Drake is the co-founder of JAWBRKR, which is known for being a dependable, creative team of designers, sculptors, and fabricators dedicated to setting your brand apart from the sterile normalization of flat design graphics. "While working in a Manhattan-based custom sculpture design and fabrication art studio and television production studio called Shop Studios, I gained a good sense of the business side of production, and how sculpture skills could apply in set design and experiential marketing. It was there that I met my future business partner, Thew Jones. We decided to move from New York City to Nashville, Tennessee, to have supersized studio space for our business and fine art practices," she said.
On her inspiration for her artwork, she acknowledged, "Anything can be inspiring, from a little moment in everyday life to durational experiences of what it means to be alive. It's how I navigate within this world. My artwork is a rational and tangible response to the explosive energy of influence pumping towards us in advertising, marketing, social media, and daily interactions. What keeps me moving like the energizer bunny? The desire to leave behind a legacy. It's two-fold. I want my work to expose the times, and what it means to be alive in this world today while also igniting dialogue with people of the future after I am long gone."
Regarding her plans for 2020 and beyond, she said, "At this stage in my life and career, I want to create great work and show it. I plan to land more artist residencies, grants, fellowships, and fantastic opportunities. Within JAWBRKR, I have been designing and creating murals, custom sculptures, and furniture pieces. I have large-scale art installations planned for when events/culture get back up and running again.
On being an artist in the digital age, she said, "I see it as a tool for communication, and I hope it will be the vehicle for creating a better future. Social media has been a great way of making friendships with other artists. Through our work, we generate dialog by having long-distance pen pals and online studio visits from halfway around the world."
For young and aspiring artists, she offered the following advice: "First, I would recommend developing a solid foundation in technical skills, learning to draw and sculpt the human figure. Study art history and contemporary artists that are alive today. Find your unique voice, both conceptually and aesthetically."
Drake continued, "Find an artist mentor. Many of the artists doing well today have put in the work to combine a strong foundation in business with an authentically tailored brand identity. Don't listen to people who have the preconceived myth of the 'Starving Artist' and are unaware of all the possibilities of having a creative career. A few artistic tracks include animator, architect, fiber/fashion designer, film/videographer, game designer, graphic designer, ceramicist, user experience designer, and fine artist."
"Be a kind person. Develop your technical skill. Define what you want. Be persistent. Give back," she added.
When asked about her proudest professional moments in the art world, she remarked, "One moment that sticks out was when I was a finalist in the Wearable Art Awards of Holland, getting to showcase my work in front of a vast audience and meeting other artists across the world are two of my favorite parts of being an artist. This past January, I had the opportunity to be one of the 50 artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. It was my first artist residency, and I eagerly am looking forward to the next one."
Drake continued, "This month I also received an honorable mention for my sculpture 'Udderdome' in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) juried by Paulina Pobocha, the Associate Curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The awards announcement was via video chat (due to the pandemic). It was a surprising benefit because it felt more like a studio critique by being able to hear Paulina's reason for selecting her favorite artworks from the show."
"My proudest work from JAWBRKR has been the art activations in collaboration with Red Bull," she said. "In 2018, we created an interactive dystopian toy store set for BBYMUTHA at Exit/in. In 2019, an art installation pop-up featuring ten portrait paintings, honoring each nominee for the CMA's at Universal Music Group's afterparty, was a thrill."
For Drake, the word success is a "combo package." "Making art and design work that affects people, collaborating and interacting with talented and cool people, having financial stability, and cherishing moments of love," she expressed.
To learn more about Elise Drake, check out her official website. "Let's connect. If you have an idea on how we can collaborate to make something magical happen, reach out. To see the work I'm creating, check it out on the aforementioned link," she exclaimed.