The Heroine’s Journey of Jill King

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love the solitude and self-reflection that the creative process grants me. My art journeys me into uncharted territory and follows me as I grow.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? I am happiest in Nature. I love the feeling of hiking through a forest, not knowing what I might discover. It is exhilarating to push my body up a mountain path, almost out of breath, but I keep on moving, because an arrangement of fallen trees or a life-form is up ahead that I have never seen before.

What is my greatest fear? Currently, Trump and his administration. It is a tumultuous time to be living in America. Our country is experiencing a fall from grace. It is frightening to witness a so called leader, who continually appeals to his followers worst instincts. All I see is a bombastic, narcissistic man who creates havoc and perverts the truth in order to distract us from his personal blunders.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I could use a shot of self-confidence now and then.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? I admire the work of Sculptor/Mixed Media Artist Petah Coyne. Coyne’s chandelier-like, sculptures command the spaces they inhabit and confront difficult themes such as memory and loss, darkness and light, intimacy and seduction. I am awestruck by the way in which she combines unconventional materials such as; trees, taxidermy, wax, silk flowers, and transforms them into magical, poetic works of art.

What is my greatest extravagance? I was recently given a wonderful gift of an Achievement Award from a local Arts Foundation. After many years of renting studios throughout Chicagoland, I decided to splurge my award and purchase a shed that can be converted into an art studio and built it in my backyard. Although the space is small and I typically work large, it is such a blessing to be able to walk out my back door and into my own private, creative space. The intimacy of my Shed Studio is an extravagance I never dreamed possible.

On what occasion would I lie? I prefer not to lie, but the only circumstance where it might be necessary, is if I fervently believed that truth is much more harmful than the lie.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I enjoy working very gesturally with metal but I get very frustrated when the welding process hinders the physical freedom needed to work more expressively. Metal is cold and hard until you put heat to it and sometimes the fire doesn’t move the way I want to move. I also dislike the monotony of sewing the fabric onto my structures, it makes me feel like I work on an assembly line.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Now. When the culmination of years of practice and experimentation come together and flows out of my hands with assurance and ease.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I can be very anxious and impatient. I would appreciate myself more, if I would just trust my instincts and learn to live more fully in the present.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I am still a working artist. I never gave up my passion for creating, despite the financial struggles and heaps of rejection letters that I have received throughout the years. As I continue to grow as a person, my art appeals to a larger audience, for me, that is quite an achievement.

Where would I most like to live? I am at home wherever my studio is housed. I currently live and create in Evanston IL, the stomping grounds of Northwestern University. Evanston is a gracious, progressive, city, sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, just footsteps from Chicago. I appreciate my town because it has a culturally diverse population, it is openhearted and in addition, it has a burgeoning art scene. If I were to ever leave Evanston, I would like to live in a city that is closer to nature and hopefully less harsh winters like Colorado or Washington State for its dense forests and majestic mountains. I certainly would enjoy walking out my studio door into nature and have a place to hike around on a regular basis.

What is my most treasured possession? My heart. I can take it wherever I go.

What is my most marked characteristic? I am often buoyantly optimistic.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The Art institute of Chicago, of course. It is one of the top art museums in the world! Many of the great works that you will find in Art History Books are right here in Chicago; A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”- Georges Seurat, The Bedroom”- Vincent Van Gogh, “Reclining Figure”- Henry Moore, “Nighthawks”- Edward Hopper I also love to visit the Art Institute’s Modern Wing and view new and evolving shows.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? I have always loved the vegetarian, bohemian “Heartland Cafe” in Rogers Park, Chicago. Not so much for the food, but for the atmosphere. My husband and I call it the Hippie Joint. It is a gritty, charming eatery housed in a residential neighborhood, right next to the Chicago “L” train tracks. I feel at home here, because the restaurant is stocked with local liberal publications, mind-body books, candles, incense and other such paraphernalia.

What books influenced my life and how? My life path has been influenced and inspired by many spiritual enlightenment books. Some of my favorites are: My sister Bonnie Moehle’s book- “Thoughts from Within: A Guide to Inner Peace in a Crazy World,” Alex Grey- “The Mission of Art,” Eckhart Tolle– “The Power of Now,” Don Miguel Ruiz– “The Four Agreements”. These books are written by master teachers who tap into ancient wisdom in order to guide us toward living a fully realized life.

