At age 28, Jess has established herself as an up-and-coming artist to be reckoned with. Throwing in her job to chase her dreams, business for this absolute darlin’ has well and truly paid off. Here we chat creative processes, the daily grind and inspiration.
Tell us a little bit about your epic self-titled business, Jess Lambert
“Last year I took the leap to quit my full-time job and throw myself outside of my comfort zone. It was terrifying at the time, but something I always wanted to do so I figured if I didn’t try I’d always wonder. My business is growing more and more every day. And I have a thousand things I’m working on. It’s been the best decisions I could’ve made for myself. Definitely not the easiest. But I’m very proud of my decisions, what I’ve gone through to get here today, and what I’m working on for the future.
I create artwork on surfboards. These are displayed in homes and business all around the world. I also paint large-scale wall murals. Traveling around Australia sharing my artwork has been incredible too.”
What inspired you to start exploring art on surfboards and more?
“Ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand, I’ve loved drawing and painting. I studied Fine Arts, explored a bunch of different ‘art styles’ and kind of figured out my style by accident. One day, I just had a pen and a blank canvas, none of my paints or colours… But I felt like drawing. So, I used what I had and drew lines and patterns all across the canvas. I loved that style. How simple a black pen could be. But how detailed and intricate the line work was and what I could create with that one pen. I kept working with that style and then in 2014 I bought a surfboard to draw on. It took me over 30 hours to draw that board. It was all done completely freehand, so when I finished I was so proud of it.
That big blank canvas turned into something that represented two things I love. The ocean, and creating art. At the time I didn’t know how important that board was going to be, but that’s where it all started.
I’d do artwork for friends and family. Then people from all around Australia started contacting me. Now I’ve sent boards all across the world, to New York, London, Hong Kong, Denmark, New Zealand, Spain and so many more.”
Describe a highlight for you during your career
“In June this year, I was part of an event held by Curvy Creative. A day for women to come together and share their stories. About business, how they started, what inspires them. I flew to Sydney and spoke on a panel with some other amazing women. The whole day was so empowering… Not only the experience of speaking in front of a large audience and sharing my journey… But also being in the presence of so many inspiring, strong women.”
What do you find most challenging about running your own business and the most fun?
“The most challenging is definitely trying to keep that balance between work and ‘time out’. Like a lot of small business owners, I don’t have anyone helping me. My artwork is very time-consuming, (each board can take anywhere from 25 to 40 hours to complete). But also all the other things that come with running a business. Everything you don’t see behind the scenes. Keeping on top of emails, accounting, invoicing, creating and sharing content. All of these things take time!
I see that quote ‘do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ But its kind of the opposite. When you do something you love and turn it into a business… sure you love it, of course. But you’re non-stop, working all the time. And when you’re not physically working, you’re still thinking about work. Its hard for me to switch off sometimes, but its so important too. That’s why I also have a real love for my health and fitness because that’s my ‘time out’. I can put my headphones on, listen to some music or a podcast, and not think about my long list of things that need to get done. Self-care both physically and mentally is so important.” 5. What do you find the most fun about running a business?
“I love the people I meet along the way. All the stories I hear about people’s lives, what they love, what they’re passionate about, where they’re from and where they’ve been. All of my artwork has a story behind it, and I love that I can use my art to tell these stories for people. The look on someone’s face when they see their board or wall mural for the first time. Or receiving emails from people about what I do and how its inspired them, I really, really love that feeling.”
Any advice for aspiring artists?
“Where do I even start? I could write a whole book! But I think my number one advice is to be patient. No part of what I’ve created so far has come easily or quickly. I started drawing because I love being able to express myself creatively and share it with the world. I didn’t start doing it for recognition, or for money, or anything like that. I think if your intentions are pure, and you genuinely love and believe in what you’re creating and sharing, that shines through your work. And then that’s how you gain the support from really beautiful people. Because they appreciate the passion and patience that’s gone into the whole process.”
Who has been an influential person throughout your business journey?
“I can’t narrow it down to just one, I have so many amazing people in my life that have helped me over the years. People that are working towards their own particular goals. I have friends in the corporate field who are killing it. Friends that are traveling around the world making that their living. Friends that are in the health and fitness industry. So just being around the types of people who are so passionate about what they do, that rubs off on you.”
What should we keep an eye out for?
“I’m working on something so exciting at the moment. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and now it’s in the early stages of coming to life. It’s really surreal. I can’t say too much but it’s something of ‘my own’ that I’ll be releasing soon. Made here locally, which is another thing I’m really passionate about. Bringing together skills and resources that are here in Australia. And then sharing it with the rest of the world.”
What’s your biggest tip for growing an engaged social media following?
“Be true to who you are. Share what you genuinely love and are supportive of, and stay on your right path. It feels like I have one big family spread all around the world cheering me on and that’s a really amazing feeling. I really value everyone that follows my journey on the good days and on the bad. All the kind comments from people I’ve known for years, or people across the world that I’ve never even met. It’s crazy to think we have this platform now where we can share what we do with the world.”