by Deiona Monroe
Julie Amara McGrath—most commonly and creatively called JAM—is a California born and New York based artist with aspirations in fashion, femininity, and all things beautiful. Her work is impressionistic and whimsical, utilizing the flexibility of acrylic to provide an oil-esque experience.
Highly influenced by painters like Claude Monet and Wayne Thiebaud, JAM has an affinity for color and its ability to set a mood. This self-taught artist takes part in monthly shows throughout the five boroughs, landing her a feature in an upcoming Netflix documentary. Though she has such a full and vibrant schedule, we were able to get into the life of the artist who goes by JAM:
What was one of the first pieces that you’ve ever created and what inspired you to make said piece?
“The first serious piece I ever made as an adult was a girl with a flower crown in her hair and she was sipping on some chamomile tea. I wanted to create a feeling of serenity and peace because I wanted to make others feel that emotion. I think art is so powerful because its one of the only occupations in life that you can construct a feeling”.
Do you transcend your life into your work? If so, how do you do so and why do you do it?
“I bring my life into my work by taking elements that I enjoy in life—like picnics, flowers, coffee, etc.—and bring them all together to make a cohesive piece. I think this makes my work more personal, like I’m putting my soul into it”.
What is the driving force behind a piece you are currently working on?
“My driving force is always girl power and the feminine divine, but the piece I’m working on currently is meant to convey the fact that we are all trying to create our own space in this world and we are slowly wading through the time continuum trying to get to our own personal goals. The piece is of a girl with a fish bowl/astronaut helmet on and she can see planets ahead (her goals) as well as creatures (possible obstacles she may face)”.
Are there any elements to being an artist that brings you stress? If so, how do you cope with the stress?
“There are many stress elements in being an artist. But like anything you just learn to get a thick skin to it and move along with your life. Stress does nothing, only action does”.
Bringing her life into her work and using her artistic talent to promote girl power and the feminine divine, JAM doesn’t let any outsiders get her down or distract her from what she is accomplishing with her work. In this world, a girl has to keep her heart strong and her skin even thicker.
To strive and push forth in this world, it’s going to take some guts and some blocking-of-stress to get the job done. Without artists like JAM—reminding us that stress isn’t a solution and staying true to your personal goals is key—the world would be a little more haunting. Let us remember to love our artists and appreciate the work that they do.
Stay connected with this bundle of girl power: