Graphic and Textile Designer Jessica McCoy was born and raised right outside Tokyo, Japan until she was 7 years old. Now the 24 year old calls sunny California home where she enjoys Orange County’s beautiful beaches and surf. “It seems like the amount of choices you have for waves are endless. That being said, I have my eyes set on Hawaii for the future, maybe Bali or Costa Rica or the Galapagos too.” Jessica says.
When did you start making art and pursue Graphic and Textile design?
I started making art since my first art class at 2 years old (we start school young in Japan!). I’ve always been an artsy-crafty person, but kept it as a hobby and didn’t really pursue it until much later. I wanted to study graphic design in college, but got a lot of “advice” saying I should do something more practical unless I wanted to become a starving artist. I caved from the outside pressure and ended up studying Kinesiology. It combined science and sports, which I both love, and it sounded fancy enough to deter any “practical majors” advice. I went from Athletic Training to Pre-Physical Therapy and even became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Long story short, physical therapy did not work out as I had hoped, and I didn’t know what to do with my degree or where to go next. I then pursued civil engineering for a lot of strange reasons including my affinity for math and physics, and got myself a somewhat well paying job with my own cubicle as a civli design drafter. I then realized that having those things didn’t make me happy nor was it fulfilling.
I decided to take a graphic design class and a sewing class, and things just seemed to click. Not in the way things clicked in my physics class (I love circuits!), but in a way that made me feel at ease, like I was doing something that made my soul happy, as cheesy as that sounds. It gave me a huge motivation boost, and I was fortunate enough to have an internship at Billabong and PacSun, where I dove deep into graphics and textiles and realized I could do this all day, every day.
What inspires you? Or where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, it just depends on my mindset. Sometimes, looking at big open spaces or the colors of sunsets inspire me, and other times, the smallest details like a series of cracks in the sidewalk inspire me to create a textural print. I find that I’m more inspired by daytime than nighttime, because the colors that the environment goes through from dawn to dusk is absolutely amazing. My dog inspires me everyday by being a goofball, but she also sniffs out some pretty interesting things to show me too. In terms of role models, I am inspired by people whom have ditched the status quo and apologetically followed their dreams. I have a lot of respect for those who consistently work toward their own goals regardless of all sorts of negative energy, confusion, or doubts they come across.
Do you have a specific process while making your designs?
My favorite way of making prints is by hand painting shapes and motifs with watercolor, then manipulating it in Photoshop. However, I also like to create smooth, crisp lines in illustrator and make textiles there too. For graphics, I love using sharpie or micron pens. I like adding texture to my artwork, and the bold lines really make it pop.
What is your favorite design, graphic or craft you’ve created?
My favorite pieces are usually my newer ones which I can’t show yet, but I like my paisley prints a lot. It’s pretty neat to see the progress over the years on my own artwork, and sometimes the pieces I use to hate become one of my favorites.
What is your favorite part of art design?
My favorite part of art design is when I’m almost done with a design piece. I love seeing everything come together! I’ll paint or draw a lot more shapes than I need, so it’s a cool experience to see which ones I keep or drop, how these shapes fit together, and how it can make a great repeated design. I guess I enjoy analyzing things. I love playing around with colors, textures, and figuring out the puzzle of putting it in repeat the most.
How would you describe your style?
As of now, I do a lot of gypsy/bohemian prints, some florals, and some tropicals too. It’s very “painterly” and loose, but I’m also getting into lots of hard, geometric pieces with photographs instead of solid colors. I want to be able to do it all! I think there is a nature aspect in most of my art pieces as well, since it’s where I get most of my ideas.
Any big projects coming up or in the future?
I have some international clients that I am currently working with (mostly swimwear), but I would love to design sportswear as well. I finished up a fashion illustration course, and I’m now taking a digital version of that class where I’ll create and merchandise my own line. I’m really stoked on that!
Besides art, what are your interest? What do you do for fun?
I love to surf! I can’t get enough. Besides surfing, I take my dog on hikes all over OC, learn how to cook new foods, and engage in some sort of art. Usually it’s painting, other times it’s crocheting bikinis, creating collages, tie-dying, or arranging fake flowers. Weird, but enjoyable.
How do you stay active? Favorite outdoor activities?
Surfing! Also, I do a circuit training regimen 3 times a week (Kayla Itsines anyone?), and take my dog on a hike or power walk 2-3 times a week, and finish each workout or hike with light yoga as a nice cool down and stretch. I like to stay outdoors as much as I can, bringing my laptop and art supplies outside if the weather is nice. I used to play lacrosse, softball and volleyball so I’m always down for a game of pepper or a round at the batting cages. I also really enjoy pool floaties. The inner tube is the most underrated invention out there. So comfortable!
Follow Jessica on Instagram @jessicamiyuki