Local artist Jackie Rock is a relatively new addition to the St. Augustine art scene, arriving just 2 years ago, but Casa commissioned her as soon as we met her to do some work for us. She is responsible for our welcome sign above the front door, the painted panels of the entertainment center in Isabella’s Room, and for our prized showpiece, the St. Augustine mural in the dining room!
Raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jackie obtained her BFA from Kutztown University. Illustration and expressionist pop surrealism are her strengths as a fine art painter. You can view Jackie’s paintings at Fine Art America. She has recently expanded her art talents to include stage scenic work for the exciting new stage at Flagler Playhouse in Bunnel, Fl.
In 2004, Jackie created Rock Art, Inc., with murals and Faux art commissions becoming her main source of income as a successful full-time artist. Faux finishing has been used for millennia, from cave painting to the tombs of ancient Egypt, but what we generally think of as faux finishing in the decorative arts began with plaster and stucco finishes in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, faux finishing became the design choice over wallpaper and then became an oober popular technique in furniture restoration. Though high-end homes initially led these trends and prices were high, this technique has become so popular that truly talented artists like Jackie bring forth the skill, the emotion, and the impressive product at a price conducive to everyone’s budget!
We asked Jackie to share her thoughts and inspiration when creating our mural.
“When asked to do any mural, the approach I take is always the same. I listen to the client carefully and ask many questions. I then illustrate their words, using my skills to render artistic images by request. Next, I research topics, think, sketch, brainstorm, and lose a little sleep over getting the idea correctly on paper for approval. When a smile of delight appears on the face of my client, the project gets started soon after.
The Casa de Solana mural became a unique challenge, thanks to historic sites in the city previously captured by many talented artists over a long time span. As murals are usually intended for the long duration and mostly kept private in-residency, this approach had to represent my unique style while also pleasing my client's taste. Those requisites, along with this being my second mural to appear at a commercial site in a historic house, brought challenges unique to my 9 years of mural work. The Cedar House mural, my first in St. Augustine, had broached a more comfortable topic: clouds in the sky, a personal favorite of mine that comes easy.
The palette of colors at Solana was inspired by the existing interior of the room. Murals, in my opinion, must flow with their surroundings, drifting off and vanishing behind furniture and architecture. Tackling the mural with one brave gulp and 'go for it' attitude in this dining room meant getting over my fears of making the highly recognized subjects appear either mundane, excessively exotic, or the architecture seem incorrect. Thankfully, as a surrealist fantasy artist I am accustomed to taking liberties to avoid reality when allowed. Unicorns, fairies, angels, witches, goddesses, mermaids, and nymphs represent some of my favorite types of subject. Phantasmagorical elements resonated with the city’s storybook quality in rendering this mural.
It was a pleasant surprise to hear words like ‘dreamlike’, ‘mystical’ and ‘macabre’ used to describe the finished work. Always a mission to have the client thrilled with the end result, this project gave me great delight during its formation. I was so excited to see this particular mural completed because the ancient city in it formed almost in a supernatural way. The limited color palette gave my brush freedom to drop down anywhere, creating weird shapes and mysterious forms. Whether or not I knew if my brush was channeling a haunted and spiritually-charged city, after taking in the entire wall over a few weeks of visits, I never doubted a child pointing out ‘people’ who never intended to be placed. Due to the subjects summoned, that made perfect sense to me.”
Jackie has etched her mark in Solana History and we can’t wait to share it with you. She randomly pops into Casa to say hello, so you just might get to meet her!