Who are my favorite writers? I have appreciated many writers over the years, so it is difficult for me to choose one. However, I will share a book I recently read and enjoyed: “The Muralist” by B.A. Shapiro, takes place in 1940’s America. In this story we get an inside look at the American Abstract Expressionist Movement and the horrors of WWII through a Jewish Refugee’s eyes. Alizee, the protagonist of the story, is an unrelenting character that creates murals for the WPA, meets Eleanor Roosevelt and befriends other like-minded artists such as; Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Hallelujah written and performed by Leonard Cohen– A universal, bittersweet song.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I find it odd that I am writing this response, because I am an avid reader, but I have to say, that the mad inventor character named Caractacus Potts from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has captured my heart since childhood. Potts, a single father with two young children lives and works in and old crumbling windmill and invents magical, somewhat useful contraptions out of scraps of metal and discarded junk. He is a hero to me, because he is consumed with his creative process and despite the poverty his work has afforded him and his family, he continues to invent and care for them. Potts never gives up and eventually creates a master piecean unconventional car that makes a curious sound- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Chitty eventually travels into mythical, foreign territory. It is my wish as an artist to do the same.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My sister Bonnie Moehle. Have you ever had someone in your life that you love unconditionally and who you have totally resolved karma with? I do, my sister. Bonnie has never been afraid to challenge herself and has bravely followed her heart throughout her life. After years of raising two daughters, Bonnie dove in to her own spiritual practice, reinvented herself and is now, a sought-after Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Writer in Phoenix Arizona. She has shown me what it means to walk on the planet honestly and with conviction. I am grateful every day for being gifted a sister who cares about others enough to publicly share her personal growth and insights. She has chosen to give her time to help people find peace and happiness. She is my heroine.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? “Life is beautiful”– A heart wrenching love story that teaches us about the strength and resilience of the human spirit and the selfless love a father can have for his child. Set in a World War II concentration camp, this movie manages to make you laugh and cry in the same breath. It captures both the humanity and extreme inhumanity that man can inflict on his fellow man.

What role plays art in my life and work? I was aware at a very young age that I needed to think through my hands. I believe that the act of creating something from ones soul is a spiritual experience which connects us to one another and higher forces. When I walk through the world, it is important to look around with presence and a keen eye. For me, artmaking is a celebration of sight. It is a very satisfying life, knowing that I plan to head back to my studio to transform my experiences and visions into works of art. I love the Quote by Demetri Martin; “Earth without Art is EH”.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My husband and daughter. They have been on this journey with me and they are with me whether I fall or shine. My husband is a Mathematician and my daughter a bright, beautiful teen with a mind for Science. The three of us are very different individuals, but somehow, we have figured out a way to navigate this life together. It is not always easy living with an artist, I tend to walk in Zig Zags- not straight lines. I have struggled financially over the years but thankfully, my husband has consistently been there with an out stretched hand to pull me up. We are a mixed race family, which has opened my eyes to a much richer and more compassionate world. Our relationship has expanded my boundaries and has assisted me in understanding, first hand, that we are all connected.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019? Myself and a few skilled interns. I envision 2019 as a year filled with Public Projects and enough income to hire some young talent.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019? I have met a lot of artists in my lifetime, so I do not feel I am lacking in inspiration and friendships with kindred spirits. I would love to meet Barack and Michelle Obama. Their strength under adversity, their graciousness and inspirational leadership has been a blessing to this country. I would like to tell them how much I have appreciated their sacrifice.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on? I am currently working on a suspended sculpture called Nebula which will be installed in Richland College, Decatur, IL, Feb. of 2019. I am looking forward to viewing the piece hanging from the I-Beams in their Student Achievement Center.

Where can you see me or my work?,,

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Everything! Artmaking is not a job. It is a means to nourish my soul. It gives me great pleasure to observe my imagination as it materializes through creative practice. I plan on making art till the day I die. Hope I leave this life, an old woman, working on an artwork in the studio.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

My Sister, Bonnie Moehle: Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Writer-

Allie Kushnir: My former student and Film-Maker (The Ones that Will), Designer, Painter

How can you contact me?

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