We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Chong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
There was a day last summer when my children took music lessons, one would be in the lesson and I would wait with the other at a park nearby. This particular day, I brought my watercolor paints to use while I waited. My daughter joined me and we had the most pleasant time painting in the park. She commented how enjoyable it was and how other kids would probably like it too! My son joined us after his lesson, and we brainstormed the rest of the day forming ideas for my kids art classes. We kept the name simple: Art with Jessica.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Life is definitely not a smooth road, but every turn adds something special. Living internationally for 12 years helped me develop the great skill of adapting, which I have especially been able to use to navigate the constantly changing year of 2020-2021. There was also a point where I decided to create positive change in my life, but it also meant sacrificing the idea of how one’s life ‘should’ appear. Making decisions that align with my passion for art have put me on a path to success. In my personal artwork, I mostly paint in oils. My current body of work is about small moments that are experienced in the midst of an ongoing emotional transformation. Before 2020, I mostly painted women who I have personal relationships with. However, lately many of my paintings have been of myself as a result of the isolation we have all experienced this year. The last year has been a great, difficult, and enlightening time of introspection and transformation on a new level which I translate into my paintings. Along with my continuing my body of work, I am also very excited to be teaching art classes. I am focusing on ages 8-14 with plans to expand to other age groups. I believe that art and creative expression is so important during those years, even more so now with all the constant changes that youth have to navigate. I hope to inspire my students to tap into their creativity and find enjoyment in making art. I am especially proud to be graduating in May with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art. For a long time, this seemed like an impossible dream, but I have realized that taking risks can lead to dreams coming true. My passion for art and my passion for teaching are coming together, and I am very hopeful to have a job at a local school teaching art soon!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite places in San Clemente is the beach! I would make sure my friend was here when the weather is warm Day 1: We would walk the beach trail and end with happy hour at Fisherman’s (bar side) just in time to catch the sunset. Day 2: We would start the day by doing yoga with Epic on JDs rooftop, then cross the street for breakfast at Antoine’s Cafe. Then we would leisurely walk off breakfast on Del Mar, popping into any shops that catch our eye, and ending the day at The Cellar for wine. Day 3: Why not start this day with Epic yoga again, but this time at Linda Lane Park and a beautiful ocean view. After yoga, we might grab a coffee & light breakfast from Sur Coffee. We would for sure start talking about our next tattoo and spontaneously decide to walk down the street for friendship tattoos at Renaissance Studios. This day would end with sushi – 9 Style. Day 4: This day we will head out of town, but not too far, to Dana Point. We might bring roller skates or walk the harbor, spotting the seals that love to hang out on the ocean platforms. We would walk to the end of the path and explore the tide pools at low tide. It might be nice on this day to stop at Sunsets Bar happy hour and watch the sun set over the beach. Day 5: Since our other days have been fairly active, this day we will spend at the beach. We’ll grab burritos from Pedro’s Tacos on the way, and find a spot near a fire pit at T-street so that we can burn wood and toast marshmallows when the sun sets. Day 6: My friend’s last day here happens to be on a Tuesday. After our lazy day at the beach, we want some activity, so we hike the Ridgeline Trail and take in the views. We work up our appetite just in time for Taco Tuesday, and I treat my friend to tacos and margaritas at La Siesta.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are really too many people that deserve recognition, but for now I’ll give the biggest gratitude to my family and friends. My two children and I have been living with my parents for the past few years, which has given me the opportunity to pursue art and my path to becoming an art teacher. My friends have also been a tremendous support. They and my family have given constant encouragement, showing up at art exhibits, being the first to purchase my art, signing their children up for art lessons, and spreading the word about my artistic pursuits.