GALLERY ARTIST INTERVIEW: WINGED COYOTE DESIGNS aka JESSICA HALLEY

Our next featured artist is the talented Jessica Halley of Winged Coyote Designs! You may recognize her as she’s been working with The Artist Lodge for years as both a gallery artist and vendor at our events.

Jessica Halley is a freelance illustrator whose travels have currently landed her in San Diego. After completing a BA in Studio Art at Smith College and two certificates at the Rhode Island School of Design, she created Winged Coyote Designs to focus on her projects in children’s book and comics illustration which expanded into fandom based papercut artwork. Her multidimensional pieces involve intricate interweaving designs, flickering lights, humor, and a healthy dose of nostalgia for the 80s and 90s, enticing people to take a piece of their childhood home. A fan of broadening her horizons and learning new things, she also does ink and marker pieces to constantly test her mantra of ‘no fandom is too random’.

How old are you?
38

What is the primary medium you work in?
Paper-cut artwork, both flat and shadowbox.

What is your favorite medium to work in?
Paper-cut and also ink and marker.

What is your favorite subject matter?
My go-to tends to be fandoms based on my current favorites as well as past, from Marvel comic to DC animation to Disney. Horses have been a personal favorite since I was little, which includes unicorns and pegasuses and other equine shaped fantasy beasts.

What art tools do you use, and do you have any tools or brands that you recommend?
Since high school, I’ve been a fan of Prismacolor pencils and markers and recently have expanded out into Chameleon markers and Copic markers. The Chameleon markers blend great and are refillable, so they’re my main marker with Copics, Prismacolor, and a few other brands filling in the gaps. For paper, I started with standard solid scrapbooker cardstock and have expanded out to patterned scrapbooking paper, origami paper, and some other fancier paper. For cutting, my favorite blade is a surgical steel blade I bought at a quilt show as I have a horrible habit of snapping the tips off of normal X-acto blades way too easily.

What sources would you recommend for artists that are interested in pursuing your art medium?
I’ll admit that my paper-cut style is self-taught with a lot of trial and error. It started with a paper-cut piece made for a children’s book class assignment and was done entirely with scissors. I googled a lot of references from wycinanki (Polish paper-cutting) in terms of shape and ideas. There are many different styles of paper-cutting out there and no wrong way to do it, so seeing things you like and also finding out what tools you’re more comfortable with is key.

To see all the different styles, you can visit these people on instagram: Meghan Stratman, OodlesOfCutoodles, Marcela Staudenmaier, Caroline Boyk Purdue, Crystal Smalls Ord, Fenway Wei Fan, Jackie Huang, Campluswhit, Daria Aksenova, Leslie Strock, Ryan Riller, Brittney Lee, and Nathanna Érica.

In regards to ink and markers, a good source I’ve found is Todd Nauck’s youtube channel. He does live videos from sketch to ink to marker color and is where I got the inspiration for doing post-it note art.

How and when did you start creating artwork?
I’ve been drawing since I was a little. Most of it was horses and copying my favorites, going from the Last Unicorn to Lion King to Jurassic Park to comics. At that time I focused mainly on colored pencils, but moved to markers as it took less time (and hand strength) to cover an area as dark and vibrant as I wanted. I got into paper-cut art first from an assignment for a children’s book class and then further in exploring how to make a piece for a Sailor Moon tribute show work. With the success of that piece, I dove head first into making more paper-cut pieces.

Did you go to school for art?
I studied Studio Art at Smith College and then completed two certificates, one in Children’s Book Illustration and one in Comic+Sequential Art, at the Rhode Island School of Design.

If you could create anything in the world, what would you create?
The long list of ideas piling up in my head. My hands don’t work fast enough for my brain!

What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
To bring some happiness to people’s lives and give them content that they want but might not see often. My favorite part of tabling at conventions is seeing people’s faces light up when they see a fandom that they love but don’t see much of. The motto of ‘No fandom is too random’ also came from this as I love learning about new shows, movies, video games, and music that hasn’t hit my radar and getting to give people that joy of having a piece of art to go with their love of the fandom.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on for this show?
I’m working on a few paper-cut pieces (both shadowboxes and flat) that lean heavily on my own nostalgia and memories of Henson’s work, particularly the Muppets and Sesame Street.

What is your favorite Jim Henson film/project/book/etc? 
Even though it was after his time, A Muppet Christmas Carol is a definite favorite.

If you could live in any Jim Henson universe, what would it be? 
Right now, Sesame Street seems like a really happy, nice place to be.

Who is your favorite Jim Henson character? Why? 
The Yip Yip aliens because their skits were funny and I still randomly sing the ‘Yip yip family’ song.

Who would win in a battle, Jareth and his Goblin Army or The Muppets? 
The Muppets pure chaotic energy might be too much for even Jareth to handle.

YOU CAN FIND MORE FROM JESSICA AND WINGED COYOTE DESIGNS HERE
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*Please note that all artwork is reposted with permission from the artists. Please do not use, alter, or repost the artwork without direct permission from the artists. Each artist may have a different Creative Commons license on their work/images and you will need to contact them directly in order to obtain permission for your uses.

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