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YYC Artist Spotlight / Jess Sanchez

YYC Artist Spotlight / Jess Sanchez

Our artist feature this month is a very familiar face at our Britannia location. She is a faithful regular, a lovely human, and super talented.

Allow us to introduce to you: Jess Sanchez!

Jess currently at First Assembly Church as the Youth Creative Pastor and Director for Tehillah Creative School but also works as a freelance multimedia content creator in her free time. Doing mainly videography work, having shot and directed a few music videos; most recently, “Happy Birthday Jesus” by Colin Carbonera and “Manic Panic” by Rabino. She is also a talented photographer focusing mostly on portrait and street photography, and various kinds of design and graphic design work. Jess is incredibly passionate about creativity, calling out creative gifts others, equipping creatives, and teaching others how to steward their gifts well. Her dream is to see people inspired, on fire, and passionate to dream, create, and bring to life what’s been stirring up on the inside for all to see. You can find her portfolio and work at www.jessicasanchez.co!

Let's hear more from Jess! 

Jill: What made you decide to pursue art?

Jess: It’s funny because I never saw myself as an artist or creative, but I grew up in a musical family and was incredibly curious growing up. It’s so weird how we have this tendency to detach or disassociate ourselves from being “artists” because we don’t create art that looks like something Van Gogh or Claude Monet would have painted and created. There’s a weird, almost universal paradigm that discourages us from pursuing different expressions of art or creativity because we don’t think of ourselves at the same level of these famous, classical painters or sculptors but we as human beings are designed to be inherently curious and creative. I found this out later on in my life (mainly because I get so bored with what I’m doing or not doing so quickly) but my curiosity led me to pursue art in the form of different creative expressions; in music and learning as many instruments as possibly I could, in learning how to produce and write songs and music; in visual and digital art in learning how to film, shoot, direct, and pursuing photography and design as other ways of storytelling. I was just curious, and I always am.

Who or what have been your biggest inspirations so far to date though your creative journey?

A YouTuber named ‘Devinsupertramp’ was actually the guy that inspired me to pursue videography. He always had this fast-paced, action edge to his short videos, but still managed to convey a story or narrative in his craft. I remember watching some of his stuff and feeling inspired to do the same – there weren’t many people that were doing what he was doing at the time, and I knew his style was just up my alley. More recently, I’ve been leaning towards the realm of filmmaking and storytelling in that way. Gina Prince-Bythewood and Patty Jenkins have been huge inspirations to me more recently, not just because they’re women who have directed huge Hollywood blockbusters (“The Old Guard” and “Wonder Woman,” respectively), but because you can see the excellence they put into their craft. I always say that the details are in the storytelling, and the way these women are able to achieve that in their films is just so inspiring to me as an artist. Another thing that has inspired me in my creative journey is simply being surrounded by and getting to work with some of my best friends who are creatives and artists have been incredibly inspiring to me in my creative journey. Colin Carbonera, a previous fellow Monogram artist feature aka Rabino aka the most unfairly talented musician, singer, and producer is one of my best friends on the planet and just being around him and getting to work with him and see what he does and see how passionate he is about his craft is so encouraging and inspiring to me. So, I’d say being surrounded by artists and creatives helps me stay inspired and sharp in my craft.

What is your favourite subject to photograph?

People. I’ve always been fascinated by people and storytelling. Everyone has a story, everyone is on a journey, and portrait photography has been a way for me to be able to take these two worlds and bring them together and capture them as authentically as I can.

How has COVID affected your art? Have you done anything creative during this time that you otherwise wouldn’t have done?

It’s been difficult picking up any kind of videography projects during COVID. I was let go from a previous job back in April 2020 because of the pandemic, and the only thing I could fall back on for an income (other than CERB) was my freelancing business. The unfortunate reality of that, is that the economy wasn’t the best, restrictions made it difficult to work or collaborate with clients or other creators, and overall was just a difficult time for all creatives and artists. I actually had two or three music videos lined up but those fell through because funding didn’t come through for the artist, and all these things and roadblocks made it difficult to secure any kind of projects. What I managed to pick up during this time was improving what I could; I worked on my video editing skills by editing old footage I’d shot to try and create something new; I’d started focusing on improving my graphic design ability, and I’ve actually gotten better at strategic planning/thinking/dreaming, thinking outside of the box to come up with creative solutions for clients in navigating the hurdles surrounding content creation and through that, I’d managed to partner and work with with a few different organizations from the USA in creating content for them and their websites.

What is your coffee order?

I feel like this really depends on the time of day, the kind of day I’m having, and how tired I am when I wake up that day. Usually, I like to start off with either a drip or americano. By midday if I’m still in need of something with a bit of kick to it I’ll do another drip or iced americano or something, but if I’m feeling more chill and just want something to enjoy, I would do an iced latte.

If you could pick just ONE food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Are we talking like dishes or cuisines or a singular food item? I could probably do potatoes because of how versatile they are and the many different ways you could make and serve them.

Okay, I agree! A very underrated food! Great answer! 

Do you have any exciting projects coming up? If so, can you tell us about them?

I do! I have a short film lined up for me to shoot and edit this summer and I will be teaming up with some friends of mine, so that will be exciting! I can’t quite reveal the details of that project or who is involved yet but be on the lookout for it this fall!

Okay Jess, time for the real tea... 

Summer or fall? 

I love warm weather, but there’s just something about fall fashion and wearing layers and fall colours that has my heart

Sweet or savoury? 

I have such a sweet tooth, it’s ridiculous. My dentist hates me.

Music or podcast?

I love both, but music is just so much more stimulating to me – whether that’s first thing in the morning when I wake up, midday in the car, or at the end of the night. I love being invited into the experience of a singer hitting a sick riff or run on a song I’ve never heard before, or when instrumentalists or producers do something so musically interesting that invokes a feeling in me, sending shivers down my spine and literally making my jaw drop.

Hot coffee or cold coffee?

This one is so weird because it literally depends on the day and how I’m feeling. But generally I love iced coffee!

Chips or popcorn? 

Definitely a chips person.

Instagram or TikTok? 

This is also a weird one because, I love instagram and seeing what my friends are up to, but tiktok is just so funny and so perfectly curated with content I want to see if I need to escape the real world for a few minutes.

Side or middle part? 

I definitely appreciate a middle part on others but can’t really pull it off myself unless I’ve got my hair tied back haha.

Beach or mountains?

Listen, I love the mountains. I live by the mountains. It’s literally my backyard. But there’s something about the beach and being by the ocean and the smell of salt water that’s just so nice to be around. Maybe it’s because I’m Filipino and we’re islanders, but I just love the beach so much. I don’t love getting sunburned, but sometimes it’s worth it being by the ocean.

Thanks Jess! Tell everyone where they can find you!

 My website and portfolio is at:  www.jessicasanchez.co

I also have a vimeo page with my video projects at:  https://vimeo.com/jessicasanchez

Social media

Instagram: @jessicajsanch

Twitter: @jessicajsanch