Monday, January 26, 2009


I couldn't resist this, "Aretha's Hat". How apropos after her unforgettable headgear at the Inauguration last week?

Jamie and her cat in "Cat Hugs"

Recently, a visitor with the blogger identity "HamstrJam" kept visiting me and leaving comments, so I was intrigued and followed the link to her blog. I couldn't help but notice these charmingly simple cats she sketches. However, they really aren't as simple as they seem - they are drawn with a true wit and brilliant sense of humor in a style that is somewhat reminiscient of illustrations in "The New Yorker". I found myself quite frequently laughing out loud here in my workspace (good thing no one was around - they would've thought I'd really lost my mind for good...) I left a few comments on Small Expectations (a terrific name for a blog) and then wrote the author/artist Jamie Shelman and asked if I could feature her work here on Annechovie. She has obliged me most graciously and also favored me with some answers to a few of my nosy questions.

Where were you born?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and currently live on Martha's Vineyard.

What is your artistic background /schooling ?
I received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 yet also attended Bucknell University, University of Arizona, Sydney College of the Arts and RISD's summer abroad program in Rome.

What are your earliest memories of being involved making art or wanting to be an artist?
My earliest memory of making art or wanting to be an artist is from second grade when my drawing of flowers won a competition to be put on display at the mall! Also, when I was at Bucknell, I had an inspiring art professor and was first exposed to paintings at the Met and I was completely blown away, I could relate so well to all the abstract expressionists.


Candy Cane

What inspired you most as your subject matter? Does living near/on the Coast influence your work a lot?

Travel, landscapes, patterns, quilts all inspire my abstract paintings and my cats are inspired by all the cats I have known and loved!. They have become a voice for my own thoughts, feelings, and personal reflections.


My family is from Arizona and my husband is from Baltimore Maryland- he's also a RISD grad and artist of beautiful fashion inspired portraits!

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist?

Good coffee (cafe au laits and croissants in the morning!), the New York Times, good reads, good food, long walks, bike riding, freedom!

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Switzerland is looking pretty nice, altough I do love Martha's Vineyard and NYC!

What are the most challenging things for you about being an artist?

Income that allows me the freedom to continue to create!

Thank you Jamie, for taking the time to share more about yourself and your art. I encourage you to visit Jamie's charming blog Small Expectations - it's sure to cheer you and bring a smile to your face! She also runs an Etsy Shop - Jamie's Cats.


Leciawp said...

I love those cats! And I have been coveting Aretha's hat since the inauguration!

Debra said...

I'll have to go visit her site- these are great! I agree- they look like The New Yorker.
I love the cat with the candy cane-what a purrr-fect Christmas card for cat lovers!!!

Karena said...

How cute and interesting! I love seeing every artist's unique style and taste, and what inpires them to create. When I was about five, My great aunt Rosie took me to the Katz drugstore here in Kansas City,(now gone) and said I could pick out anything I wanted in the entire store. I chose a box of 48 Crayola Crayons. Believe me, I was in heaven!

pve design said...

I just sent Jamie a small work by me as she was the winner of a recent giveaway and I too have laughed out loud when I open my e-mail and find one of those clever cats. I must admit they give me "nine lives" -:)
great interview.

hmstrjam said...

Hi Anne- looks great!! :)

Sabina said...

Very nice interview - those cats sure do have a lot of personality!!


Maggie May said...

aw those cats are charmers!

Joyce said...

Great interview! I love her cats. They are a hoot! My fav is the one with the Aretha hat. Thanks.

Debra said...

Anne~ Those are cool cats! Especially the one holding the candy cane- just purrrfect as a Christmas card for cat lovers. Sorry, couldn't resist!

SimplyGrove said...

How fun!

Unknown said...

Hi Anne,

I love this interview! Those kitties are very funny!

Happy Birthday to your grandfather...


hmstrjam said...

HI Anne- I recently saw this post on eddie ross's blog thought you might like

chairs and antique plate prints, thought of you...

although bummed it's not handmade!



taste memory said...

i love these illustrations + the humour! too much fun + what an insightful interview with the artist as well....

Mary-Laure said...

These are so great, I don't know where to start. I especially love the cat in the cape, and the color bars.

Hmmm, as far as I'm concerned, I liked Aretha Franklin's hat... Am I alone???

Tara said...

The Aretha Hat is fantastic--need I say more??

hello gorgeous said...

I loved these, btw. Thanks for sharing. I have a new blog to love.

Topsy Turvy said...

Love those kitties! My fav is the Opera Kitty, with black cape and mask.