Bold & Pop #BoldBossTribe Feature with Jess Grabowski of The Letter J Creates
Bold & Pop #BoldBossTribe Feature with Jess Grabowski of The Letter J Creates

Tell us your bold boss story!: 

Hi there, I’m Jess with The Letter J Creates, providing modern calligraphy and paint artwork in the Chicagoland area. My work spreads across a few areas but I have easily been undeniably been doing a big share of weddings this year. In addition to weddings, I have also started hosting my very own workshops in the Chicago western suburbs.

While I spent most of my early 20’s in the banking industry, I am so glad that is not where my story ended. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I became more intrigued by modern calligraphy and started studying on my own. I have always enjoyed writing and truly thought it was going to be a piece of cake. As you may have suspected, it was not. I have been learning, studying and creating for over 5 years and it has been the most wonderful experience.  

My first thought was to go out and stock up on supplies, this I did. However, this is not the key to beautiful modern calligraphy. Many can tell you that it is about your technique and skill, not your supplies. This statement alone leaves you with no excuse as to why you can not try this unique art. The more I started studying, the more I could see how important art is and the true value of a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

My first step was honestly to get on social media. I was not familiar with any terminology. It was a little intimidating in the beginning, for sure! I found a couple of hand lettering artists and participated in challenges on Instagram. This really got me finding out my own style and I saw that lettering can be so much more than just nice handwriting.

A couple of my favorite hand lettering artists are Kiley in Kentucky and Kelly Creates. They inspired me so much throughout my lettering journey. They both have pretty unique styles and encourage so many inspiring artists. And that speaks to me. What I love most is sharing my art and to spark curiosity in others. I feel like art has always been a part of my life but only recently did I find that it can be so good for you. I love encouraging other artists because I believe it’s an important part of our community.

My first couple years, I did not take my lettering seriously at all. I was such a beginner and wasn’t dedicating too much time to it. I initially found interest in chalkboards for children’s occasions, mainly for my daughter This was too much fun. My daughter was so little and I was still in that new mom phase. As time went by, I did feel like that direction wasn’t for me. While I loved creating, I was ready to take a another step in my lettering career. I began branching out to other areas such as weddings, watercolor and acrylic painting, engagements and events. This is when I felt whole. These projects totally pulled me in and I couldn’t be more pleased to be where I am now. and a bit messy, but BOY has it been worth it.

We're all about bold boss moments, tell us about one of yours!: 

In terms of bold boss moments, I feel like I am always in a state of bliss. I absolutely love my work and being creative. I have come across so many talented artists and admire this field. Art is so versatile and can speak to people on so many levels. I very much cherish being a part of this community.  

So when I did all of my work and was finally ready to start hosting my own workshops, I approached Lucy Dallman of Heartfelt Create Studio in Glen Ellyn. She has this very creative space and radiates art. I really wanted to distance myself from mass produced products and stencils so I wanted to join a real art studio. I have been so delighted to work with Lucy. My work will be making an appearance at her Artisan Holiday Show from November 16th to December 22nd. I would say participating in this artisan show is a huge bold boss moment for me!

What advice or words of encouragement do you have for the Bold Boss Tribe?:

Advice for the community would be to choose collaboration over competition. Many people think that another person with their skill means less work for them but that is not true. Giving back and supporting others in our community only creates a stronger community. There is no cap on artists, there can be an infinite number.

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