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Speaking of the Arts with Diana Moxon

Please enjoy my first-ever guest appearance on a radio show/podcast. I recorded this episode of Diana Moxon's Speaking of the Arts in October 2022, just ahead of Columbia, Missouri's Fall Into Arts show. 

Speaking of the Arts is mid-Missouri’s only in-depth weekly arts show. Each week show host Diana Moxon talks with different arts makers about the theatre, literature, fine arts, film, and music happenings they create, and takes a peek behind the scenes at their inspirations, motivations, history and knowledge of particular plays, books, artworks and compositions. The show airs on KOPN 89.5 FM and also is shared online in podcast format for listening on all of your favorite podcast apps.

The link to the entire episode is below, as is a transcript of my portion of the podcast.


Entire Episode: 

Speaking of the Arts -- An art fair, a fantasy painter, an encaustic artist, and 'No Sex Please, We're British'

Original Air Date: October 28, 2022

Episode length: Just under an hour at 57:48. If you want to listen to just my part, skip ahead to the 43 minute mark of the episode. 



Diana: This is speaking of the Arts. Mid Missouri's only in-depth weekly art show recorded in the heart of the Midwest, Columbia, Missouri, and broadcast each Thursday evening from seven to eight on 89.5 FM KOPN Columbia. My name is Diana Moxon.

For Columbia artist Jamie Scheppers, the color pink symbolizes rebellion. The rebellion she felt as a child because it was the color girls were supposed to like and wear. She refused. But flash forward a few decades and to celebrate her one year business anniversary and a significant birthday, she painted her home office in a hard to ignore color called exuberant pink. 

I think I might have had a similar relationship with pink. I definitely eschewed it until well into my twenties. It is a color which over the years, Jamie has definitely made peace with as not only is she surrounded by it, but it crops up a lot in her art--both in her encaustic wall-hanging works, and her jewelry.

Like many artists, Jamie started encouraging her artistic voice when she was mid-career and looking for a way to find balance in her life. She says she had always nurtured a creative streak, focusing that energy on dance and voice lessons growing up so that she could get the juicy roles in school and community musical theater productions.

But it wasn't until 2016 when she took an encaustic workshop with local artist, Elise Rugulo, that her art making was kindled and it was love at first butane flame. And having awoken her inner artist, the next step was making jewelry and then applying to art shows and community exhibiting opportunities. And in January, 2021, forming her own company, Jamie Scheppers Art, LLC. Jamie, what a delight to have you on this week's. Speaking of the arts.

Jamie: Well, thank you so much. That was a wonderful introduction. You've done some research on me.

D: I dive deep.

J: I appreciate that!

D: So you've made peace with pink and have now reclaimed it to use in the most unexpected and possibly obnoxious ways that you can. What's your pinnacle of pink payback to date, would you say?

J: Well, I, I think it would have to be that home office that you've already mentioned because it. It's out there. I mean, the room almost glows a pink, and it's just, you can't miss it in the room.

D: Do you still love it?

J: I do still love it.

D: No regrets?

J: No regrets!

D: I love that you have a whole series of encaustic work called En Pointe inspired by the shades of pink to peach ribbons that you used to have to sew onto your own on point ballet shoes. What made you think of that for an art?

J: You know, I, I have been throughout my time making art, finding it as a great way to reconnect with the, the lighter, the happier days of my childhood. Not that my life as an adult hasn't been happy, but as a child you just worry about so much less and you see the world through such different eyes, and it has been really nice to reconnect with different elements of that, and remember the things that I used to do that brought me so much joy.

D: And ballet shoes were one of those things. Was it the ribbons? Was it the ribbons themselves or the ballet or the whole environment of ballet?

J: I think it was the whole thing, and it was kind of a love-hate relationship to be honest. I had a teacher who really pushed me hard, and I didn't always appreciate that. Her name was Lisa Wolfsberger and she was intense, and she didn't let us get away with anything, and she would push us hard. And I've grown to really appreciate that as an adult.

D: I hope you're sending her one of the artworks.

J: You know, that is a great idea. I haven't spoken with her in quite some time. I believe she's still in St. Louis, but I'll need to see if I can reach out to her.

D: I think that one of the things that many of us struggle with as we grow up is that idea of the pursuit of perfection. You know, if I can't do it right first time, then I, I just don't wanna do it. And it's so hard as an adult to embrace the journey and to know that you're not gonna be perfect when you start out. So talk to me about how encaustic wax helped you let go of that pursuit of perfection.

J: Well, I think learning it as an adult for the very first time and coming to it with no prior experience or even knowledge of it, made that easier. I didn't have a prior experience to live up to. I didn't have a favorite artist that I was trying to mimic. I just happened to stumble upon some encaustic art one day at the Orr Street Gallery in Columbia and I didn't even know what I was looking at. My friend said, "Oh, that's encaustic. It's wax and I think there's a workshop here next month. We should take it."
I was just like, "Okay Whatever. Sounds fun." And I really had no idea what I was getting into. But I think coming with that, just completely open child's mind, really relieved the pressure. I thought I was the only non-artist in that group. There were other professional artists taking that workshop that day. And I didn't really put any pressure on myself cause I'm like, "Well, I'm not an artist so I can just have fun." And it turns out I made some really great work. And the instructor, you know, she complimented me on following her prompts closely. And it was just a very positive experience that re-awoke that creative and childlike exploration side of my brain that had maybe been neglected.

