“Inspired by happiness and the sea,” Hampton Bays based illustrator Jackie Maloney is constantly inspired by the beautiful beaches, fresh local seafood and the local flora of the East End. Working in watercolor and ink, her loose style seems to be simply an extension of Hamptons life. Jackie took some time to talk to Hamptons Monthly about painting, her collaboration for illustrating a cookbook dedicated to recipes developed on the East End of Long Island, and a special moment she had while exhibiting in Montauk last summer.
Looking at your style, can we assume you took an interest in art early on as a child and things developed from there?
Absolutely. My mom always encouraged me to be creative as a kid and was extremely supportive when I decided to go to art school. She herself
is artistic so our house was always full of art supplies. She created a safe and fun environment for me to explore and make a mess. My style is always evolving since artists are always in a state of learning, but my work always tends to look like mine.
Why do you think your style of illustration connects to the overall lifestyle of the Hamptons?
My watercolor and ink style has been described by my collectors as being fun, bright, happy, whimsical, fresh, feel good, yummy, delicious, quirky—and all of those words can also be applied to the lifestyle of the Hamptons. It has made people cry out in desperation “You’re making me hungry for lobster,” or “I wish I had a beach house.”
You illustrated a cookbook, The Shelter Island 36. It’s a collection of New England recipes developed on the East End. When you were drawing, did you work from a still life or did you already have the imagery in your head? What was that process like?
The Shelter Island 36 was collaboration between myself and Chef Jason Casey. All of the recipes were created and written by Jason. Jason would e-mail me the completed recipes and ingredients lists along with some photos of the dishes. Then I would paint using his photos as reference. Occasionally, I’d consult the ingredients list to get a better idea of what went into the dishes. With that knowledge, I’d add details from other references to add more detail [to the drawings].
The step-by-step series started with my love for food and cooking. I try to create images that I would want to hang on my own walls or that I could see in Bon Appétit Magazine or on a tea towel in Williams-Sonoma. I’ve found that they also make great conversation pieces. Everyone has their own techniques and experiences with tackling a lobster in a fancy restaurant or stabbing their hand shucking an oyster. With the text, I can express my sense of humor a bit.
You not only create on paper but also have a collection of bowls and pillows. If you were going to a Hamptons house warming party, which of your pieces would you bring as a gift?
Besides selling my artwork for collectors’ private homes, I am also working on getting my art licensed on products. The images of pillows you see on my website are actually mock-ups that I made with the help of my mom, who is a seamstress, to show to art buyers at major companies. I am still working on developing my licensing portfolio, but can say that I do have a few products coming out within the next year by a national retailer (it is a secret right now, but I am excited!). I also have a line of hand-painted ceramics that I do “made-to-order” through my Etsy shop. They are customizable so they make great gifts, especially for weddings or anniversaries.
Do you have any memorable experiences of sharing your work in the Hamptons and where can we find you exhibiting you this summer?
It’s always a special moment when someone relates to a piece on an emotional level. Last summer in Montauk, I brought a striped bass serving platter with me on a whim. This specific platter had “Ron’s Catch of the Day” painted on the rim. It was a commission that the client changed their mind on—I more brought it as a sample. To my surprise, a woman with tears in her eyes grabbed this very textually specific platter and said, “I need this.” She needed a gift for her host who was letting her stay the weekend and this platter was “perfect”. Turns out, the hostess’s husband had recently passed, was named Ron and was a prolific bass fisherman. How’s that for serendipity?
You can find me exhibiting my work this summer at numerous outdoor art festivals in the Hamptons. In the coming weeks, I will be at the Westhampton Beach Juried Fine Art Show and in the Boutique Garden at the Hampton Classic Horse Show.