Artist Jillian Levy is a multi-modal painter, ceramicist, and native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Levy was first introduced to art as a girl tagging along with her mother to a painting class. The youngest in the room by 30+ years, she impressed the women with her skill and attention. Picture an eight-year-old Jillian, oil painting of a soft magnolia held firmly in both hands, beaming with a newfound confidence from creating something she and others found beautiful. Jillian says,

“I knew in that moment I wanted to be an artist.”

Drawing largely on her experiences in nature, Levy’s work aims to accentuate the value of familiar beauties. Growing up in New Orleans, she remembers being equally mesmerized by the scenery in the bayou as by the urban chaos of Mardi Gras:

“I always thought it was fun to go to the parades and catch the most colorful beads and see the floats and unique costumes every year. I also grew up minutes away from a place called Bayou Segnette. My dad would take us fishing over there all the time when i was younger. I loved being on the water and seeing all the different textures the water makes when objects move through it. Or how the colors of  the marsh line, sky, and water would blend together to make a beautiful scenery without any obstructions.”

Jillian continued to create over the years, exploring many different mediums. However, when choosing a degree program, the artist admits she initially felt ambivalent. This feeling did not last long; in her second semester at Baton Rouge Community College, she fell in love with the “hands-on, messy” techniques of ceramics: 

“A lot of the art classes I was taking were fun but I never felt really free like I did in ceramics… . I never wanted to leave the studio. I had never experienced something like that with art before.”

Bartending at local restaurants throughout the program, she went on to finish her degree at LSU, securing her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in ceramics in 2022. While attending college helped the artist find her passion through access to a variety of mentorship, workshops,  and equipment, Jillian insists that all one needs to pursue art is a will and dedication. 

Levy enjoys experimenting with color and texture, layering the two on-and-off for days or months at a time until a piece is finished. Jillian describes her process as traversing the plane between organization and chaos, oftentimes leaving her studio in a state of confusion in the pursuit of creating beauty. In her art, one can always find something new behind the layers.

“If you take time to really focus on the little things, you can find a story. All of my art is inspired by nature or collecting things and giving them a purpose.”

A true modern day renaissance woman, Jillian enjoys spending her time outside of her craft hiking, gardening, practicing yoga, and spending time with her family, friends, and cats Linnie and Leon. Her advice to aspiring artists is to never give up on yourself. 

“I like to think of the human experience as a never ending series of waves. Some waves are catastrophically big and others are so small the water appears still. Going with the flow of the waves is the only way to keep your head above the water.”