actual home, but also for my community. I love being a local. I love being able to go into coffee shops and stores and see the same people. I love seeing strangers that I know but I don’t know in my neighborhood. I love hearing the same birds and cicadas and animals. I think I miss that feeling the most; feeling at home with everyone and everything around me.

Describe your ideal food day in Orlando.

I’d grab a guava and cheese pastelito from Black Bean Deli and an iced coconut milk café con leche. Then, I’d head to Domu for brunch and nom on their chicken wings and already be reminiscing about how good their Richie Rich is as I’m eating it. I’d need a pick me up, so I’d grab a coconut cashew milk latte from Stardust. For dinner I’d grab some curry, either Massaman with veggies from Sea Thai or Panang from Pop Thai… and, dessert would definitely happen at Krungthep.


Jackie’s WEBSITE
You can also catch her work at The Heavy in Winter Park from March 11-24th. Opening Celebration Day is on March 15th from 10am-9pm, so swing by if you get a chance.