As a student at Archbold High School, Jessica Flores, AHS ‘99, was more interested in the industrial arts program than the art program.
“What’s funny is I was in industrial arts. I never really got involved in art classes in high school,” Flores said.
Today, she is one of the featured artists for July at the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center in Toledo.
“In college, I took a painting class and thought, this is kind of fun! I enjoyed it so much, I kept at it,” Flores said.
“I’ve been painting about seven years. The art portion of my life mingles very well with my full-time job as a social worker.”
Flores works mainly with acrylic paints on canvas. She has paintings displayed in two different Toledo galleries, The Sofia Quintero and Sojourners Truth Gallery. She has also been featured on the Buckeye Cable Network.
“I’m connected two different ways with Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center,” she said.
“I’m hoping to connect more with their outreach program, and I’m also proud to have my paintings displayed there.”
Day Of The Dead
Flores will participate in the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration, Saturday, Nov. 2.
“Every year they do a celebration for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I will be doing an altar display this year,” Flores said.
Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday. Deceased loved ones are celebrated and honored, often through memorial altars in homes, and sometimes with parties.
Flores serves as a part of the Black Swamp Mobile Arts program, which is headed by Diane Tinsman and sponsored by the Black Swamp Arts Council.
“Black Swamp Mobile Arts takes art programs to places where it might be more difficult for people to be exposed to the arts,” Flores said.
“I was just at the Napoleon Public Library conducting a caregiver-child painting class. That’s one of my favorite things to do.
“It helps connect caregivers with children in positive fun way.
“My employer is really good about allowing me to combine my passion for art with my career.”
Other things she hopes to pursue with her art include painting a mural in downtown Toledo, and helping with art camp in a Toledoarea community center.
“They have murals all around the city. It’s kind of a dream of mine to be a part of one,” Flores said.
“My three children are my assistants. My 15-year-old daughter, Jasmine, is my manager. They’re all very familiar with the different mediums.”
Her other children are Rosalyn, 19, and Jacob, 8.
Flores takes her “Art Squad”– herself and a few talented young artists– to various events where they do henna designs on hands.
“I tell people it’s almost like piping a cake. Same principle,” she said.
“Lots of swirls. Both of my daughters are able to do henna.
“When we went to go do the first event, I showed the girls some intricate designs and asked if they thought they could do it.
“They immediately said, ‘Sure!’ and they do a beautiful job. They’re not afraid to try something new.”
While acrylic paint on canvas is her main medium, there are a few other ways Flores expresses her artistic side.
Painting On Pots
“Another thing I do is paint terra cotta pots,” she said.
Painting famous people, and some not-so-famous people, on her pots are examples of art showing up in unexpected places.
“I’ve been asked to sell them, but I haven’t yet. That may be coming, but for now they’re more for me,” Flores said.
Flores’ exhibition is on display July 8- Aug. 16, at the José Martinez Memorial Galería, 1222 Broadway St., Toledo. An opening reception is Wednesday, July 17.