D: So before that class with Elise Rugolo back in 2016, how were you scratching the creative itch? Or was it something you just had abandoned?

J: Prior to that, I think I was probably scratching it through my cooking. I have gone to culinary school. It was a diploma program that took about six months, and I've kind of gone through a couple different careers. You know, dreams that I wanted to follow and explor. And they haven't all worked out, but I still have recognized that common thread through all of them of creativity and pushing boundaries. Learning the techniques so that I can then break the rules... And it's kept me entertained.

D: Are you generally a rule breaker?

J: Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, no... I think I'm probably the opposite of what people think of when they think of a rule breaker, but I'm working on it. I'm trying to relax in. Certain areas where it's maybe not as critical to follow the rules, but it is. That's a struggle for me.

D: Well, tell me about another series of work you have called Pieces of Happiness, in which each work comprises two four by four inch panels that sit one on top of each other and they're finished with gold leaf and you write that these works make you smile so much. Tell me about this series.

J: They do. I have in the last couple years of making art, started to use rainbow motifs in my art, and not necessarily like a strict rainbow, as you would see it in nature, but it's almost like I just can't pick a color. And so I use all of them and I'm really enjoying playing with the gradients and the transitions of the colors. That brings me joy to see how they can just change from one to the other to the next. And so that piece. Comprised of 16 four by fours, I've decided to break it up and sell it in eight pairs, but from left to right it encompasses a wide swath of the color spectrum. And then the gold is just, I don't know if it's unexpected, but it's a happy touch to me because it catches the light. It kind of very loosely grabs onto the wax where it feels like it. So it's kind of patchy, which is reminiscent of how things can occur in nature. And then on the opposite side of each pair of paintings from the gold leaf is a really bumpy texture that I've created with the wax. And so it's just a calming piece because it almost has layers of different techniques in there. The texture goes across every piece. The gold leaf goes across every piece. But then the color shifts, and it just brings me joy, especially to see them all lined up next to each other.

D: Is it hard to let go of works? Or are you at heart a business person and you're like, okay, well I'm making these to sell. This is a business, so you gotta let them go, or are there some works that really tug at your heartstrings?

J: Usually it's easy to let them go, but there is one in particular that I have listed as Not For Sale, at least so far. And it is the first piece of the graffiti series that I did last year. That particular piece was made on a day during a time in my life where I was struggling with a couple things in my career. And I was on deadline for a show at DogMaster, and I was just feeling some pressure and I just started to take one of -- it's called a pigment stick, and it's essentially oil paint and wax. And it's very much like a lipstick consistency. And this one happened to be a medium cadmium red, and I just took it and almost in anger, just started smearing it across the whole piece as if it was a dirty mirror in a bar's bathroom late on a night where I was out drinking with friends. And that release of anger produced something very beautiful to me, and I stepped back and I just fell in love with that piece. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, I have to make more of these."


Graffiti 1 encaustic painting on a white background.
 Graffiti #1 -- Encaustic 18" x 24" -- Not For Sale


J: And so then, I made a whole series of them and every piece, except for that very first one, was made on top of a prior encaustic piece that I had fallen out of love with. And that's important, because each piece also features where I have carved into the painting. And so, there are places where you can see the layers below, but then the almost angry swipes of the pigment stick and it just created something very beautiful. And that first piece, and that series where I had that breakthrough, has hung in my living room, and I'm just not ready to part with that one yet.

D: Hmm. Yes. It's a pivotal point of your journey, so maybe it's the one that you keep. And so from encaustic, then you moved into jewelry out of a need to come up with a Christmas gift idea for your friends and I think it's interesting how often an artist will find a new medium because they want to explore gift ideas. So tell me quickly about the evolution of your jewelry collection.

J: Absolutely. So prior to making jewelry, I had made some watercolor doodles that I had just made sitting at my coffee table late at night after work, watching tv, not thinking I was going to do anything with them. It was the equivalent of a kid with a coloring book. And I didn't even put two and two together right away, but some of my friends, we do a handmade Christmas gift exchange every year, and I had seen on Etsy, the same glass cabochons that I use and the settings, and people were selling photographs in the jewelry and I realized, oh, I can find these settings and make my own jewelry. These would be great gifts for people. And so the very first ones I made were actually made from the art portion of a wall calendar that a friend had gifted me, and it had some gold foil in the design and it caught the light. And then I liked the way the glass, the domed glass, would distort the image and make this little snippet look like just a bright, abstract piece of eye-catching jewelry. And I gave them to my friends and one of them said, "Oh, this would be really cool if it was your own art."

D: Mm-hmm.

J: And at first I was actually a little offended, but I tried not to let her know. Um, and, and I was like, "oh yeah, you're right. It would be." And so, but I thought about it and that idea stuck in my head. And so the very next pieces I made were from those doodles that I had just kind of stacked on a shelf, you know, forgotten about. And I was like, "I think I'm onto something here." And so that's the whole thing was born from that experience.

D: Fantastic. So you can see Jamie Scheppers' encaustic and jewelry works at this weekend's Fall Into Art. And you can also view her work online at And that's spelled Jamie, thank you so much for taking time to chat about your work today and I hope it is a busy weekend for you at Fall Into Art.

J: Thank you. That was so much fun!

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