Secret Garden

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Jacki Jacobs from Jacki Jacobs Photography about her unique project “Secret Garden”, we’ve had several occasions where we worked together and I must say Jacki is one hell of a photographer, she knows what she wants and how she wants it. Her sense of humor has a lot to do with how beautiful her work is, she really knows how to bring a smile in you “no matter what you’re thinking”.

The reason I took the time to interview Jacki and in a few you will read why I love this women and her ideas, is because I have such interest in following her art I am sure once you’ve read this article you will be following her as well.

When did you come up with this amazing idea of transforming people into flowers? 
I first came up with the idea…well it wasn’t really an idea so much as the birth of my fantasy into a tangible medium.
I have a pretty big fantasy world going on inside my head. Sometimes its hard to remember what stuff is real. lol.
What inspired you to create this project?
Things that inspired me or rather helped in the creation of this really vivid fantasy life I live, the art of Brian and Wendy Froud heavily influenced it, especially when they worked with Jim Henson on the movies The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth.
In my youth I had a pretty rough childhood, so I escaped to my room a lot, pair that with the regular migraines I kept the room dark and my eyes closed, but as you can imagine that gets pretty boring. So one day I just tried seeing what was out there in the darkness, and well the rest is slowly entering the real world through my art.
The first creature I encountered there was a purple octopus named Oscar who protected me while I slept and took care of me when I was sick.
What do you wish to accomplish in the near future with your “Secret Garden Art”?
My future wish is to continue to bring these creatures a little more into the world and show people who the phrase “living in a fantasy world” (something I was very often accused of many times in life) is to be taken more as a compliment than a curse. These creations, have taught me quite a bit about the nature of people. For example Oscar was the embodiment of what parents are to children, protection and nurturing. It is what I base my ideals of parenting on. I am not a parent myself but I someday hope to be. There are no monsters under the bed. There is only what you chose to believe living under there. I chose to believe in hope and protection, the complete opposite of what we are led to believe lurks in the shadows. Life is what we believe it is, what we manifest it to be. As far as being an artist, it wasn’t necessarily my intent but if that is how people see me then it is a badge of honor I will wear.

I heard you already have an amazing event coming up to make your first “Secret Garden” appearance, when and where will this take place? You must share, we all need to know and give you full support.
I have few events already on the horizon. Starting in September my work will be on display in Shear Xtreme in Northampton and for sale both online and at Heartfelt Fine Gifts in Springfield MA. And at the Brueggers Gallery in Northampton starting in November.
I hope to start each of these events with a celebration to thank those who have helped and encouraged me along the way as well as those who can help me spread the message that my project carries.
And that message is, when life gives you weeds: grow your own secret garden. in other words. life is what you make it.
Hey, but this doesn’t end here lol, as I was wondering and researching I also saw you have a fundraising tool to help you with expenses would you mind sharing a link of where we can read more and go to help you raise and reach your goal?
I started a Indiegogo Campaign to help me raise the money for prints. I have put up approximately $700 towards prints and events.
I have bought a few 11 by 14 gallery wraps but I need about 7-14 20 by 24s for the Bruegger’s Gallery and that is quite a bit pricier.
People can contribute by going to my Indiegogo page. We are offering some really great perks for people’s contributions, including signed postcards and first prints of some of the works.
How do you find it when it comes to transforming one person into an instrument of Garden?
When I start a piece I usually start by taking pictures, pictures of flowers and trees and moss and garden walls. Then I take pictures of people or pictures I have previously taken of people. I try to match the curves and the lighting, from there I let the story tell itself. If I  try to force it or I try to match a face with a flower that doesn’t feel natural then the work feels forced and in-genuine. The story isn’t there. This is why I don’t do custom work in the traditional sense. But rather take photos of a person who volunteers to be a part of the project and see where those take me. What comes out might not be exactly what the volunteer is looking for but the work is more honest and chock full o’ story.
Now I personally know Jacki and she loves and feels passion for her work, so maybe this question can be hard but not limited, Jacki share at least three images you consider can be some of your favorite.

My three favorites at the moment, that IS a tough one. My newest image that I’m in love with is titled “Passion” I think the inspiration for it is all in the eyes. They really pop in the photo. Plus the edges of the flowers fade off in such a way that its really ethereal and romantic. Its hard to say what I don’t love about it. lol
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The second one would be “Daydream”. I just love the story that emerged from this photo. A constant reminder for me to keep looking up and reaching further.
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And my 3rd choice would have to be “Where my Love Grows” because that’s just it really I feel like this whole project is where my love grows. I have never been more fulfilled than after I create a piece that I love. It feels like falling in love, and I get to do it everyday. It is amazing and humbling and beautiful and makes me feel content.
Once you’ve accomplished your gallery and who knows where your art will be next, what is next for Jacki Jacobs?
Well, I’m sure I will find a new piece of my fantasy world to show people, the hardest part is accurately conveying it to print. For example, mermaids live there, but I haven’t found a non cheesy way to replicate them. But I might go next into some of my fairy tales, or another project I’d like to do is “the spirit of” which could be another article entirely.
If you love the work and want to take a little bit of it home we do have some products available for purchase: http://www.zazzle.com/secretgardenart such as buttons and mugs and a small selection of tote bags, which were chosen by the fans of the art, through daily interaction on my facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/secretgardenart where a new piece is posted daily.

 

Jacki is amazing and I believe in her, I think we should all gather our trust and help another small business. Let’s help Secret Garden come to life!!

Written & Interviewed by Jessica Ares