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Strokes of Genius
Amelia Pavlik | Photo: Austin Holt | March 28, 2013
A local illustrator draws inspiration from travel and fashion.
Fascinated by far-flung locales since way back, little Jessica Durrant loved spinning a globe—she’d stop it with her small finger midspin, chart its landing and dream of the day she would visit the magical surroundings of Mozambique and other exotic places.
Flash-forward a few decades and the 31-year-old Atlantan (by way of Las Vegas), now an illustrator, is turning her dreams into reality. Successful in peppering her passport with stamps from Australia to Italy, she’s channeling her love of travel into a full-time gig on Etsy. Here, her jet-setting ways take shape in vivid watercolors—world maps! sophisticated city skylines!—that have caught on with girls eager to trade concert posters for grown-up wall decor. Oh yeah, and major mags like ELLE Brazil and Country Living are on to her, too.
And, then, there’s Durrant’s other major source of inspiration: fashion. (What, you didn’t think she traveled with just one carry-on, did you?) Also filling her Etsy site are femme inkings of the girly clothes and shoes—with snappy titles like “Little Strappy Heels” and “Me, Dior and Paris”—the sort of creations that any fashionista would be proud to have dress up her walls. “I always knew that, to be successful, I needed to illustrate things that I’m passionate about,” she says. “Although fashion is more of a personal interest for me than a profession—whether it’s a couture gown or an edgy vintage piece—to me, [it] will always be an art form.”
When she’s not rendering something fabulous, Durrant stays busy teaching aspiring artists at The Art Station Big Shanty in Kennesaw, exploring haunts around her new Buckhead digs and collaborating with big-name clients (oh, like Target—they commissioned her to do four fashion illustrations for shoe-department displays across the country!). So what’s next on Durrant’s to-do list? Landing a commission of the big-time Beltline variety—like, say, a mural within eyeshot of thousands. We’re crossing our fingers that this becomes reality soon, too. jessicadurrant.com, @jessillustrator