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InLiquid Artist Profile: Jodi Cachia

Jodi Cachia

A work by Jodi Cachia

Editor's note: This interview with Jodi Cachia is presented as part of a content partnership with InLiquid.

Where do you live?

I live in Pennsport, which always feels funny for me to say because when I bought my house my neighbor said to me, "Pennsport? You in South Philly, girl!" So for a long time I called it East South Philly cause I didn't want to sound pretentious. Since then, South Philly has become a lot more popular so the Pennsport label seems more relevant. 

I also have a studio in the Italian Market. I'm happy to have a place close by that I can run off to when I need to be messy or just want a change of environment.

What is your discipline?

This question is a doozy for me. I always considered myself a painter until I realized that I don't paint much these days! My love of painting is still strong, but for the last couple years I've been concentrating on drawing. Truth is I've always had a hard time sticking to one discipline because I want to do everything, all the time. I joke that I have Art ADD. I've thought, I should just stick to one thing for a year, then go onto the next. Not a bad plan on paper, but I guess it's just too organized for me. I prefer to work in a certain media because I want to, not because that's what's on the schedule. 

Realistically, I think everything I do is based somewhat on drawing. Printmaking certainly is, paintings often originate as sketches, and sculpting became much more comfortable for me once I started to think of it as drawing in three dimensions. I usually find it easiest to say I'm a mixed-media artist, currently concentrating on pen-and-ink illustration. 

What training have you had?

After high school, I went to the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Looking back, that probably wasn't the best idea, but I was a punk-ass kid who just wanted a skill that could get me a job. Being a graphic designer was really the only profession I knew an artist could enter. I was raised to believe art was a hobby not a career, but at that age I wasn't interested in school anyway. Luckily, working in design and marketing gave me skills and experience that continue to benefit me as an artist. 

When I got the urge to branch out beyond design work, I began taking classes at Fleisher Art Memorial. It really fueled my desire to dive into different disciplines. They offer a variety of classes at a reasonable cost, and I took advantage of that. 

But when I think about arts education, I can't help but think back to my high school Art Major class. While most art classes at this level were taken by kids looking to goof off for an hour during the day, my teacher Claude Falcone expected his students to deliver. The assignments were challenging and he constantly pushed us beyond our comfort zones. I value very much being taught the lesson that if a project intimidates you, the answer is to tackle it full force. 

What are you currently working on?

Lately I've been doing mostly pen and ink work on collaged paper backgrounds. It's essentially mixed media illustration. I've been kept busy with commissions this year, but I'm also looking forward to bringing into being images that have been living in my mind for a while.
Describe your methods for us.

While doing some printmaking, I became more interested in paper and creating a background for images to live on. This interest led me to start dyeing printing paper. I experimented with putting the wet paper onto different surfaces to see what kind of chemical reactions I could discover. My current process is to do this, then collage the paper onto canvas, creating an atmosphere for an ink drawing to emerge from. 

Crows and cherry blossoms are common themes in my illustrations, as well as the female form. I complete each piece with several layers of acrylic. This gives the work a feel that is similar to encaustic, and adds depth while unifying the paper with the ink. 
What have you been up to recently?

At the moment I'm actually on tour performing. I work for a band that incorporates a large theater set and acting into the show. My role as actress is to interpret the lyrics into a performance that describes the storylines of the songs. 

For this tour I was also involved with creating some of the props and elements of the set. Beyond that I don't get much time for visual work while on the road, but I do a lot of planning of what will come next. It's a great time to reflect on what I've completed and how I want to move forward. When I get home, I'll be picking up where I left off -- working on pen and ink illustrations that I have been waiting to find the time to start.

What's next for you?

I've been wanting to work with clothing for a while now, so my intention for the New Year is to put that into effect. I'm working on a three part plan. 1. Keep expanding in the work I am currently doing. 2. Upcycle used clothing by embellishing items with sewn elements as well as screenprints of my drawings. 3. Start selling prints of my work so the images are accessible to people at a lower price point. 

My hope with this plan is that it will give my work an opportunity to reach new audiences, as well as allow me to have fun with new techniques while sticking with the aesthetic I've been developing.
What inspires you?

Music. My surroundings. Travel. Architecture. Foreign culture. Trees. Artwork done by others. Mood. Maybe mood more than anything. I want to convey a feeling to others the way a song or an old building gives one to me.
Why do you make art?

At this point in my life I can't imagine not making art. I've said before that an artist doesn't really have a choice -- it's not something you do, but rather something that's inside you. There were years in my twenties when I wasn't creating. I didn't know what was missing from my life but I felt incomplete. At one point I even thought it might be religion. Now I am certain it was art.
What do you hope people will get out of your work?

Anything. It would be hard for me to define what I put into my work, even harder to guess what people might get out of it. I'm happy if a viewer has a reaction -- if they are affected in some way. Ideally, I'd love it if that reaction was positive. I'm always excited when someone tells me they connect with my work or are inspired by it. Those are reactions that I appreciate having when I view work by other artists, so when mine does that for someone else, it makes me happy. 

INLIQUID is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for visual artists and designers, serving as a free public hub for arts information and resources and making the visual arts more accessible to a broader audience through a continuing series of community-based art exhibitions and programs. 
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