Last week, I had the most amazing experience. A lovely lady who follows my art on Instagram told me she saw my artwork on the new season, of the Emmy award winning show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! I told my man we needed to go pull up our Amazon account and turn that TV on pronto!
*Side note: I work with a licensing company who manages the licensing rights to my art and gets it artwork into books, magazines, and film/television shows globally. They do hundreds of deals for me a year-and so I am not aware of every specific deal per se, so many come as a very wonderful surprise. Such as past works that have been on Danielle Steel novel covers, artwork getting into Marie Claire magazines, etc. They get my artwork into Getty Images which as many know is a huge entity. Rest assured, I am credited and paid every time my work is used*
As we waited for the episode to load, I couldn't help but wonder, what artwork did they use? How big would it be? Will it even get a few seconds of air time?? I had no idea what to expect, but my heart was racing in anticipation.
The artwork is in the 1st 2 episodes, the more prominently displayed one is around 50 minutes into the 2nd episode of Season 2. Mr & Mrs. Weissman are leaving Paris, and the scene is dripping with a bit of sadness and romance. They are on a beautiful typical Parisian street scene, and then THERE IT IS. My painting, Dior & Paris!!! Bold, scarlet red, and strikingly large format. Perfect for the scene. My love of French line work and vintage Vogue's is apparent. All those hours of researching archived 50s Vogues paid off baby! (I study every quarter in a library archives Vogues & Harpers Bazaar for hours.) The color story, the rule of thirds, every detail I could see being composed with so much thought and care in the set design. And all I could think was, "Wow. I get to be me. I get to paint what I LOVE. I get to embrace who I am as an artist. And then the world embraces me back. And applauds me for it.” It felt like the Universe was telling me, "Hey Jessica, just keeping being you. When you are you, and keep believing in yourself, the magic happens. You are worth it. Be prepared for your dreams to come true, and be prepared for them to surprise you.” I felt shivers up and down my spine. I couldn't' have dreamt a better scenario for my art. To have my artwork in Paris, on one of the most critically acclaimed shows, with the best acting, amazing writing, and fabulous dresses, set design and most importantly… the best story of female empowerment-DAMN!!! It all made sense. It all felt completely me, and very natural. It felt magical.
These last 7 years of professionally illustrating and making art-have been the most fulfilling years of my life. And I know without a shadow of a doubt, that my positive thinking, my willingness to paint what I love versus what the market is doing, or what others may tell me to paint-is why I get to do what I do. When I am me, everyone wins. When Mrs. Maisel gets up on that stand, and makes light of her life and shares her truth-she wins. When Susie believes in Midge, even when the odds are completely against them and they still keep going -they win.
I painted that piece back in 2011. It was a homage to my love affair of Vintage fashion magazines, Rene Gruau, Henri Toulouse Lautrec and Dior’s cinched waist dresses and coats of the 1950s. It was also about my dream of someday going to Paris. (I would later go in 2015 when I was working with Kérastase Paris and get a book offer when I was there!!-that's also another GOOD story.) 2011 my life was a lot like Mrs. Maisel's. I was in my 1st marriage-that I knew was not going to make it. I had an unfaithful husband, and I was lost. I wasn't sure how I would leave, but I also wasn't sure how much longer I could stay. My life felt so uncertain. And in that time of my life, I was a closed book to most people. So turning to my love of fashion illustration, and painting allowed me to reconnect to what I was most passionate about. I had a dream career of being an illustrator. It allowed me to imagine that perhaps someday, I could have the life I dreamt of. Perhaps people would love my art, and it would sell and I would work for magazines, and my art would open doors for me and allow me grow as a woman. So everyday I woke up and got to work. I painted hundreds if not thousands of paintings in 2011. I did this not knowing if I would ever sell a thing. I did it because I loved every minute of it. Even when I doubted my self, my skills and my worthiness at times. There was a lot of bad artwork made. But every once in a while I got it right. And when I got it right, I could feel it in my bones. Near the end of 2011 was when I began to see my artwork change. I could feel that I was finally letting go of expectations, I stopped looking at my idols works and comparing mine to theirs, and my artwork was gaining strength. Dior & Paris was one of my lighter paintings. I also made more deeper work, that would got me critical acclaim and opened a lot of doors for me. 2011 was such an important year for me, and I'm so grateful I followed my passion and intuition. Small doses of work everyday lead to great things for me. And it will for you too.
In 2012, that's when my life changed. I made more money than I could have ever thought I would, doing what I love. No one told me that could happen. In school, and in society it was always "oh the only way to make a living as an artist is to teach. Or just be prepared to be a starving artist.” I felt a surge of confidence, empowerment and excitement. And I felt stronger and more myself than ever. At the end of 2012 I left my husband. As I watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I can't help but feel such a connection to the show and Midge. And I can't help but wonder if the real miracle here is that something as simple as a painting of a woman in Paris- was picked out of chance. I believe it wasn't a coincidence. I believe it happened so I can too can echo the story that Mrs. Maisel is all about. And that I can share my magic, with you!
Be yourself. Do what you love. Don't give up on yourself. Put on some red lipstick, hold your head high and expect great things to happen to you. Because you are Marvelous! Get up on your stage, and be yourself!