As a young girl born in the U.S. to South American immigrant parents, Jacqueline Davis Moranti couldn’t communicate with the other kids in English. She turned to drawing her thoughts as a form of expression, and continued the routine even as she further assimilated into her homeland. As an adult, Jacqui tackles a range of creative projects from cartoon editorials, to high fashion illustrations, to web design and typography. Jacqueline’s blog Burgundy Whispers tracks the overlap between her professional work and personal wardrobe, as she reworks items she already owns in new ways. The practice is an extension of her studio process, where she makes lists of words opposing her ideas to tease out interesting tensions between concepts.
“We live in a world full of content, and it’s up to you to figure out how to make it your own and share your edited version with the world,” she explains. For someone who enjoys making a great first impression, we think Jacqui can cross that item off her to-do list for today. —Annie
What’s in your toolbox?
In my toolbox lives many, many pencils, HB and 4B leads, pastel papers, cold press watercolor papers, tracing papers, Cretacolor colored pencils, Wacom tablet, ink brush markers, kneaded erasers, and tons of Higgins Black Magic ink.
Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel ____________.”
In my studio I feel very conceptual. Before I even pick up a pencil, I write down words associated with the project at hand and then think of its antonyms to help me come up with interesting concepts.
What’s on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?
I tend to read a lot of fictional narratives to keep my mind open with new concepts and ideas, including The Chronicles of Narnia series. A lot of the books in my bookcase are reference books — as an artist it’s a great idea to create a resource of images and words to keep your mind fresh.
How do you keep yourself organized?
I swear by Google Calendar to keep me organized and sane! Also, every morning when I wake up, I grab my notebook from [my] nightstand and write down a to-do list. I find that it helps me keep my ideas fresh when I jot them down as soon as I think about them.
If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?
This is a great question, especially because I’ve been working on comic drawings lately. My ideal power would be to read minds. I like to make great first impressions, almost to a point where I get really nervous wondering whether or not I actually did. Reading minds would also let me know what exactly some of my clients want.
What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker, or designer?
The best advice I have ever received was from my mother, and that is to never give up. To this day, I keep pushing forward no matter what the situation may be, because it can only lead to good things. My advice to other artists: stay hungry and never feel fully satiated, because someone out there might take it [the opportunities] from you.
How do you combat creative blocks?
To be completely honest, I rarely get creative blocks — my mind is always running with ideas. We live in a world full of content, and it’s up to you to figure out how to make it your own and share your edited version with the world. This is also where making the lists helps — it helps me figure out in which order to complete ideas.
Where do you like to look or shop for inspiration?
Pinterest and StumbleUpon are the obvious answers, but I mostly get my inspiration from news stories, music, narratives, comic book shops, and regular book shops.
If you could peek inside the studio or toolbox of any artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, whose would it be and why?
For me, taking a look inside the toolbox of Alphonse Mucha (when he was alive) would have been fantastic. His work is truly inspiring to me.
What’s on your inspirational playlist at the moment?
I like to make playlists of albums — if you like an artist you’ll want to listen to the entire discography! My top albums on repeat lately are, Chicano Batman by Chicano Batman, In Return by ODESZA, The North Borders by Bonobo, Ego Death by The Internet, Songs To Make Up To by Ta-ku, Soundtrack To A Death by Mura Masa, and Short Stories by Sam Gellaitry.