North Carolina artist and illustrator Jordan Grace Owens has a knack for making things. Pretty, wonderful, quirky, vintage-inspired things that will make you smile. From her tiny, moveable paper dolls to her large scale original paintings; Jordan’s style is all her own.
Jordan often pulls inspiration from the well-worn and well-loved; like early to mid-century movies, records and books, vintage design, and old snapshots. She explains this fascination with the past by saying “I especially love vintage photographs and I often look to them to inspire new portraits, characters or illustrations. Some of my photos come from flea markets and vintage shops (so the people are anonymous) but I also love to mine my grandmother’s collection of snapshots from the 1930s – 1970s. Her family comes from Virginia and my grandfather’s hails from Alabama, so there’s absolutely a lot of 20th century southern culture influencing my work.” She has painted several portraits of her grandmother and great-grandmother when they were twenty-somethings. She also likes to paint the anonymous girls from found photographs, trying to invent their personalities and stories as she works.
Her desire to create and freedom to be expressive came at an early age. The daughter of a Winston-Salem, NC-based elementary school art teacher, Jordan says “I had access to messy art supplies and was drawing on my bedroom walls from as young as I can remember.” She was always encouraged in her artistic pursuits as a kid. This early work proved beneficial about five years ago when the handmade site, Etsy, was first taking off and Jordan decided she wanted to be a part of the independent craft movement that was emerging. “I did a stint in graphic design school where I learned about packaging and marketing and then I really found my niche within the crafty/maker community and began to shape a career out of it.”
Jordan has work in shops and galleries internationally, but still finds a lot of her time and energy is focused right here in the South. She explains this long-standing work connection by saying, “I do a lot of art and craft shows around the Southeast — in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, so I’m constantly exposed to and inspired by other Southern artists and makers and the Southern independent craft scene.” She also works closely with area organizations and events, lending her recognizable style of illustration to things like promotional t-shirts and posters.
Around our hometown of Greensboro, NC Jordan’s work is instantly recognizable to most artist, designers,and creative types. As her art and popularity continues to grow around the world, selling work in her Etsy shop and in various galleries and shops, her roots remain grounded in the South. “Living in the south in the 21st century is great because through the internet, you can make connections anywhere from wherever you call home. I love living in the south amongst the tobacco heritage and good manners and southern drawls, while sending the pretty little things I make with my own two hands to people all around the world.” Here in the South we are proud to call you one of our own, Jordan!