Artisan Collaboration: Jessica O'Neill
At Fig & Dove, we collaborate with artisans nationwide to offer our customers one-of-a-kind decorative art pieces. This holiday season, our collection includes a collaboration with Louisiana artist Jessica O’Neill.
Jessica O'Neill is an artist raised on the rivers of Louisiana now calling the Lowcountry home. She is a wife, mother and art and design advocate. Her art is inspired by a wide range of experiences. While these designs are engaged in contemporary conversations, they are also tied into O'Neill's belief that home is a sacred space for family, community and celebration.
The Fig & Dove x Jessica O’Neill painted Acrylic Christmas Trees are a beautiful addition to tabletop holiday décor and make a wonderful gift during the Christmas season. Available in both 16” and 22” heights, the trees consist of two 3/16” acrylic pieces, each printed with O’Neill’s artwork, that slide together to create a 360-degree art display.
O’Neill’s art features abstract doves, a worldwide symbol of peace and hope, and the inspiration behind the Fig & Dove brand. From one angle of the painted Acrylic Christmas Tree, two of the abstract doves are positioned to face each other, creating a pair of turtle doves, a symbol of the Christmas season! The art on the smaller painted tree differs slightly from the large one, allowing the two trees to stand individually or as a coordinating pair.
When did you start painting?
Painting is a new chapter since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease seven years ago, during pregnancy with my first daughter. I had built a successful marketing and public relations career, but by the end of my maternity leave, my autoimmune disease still wasn’t under control. In fact, it was so out of control that I couldn’t go back to work. The demands of a full-throttle, fast-paced job and an infant at home weren’t going to jive with my disease, but it was hard to let go of my career. I just didn’t feel like the woman I had been before. Around that same time, my friend, a wonderfully talented interior designer, was sourcing artwork for a project and coming up short. I told her, “Bring me a canvas, and I’ll paint you something.” She didn’t even know I could paint! I started with a pineapple at her request, then palm fronds next. It became a therapeutic way to fill time when I sat there thinking, “The baby is asleep, there’s no more laundry left to fold, I’ve got two hours until my next dose of medicine.” My artwork became prolific, and I’d thank friends who pitched in while I was in and out of the hospital by telling them to grab a painting of their choice from the pantry. There were piles of them! Eventually, another friend started selling my pieces at her shop. It was all a natural progression but simultaneously very surreal. Picking up my paintbrushes helped me work through my diagnosis and learn how to be creative in a way that was gentler for my mind and body. That still rings true today: My art allows me to be fulfilled and inspired, but when my disease decides to rear its ugly head, I can press pause. I had always enjoyed painting, but now, it’s who I’m meant to be.
How does being from Louisiana influence your art?
Spontaneity is such a big piece of the puzzle. I’ll have an idea of the overall composition, but for me, painting is all about capturing movement in real time. Louisiana is similar in this aspect. Big, bold flavors match sleepy, Spanish moss-draped oaks. A calm morning mist hovering above a steady lake follows a night of revelry. I’m often struck by the fact that my favorite pieces seem to literally flow from my body, a pushing and pulling of colors and shapes. It’s all right there on the canvas: You’ll see my brush strokes and layers; the grand, daring gestures; and the soft and quiet ones, too. Louisiana is the same; a combination of dichotomies that create an intriguing whole.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
When it comes to the holidays, my mantra is more is more! I’m obsessed with interior design. Tones, textures, and the way people weave those into their lives offer a wellspring of creative expression. Decorating is when I create magic for my daughters – I’ll affix silver bells and eight-feet long crushed velvet ribbons cascading from lush piles of greenery and tinkling will be heard as my girls brush by them running down our stairs. Bunches of dried hydrangeas adorn garlands and trees offset with white twinkle lights. Paper crowns paired with party poppers are piled upon our fine china. Cinnamon sticks plopped in cocoa and holiday music will be cooing through the house. Home is where I feel comforted and contented. The tinsel-gilded atmosphere creates a loving space for merry-making and lasting memories.