Although drawn to a range of mediums, my work has developed into a continuous theme of black and white ink illustration. I enjoy developing clean, modernized interpretations of what I find interesting, some of which may include a hidden narrative. Most of my inspiration stems from cats, nature, mirror reflections, dreams, cult and otherworldly phenomena. My latest collaboration was a curated set of zines, both of which were compiled and illustrated by myself and my good friend Anna Tararova. The first zine, Grimoire, is a spellbook that creates both a humorous and haunting atmosphere. Sex Dreams is essentially a zine of sex dreams, anonymously submitted and illustrated by us.
We recently released a second edition, Sex Dreams 2, which is three times the size of the first. This zine showcases more dreams and illustrations by myself, Anna Tararova, Isabel Francis Bongue and paintings by Brooklyn artist Anna Wagner.
tell us about the art scene in your hometown and how it shaped and supported you as an artist.
I grew up in Olmsted Falls, OH. A quiet, small, suburban town, filled with plenty of historical spots, like the Grand Pacific Junction. The town, as charming as it was, did not provide me with a vibrant art scene. I took to exploring small creeks and wooded areas in my neighborhood to fill that void. Up until middle school, I hadn't had an art teacher who really influenced me. I remember having a great teacher in seventh grade, I called her Miss V, and she allowed me to experiment with various art materials in class and introduced me to Brian Froud.
when did you start drawing? what were your earliest works like, and how do you feel about them now?
The earliest age I can remember taking up drawing was when I was around 4 or 5. I really loved my Magna Doodle, my sister and I would go to town on those for hours. As I came of age, probably around my teens, I was really into watching anime and would draw a ton of it with my friends. I feel like those days allowed me to start developing my own personal style, though naturally I can't define myself by those works anymore. I am constantly developing as an illustrator and it's important for me to not get stuck or plateau in my growth. If I'm already confident in one process, I want to experience another method of doing it. Working with screenprinting and the Risograph has transformed how I view my work. I used to obsess over mistakes, now I work through them.
explain how you dance the line between objects rooted in reality and metaphysical / abstract influences. what is your experience with or perspective on occult-type phenomena?
As far as objects are concerned, I think hands capture that best for me. In my work, sometimes they are displaced, often floating off or through some sort of essence. I try to maintain that dreamlike balance even when I'm drawing tangible objects. I feel like most of my illustrations enter a strange middle ground - up until I finished Sex Dreams 2, I felt they were developing in an unorganized structure. I think back to my childhood a lot, using my hands to interpret ghost stories. Simple gestures would create new characters, the shadows I made on the wall constantly reminded me of ghosts. There were also instances, specifically certain ones such as traveling to towns like Athens, OH and exploring The Ridges Lunatic Asylum; that experience made me feel as though I was being watched the entire time, like I didn't belong there. It was an inexplicable eerie feeling, one that I've only encountered a handful of times. Whether that feeling was legitimate or not, there's still fact that several lobotomies happened there, a patient died on the fourth floor and her body's remains stained the cement.
what particular mystical / spiritual / occult objects or deities intrigue you, if any, and why?
I reflect plenty of Satanic imagery in my work. In my Meowville cat illustrations, I use a few: inverted crosses as a symbol of humility, the moon cycle coinciding with the female menstrual cycle, among others. I find both humor and the feminine to be a prominent force in my work.
you're highly collaborative and have been part of several zines. tell us about the collaboration process, what role you play, and how you as a team create works while based in different cities.
Honestly, it's all been based on communication, and the internet is a wonderful, useful tool. Anna and I both live in Cleveland and usually work separately until we put things together. As for our other contributors, they usually send us their artwork through email or otherwise. When constructing our zines, we usually start by creating a document online for the pages and then look at what works and what doesn't. It's all about making the zine complete before we start printing. For Sex Dreams 2 we used a Risograph printer, and the process itself was really hit or miss...sometimes the paper would get jammed, ink would smudge easily. It was very time-consuming, but worth it in the end.
when you're feeling uninspired or unmotivated, what is your go-to activity?
I'm known to get tired of drawing one thing and move onto another illustration quickly. I will usually work on 2 or 3 illustrations at a time. If I'm blocked artistically, I take space with what inspires me, usually walking around my house checking my plants' health, playing with the house cats, or taking a walk outside if it's a nice day. I'm all about making adjustments if I'm not feeling it anymore, as I think breaks are key. Things can get pretty messy once I reach peak sleepiness.
"Sex Dreams" is a hilarious, awkward collection of, well, sex dreams, that has been featured at several zine fests - NYC and Pittsburgh, to name a couple. tell us how the zine came together, where your submissions come from, and how it's been received, both at fairs and elsewhere.
Anna and I put a Google doc together specifically for anonymous dream submissions and that same document was then shared through various social media platforms. We wanted to collect as many as we could to illustrate for the first zine. Our second zine I believe was received much better, perhaps more carefully curated. I think that could have a lot to do with the bigger size, but it could have been a lot of things.
We were recently asked to send copies to the Barnard College Feminist Zine Library in NYC and both of our Sex Dreams Zines are now showcased at Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in North Carolina. I really enjoy tabling at zine fests because it allows us to engage with our audience. People laugh at certain dreams, we can answer questions; it's been a very positive experience overall.
as a multidisciplinary artist - screenprinting, drawing, and painting - which medium is your favorite and why?
I always start from a sketch, so I would say drawing. Drawing gives me plenty of room to revise and edit my work, although, it certainly helps to have methods like screenprinting at my disposal.
any upcoming projects or collaborations we should know about?
I'm currently working on a zine of my own right now, and I chose vaporwave as the theme. As a 90's kid, this made me nostalgic in the ways that I remember walking around malls, dreamy smooth jazz type music echoing through the hallways. To me, it's really about experience and feeling and I think that's what I love most about it. I'm planning on printing it on the risograph and it should be released by May/June. As for collaborations, Anna and I are taking a swim in our own minds for our next zine collab, but there will be a definitive SD3 in the near future, and submissions for that are accepted anytime.
Jacqueline Beas is an illustrator based in Cleveland, OH. Her artwork commonly features cats, botanicals, cult and otherworldly phenomena. She frequently finds inspiration through collaborations with friends, primarily through printmaking, drawing and painting. She co-manages Meowville, an artist collective selling screenprinted zines and fashions with her business partner and bff Anna Tararova. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art (2012), she maintains a balance of being both a barista and freelance illustrator. Her life would not be complete without her tortoiseshell cat Trimble, who manages her life as we know it.