I couldn't resist this, "Aretha's Hat". How apropos after her unforgettable headgear at the Inauguration last week?

Jamie and her cat in "Cat Hugs"

Recently, a visitor with the blogger identity "HamstrJam" kept visiting me and leaving comments, so I was intrigued and followed the link to her blog. I couldn't help but notice these charmingly simple cats she sketches. However, they really aren't as simple as they seem - they are drawn with a true wit and brilliant sense of humor in a style that is somewhat reminiscient of illustrations in "The New Yorker". I found myself quite frequently laughing out loud here in my workspace (good thing no one was around - they would've thought I'd really lost my mind for good...) I left a few comments on Small Expectations (a terrific name for a blog) and then wrote the author/artist Jamie Shelman and asked if I could feature her work here on Annechovie. She has obliged me most graciously and also favored me with some answers to a few of my nosy questions.

Where were you born?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and currently live on Martha's Vineyard.

What is your artistic background /schooling ?
I received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 yet also attended Bucknell University, University of Arizona, Sydney College of the Arts and RISD's summer abroad program in Rome.

What are your earliest memories of being involved making art or wanting to be an artist?
My earliest memory of making art or wanting to be an artist is from second grade when my drawing of flowers won a competition to be put on display at the mall! Also, when I was at Bucknell, I had an inspiring art professor and was first exposed to paintings at the Met and I was completely blown away, I could relate so well to all the abstract expressionists.


Candy Cane

What inspired you most as your subject matter? Does living near/on the Coast influence your work a lot?

Travel, landscapes, patterns, quilts all inspire my abstract paintings and my cats are inspired by all the cats I have known and loved!. They have become a voice for my own thoughts, feelings, and personal reflections.


My family is from Arizona and my husband is from Baltimore Maryland- he's also a RISD grad and artist of beautiful fashion inspired portraits!

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist?

Good coffee (cafe au laits and croissants in the morning!), the New York Times, good reads, good food, long walks, bike riding, freedom!

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Switzerland is looking pretty nice, altough I do love Martha's Vineyard and NYC!

What are the most challenging things for you about being an artist?

Income that allows me the freedom to continue to create!

Thank you Jamie, for taking the time to share more about yourself and your art. I encourage you to visit Jamie's charming blog Small Expectations - it's sure to cheer you and bring a smile to your face! She also runs an Etsy Shop - Jamie's Cats.