We had the good fortune of connecting with Tressa Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tressa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I am at the beginning stages of starting a business so I can speak in the present tense and say that my thought process is not linear but I know have a nagging desire to create art and to support others in their creative explorations. I have invested many years in studying fine art and instructing for a variety of institutions and I feel confident about transferring these skills into a business of my own creation.
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.
My professional journey as a creative is always evolving. It has not been easy and although I knew I loved creating art I invested a lot of time in studying and working in other fields; public health, agriculture, and education until I gave myself permission to pursue my creative studies full-time at the age of 30. Since then I have earned my MFA and taught at multiple universities and exhibited widely. None of this was easy but the victories along the way make the hard days worth it! I also see that all the life experiences I have had fuel my creative work and have equipped me to navigate the world. My secret weapons for growing creatively are habits and schedules. By making my creative process a habit and giving myself work schedules I maintain a creative mindset and manage time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I don’t live in Arizona but I would love to visit! I currently live in Pittsburgh, PA, a small industrial city in Western Pennsylvania. When my best friend comes to visit I will show off my home and beautiful garden. My partner and I recently renovated a 1900 row house here in Pittsburgh and have a large vegetable garden where we grow a lot of our food plays many flowers! I live in a very walkable neighborhood called Lawrenceville that is full of cafes and restaurants and hilly streets. We are known for our city stairs here in Pittsburgh so I would give any visitors a tour of the urban staircases many of which have impressive views of the city and its three rivers.
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?
I feel fortunate to have been supported and nurtured by many souls, places, and books along my path. Two artists that I feel super grateful for and defiantly need a shoutout from me are Melanie Yazzie and Todd Christenson. Todd was one of my first printmaking professors in Las Vegas, NM and his gentle encouragement was exactly what I needed as a non-traditional art student at NM Highlands University. Melanie welcomed me into the printmaking community with open arms. Even though I was a new artist she invited me to join projects she was organizing, sent me calls to exhibit work and always answered my stressed-out text messages.
image Credit: Anna Lemnitzer