Sacramento Art History Consortium’s Featured Artist: Jill Allyn Stafford

by Bree Garcia

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JS:  I am a collage and mixed media artist based out of Sacramento, California.  I am self-taught and have shown my work in group shows in The Sacramento Temporary Contemporary Gallery, Gallery 21Ten, The Tim Collom Gallery, Barton Gallery, Side Show Studios, BodyTribe, Vox Sacramento, and in gallery shows in New York and Manchester, UK.  I’ve also had work shown in Beatnik Gallery as well as MAIYA Gallery.  I regularly donate art for local benefits, including Big Names, Small Art; Hearts for the Arts; the 6×6 Invitational, and The Sacramento Valley Affiliates of Susan G. Komen’s “Artists for the Cure.”

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SAHC: Can you give us a brief description of your creative process? What is your preferred medium and style? 

JAS:  I never really progressed with my drawing and painting skills past a 6th grade level, so collage is definitely my preferred medium.  It’s hard for me to characterize my style, since I feel like I am constantly evolving and changing it up.  I’d say my work tends more towards the “feminine” (flowers, hearts, birds, butterflies), but with a definitely love of line and flow, with somewhat of an urban edge, although, I love creating abstract landscapes. My creative process starts with collecting paper – magazine, book, old prints, calendars, etc., and sorting it roughly by color or subject (flowers, buildings, etc.). I will place some of them around on my table and simply challenge myself to make something based on what’s before me. It’s really fun, and feels kind of like working on a puzzle or a math problem. And when it all comes together? Awesome. I use acrylic matte medium for my glue, and prefer to place my work on either watercolor paper or wood panels.

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SAHC: As a Sacramento artist what responsibilities do you believe that you have to the local and the global community? 

JAS: I strongly believe that I’m responsible for helping other people whether it’s through donating my artwork to local charities or groups for fundraising purposes, or simply by lending my support to other artists by showing up at their events, or talking them up to other artists, collectors, and gallery owners.

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 SAHC: What advice do you have for emerging artists, or those pursuing a career in the arts?  

JAS:  For me, there’s been nothing more helpful and beneficial (in so many ways), than volunteering with non-profit arts organizations. I came into the local arts scene very early on in my art career, and became involved with Vox Sacramento almost immediately. I started volunteering with Vox, throwing art shows, then later booking and organizing art events, and organizing fund raisers, and got to know a large number of local artists almost immediately. It threw me into and made me part of a well-rounded, creative community which is completely necessary as an artist.

For more practical advice, I’m going to say this – when showing your work, it’s key to remember these things, no matter the venue:  1) Communicate, communicate, communicate.  If you have to pull out a show for some reason, let the people who want to show your art know as soon as possible. Seriously. There’s nothing worse than an artist who doesn’t show up when it’s time to hang their work, and you’ll develop a reputation as a flake. People won’t want to work with you again if you leave them hanging. 2)  Make sure your art is ready to hang. This means find out how your work will be installed and make sure your stuff meets the venue’s needs (whether it’s a wire backing, hooks, whatever).  3)  If you’re showing your work on a canvas or a wood panel – make sure the sides are either completely clean OR wrap your art around the sides. Most people aren’t going to frame your canvases/panels when they buy them, so make sure it looks good from all angles! 4) If you’re framing your work for a show, make sure your frames match or at least are all the same color. It may be more pricey, but your work is just going to look better overall if you’re consistent.

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SAHC: Who are some of your favorite Sacramento Artists, and why?
JAS:
Jared Konopitski – Jared is just the coolest. Everyone knows him, he shows everywhere, and his monsters and his pieces are CRAZY (and wickedly under-priced).
Robert Ray – have you ever seen his work? Very, very small collages. Man, they’re the best!
Maureen Hood – I’ve never seen anyone do what she does with collages. Her work is breath-taking, and she’s one of the few artists I’ve met who I’ve been completely tongue-tied around.
Raphael Delgado – Raphael threw me for a loop recently with his new show “Film.”  His usual work is really beautiful, great abstracts, but I love that he really reached outside his comfort zone and did something different than his norm. It takes a lot of guts to try something new.
Dawn Blanchfield – Dawn can do everything, literally everything. I met her thinking she was a photographer (an award winning one at that), and then I saw her paintings. Holy cow. This woman learns new skills and techniques all the time. I never know what she’ll be doing next.

Maren Conrad – I won one of Maren’s pieces at an art auction benefiting the Center for Contemporary Art.  I spent way more money than I have ever spent on art before (thanks in part to the mad skills of the auctioneer David Sobon). Her work is beautiful, feminine, and strong, and I like her personal style – it really speaks to me.

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 SAHC: Besides the Sacramento Art History Consortium, where are some of your favorite Art/ Art History resources found?

JAS: I’d say definitely The Arts and Business Council of Sacramento, as well as local press like Sacramento.365.com, Downtown Grid, and Facebook.

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 SAHC: Is there anything else about the arts here in Sacramento that you would like share with our reader? 

JAS: Sacramento has an amazingly vibrant and supportive creative community, and I think we have yet to really capitalize on that in any real, meaningful way.  So many wonderful galleries locally, and so many talented artists.  I love living in this city, and am continually amazed by the talent we have right here.

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SAHC: Where can your work be viewed, or found online?

JAS:  I’m transitioning to a new website, so for now you can find me at www.facebook.com/jillallynstafford.

If you are interested in being one of SAHC’s featured artists, email us at: info@sacramentoarthistory.org

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