meet art wall artist: jessica marquez of miniature rhino

March 10, 2010

Today's artist interview is with Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino, where little is the new big. Jessica's shop is an eclectic collection of textiles, miniatures, papergoods and mounted photographs. She has the eye of a collector and mad photography skills, as you can see. Folks, meet Jessica!

(AW) What's behind the name Miniature Rhino. It's so quirky, I love it.
(JM) The story starts with one of my cousins, who was about 4 at the time. She had an imaginary friend named Dr. Rhino, who was a dentist. This breaks my heart. Eventually she moved on to Dr. Penguin, but the rhino has stuck with me. It's become symbolic of lots of things I want for MR-creating a wold of imagination and creativity. I also like that it's this juxtaposition of the smallest and biggest thing. For me MR is this tiny business that means the world to me.

(AW) Your product photography is first-class. What advice can you offer sellers just starting out in terms of images--short of a lesson in F-stop functionality?
(JM) Ha! Sounds like you are a bit of a photo nerd too. Thanks! I love images and a lot of my making background is in photography. I shoot a lot, which is one thing that really helps. Just keep doing it. It's always a challenge, a fun challenge though. My apartment doesn't get much light, so I struggle with that. I use bounce discs to fill light in shadow areas. A tripod helps too. The best part is styling photographs. I use lots of little props that I collect and use in my home to help, I hope, tell interesting stores with my images.

What's the most special thing to you about having your own small business?
There's a great sense of pride I get from being my own boss. I have so much more say in what I do with my time. But more than that I am supporting myself by the work of my hands, with the things i make, sharing them with people who enjoy them-how amazing is that? I never thought I'd have a job like this. Never. I'm thankful and hope to grow more and more.

What's the most challenging aspect?
It's humbling. I'm learing as I go and I feel like I'm stumbling through balancing work and personal life. MR is my life right now. I'm constantly working and thinking about it-what can I do differently, better, new projects, what needs to be done, etc? Managing a business is not so much fun. I just want to make things, but it's a necessary part you can't ignore. So, I'm challenged on the daily and hope that I can create some structure and balance in my life.

What is your dream purchase?
A home! I long so hard for a farm home. I want a place of my own with animals to care for, some land to work on, and space to enjoy. I want to go on walks with dogs, grow a garden and even have goats and chickens. It seems like a good dream to have.

Last but not least: what's a teeny tiny thing that makes you happy?
Small objects. I mean tiny things, can make me incredibly happy. I was holding a baroque pearl in my hand today, which is smaller than a bean, and its odd shape and shine struck me as curious and wonderful. Throughout my home I keep little dishes and cups full of these types of things, like tiny pine cones, charms, stones, old stamps, and skeleton keys. Keeping them close seems so important to who I am.

Well, you know what they say: "little is the new big." Oh wait, you're the one that says that. Sorry for that corny joke. Jessica, I loved learning more about you and getting in your head a bit. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of yourself.

Miniature Rhino's "Tree Stumps" are on display in Art Wall's Kitchen. Jessica also writes a clever blog about her work and what inspires her.


Virginia Kraljevic said...

I love Jessica's work!! And she's absolutely super sweet in person :)

Anonymous said...

I second what Virginia just said : that girl is aceness. Her work is stunning and she's a gem.
I loved reading this interview,

x x x

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