Self-taught art entrepreneur Jessie Rose Foote won the Creative Northland Excellence in Creative Industries Award at the Westpac Northland Business Excellence Awards on October 27.
The award’s title fits Jessie’s brand perfectly – a marriage of artwork and business savvy.
Awards judges described the Kamo artist as “inspiring our children to open their eyes to develop their creative thinking and confidence to be themselves, to be individuals and through art to start seeing the world through different perspectives” – substantial recognition considering her studio art classes only opened in mid-2017.
Jessie almost didn’t enter the awards at all due to being busy with work commitments.
“Funnily enough, 48 hours before the nominations were due to close, I said to my admin lady/PA ‘Hey could you have a look at when the awards are coming up, I should probably enter!’ So I couldn’t have cut it any finer. It was a very involved [process]…. And mine was probably rather complicated because I have so much going on with the art classes, painting caskets and retail – it was probably very confusing for them!”
That staff member behind the scenes is Angie Edwardson, who Jessie describes as invaluable.
The Jessie Rose business is unique in that retail takes place alongside a service painting funeral caskets as well as teaching future professional artists how to create art both for sale and for donation. Giving back to the community was demonstrated most recently when $7000 was raised for KidsCan thanks to the TradeMe auction of two 2.4m glitter and acrylic paintings – both signed by the singer Pink.
“That opens the kids’ eyes to see potentially what their art can do. It’s about helping them see outside themselves.”
The spirit of Jessie Rose art is to get people to open up and express themselves, rather than copying a teacher. It’s thanks to this flavour that Jessie currently has over 80 students and a wait list for her Inspire classes.
“I’m not [classically] trained – I’m passing on my own knowledge that I’ve gathered in 10 or so years as an artist. I’m teaching children and adults to express themselves in art. It’s not a rigid course. Many students I enrol are still with me, five terms later. It almost is like we create a family within Inspire.”
Jessie’s journey includes a previously unsuccessful attempt at gaining the creative award. “I entered four years ago and didn’t place. However this year I thought I was finally ready to give it a proper hit. It was a good feeling to come away with at the award – it was recognition that what I’m doing is working and I’m on the right track.”
“I took the time to be self-employed a year and a half ago. I took the plunge up in Kamo. I started with 25 students in a tiny room now I’ve got close to 85 in a bigger space. It’s been phenomenal.”
Jessie thanks Creative Northland for backing her along her journey. “They’re fantastic and I have so appreciated their support along the way. what they do in Northland is awesome, I’m right behind them getting behind businesses like mine.”