Guest Post by Jessica Sporn, Part I

We get to meet *the* most fabulous people when we travel to art retreats, and our trip to Art is You in Nashville was no exception. I was listening to Jessica Sporn talk about her life, about how she went from–

Wait. Let’s let Jessica tell you herself. Here’s the first part:


Trading a Briefcase for Watercolors and a Paintbrush


Some women get cravings for pickles or ice cream when they’re pregnant. But I got cravings to make art. It was 1990; I was pregnant with Mariel, my first child. I was working as a litigator in a large law firm in Manhattan, doing corporate securities litigation. This was a very prestigious job — the definition of “high powered.” I was 32 years old, wearing wool suits with boxy shoulder pads, oxford shirts with little rosette ties, and sensible pumps. I was married to another lawyer and we both worked 60+ hours a week, making big bucks, but with no time for, or appreciation of, the art of living a creative life.


In a way, I was on track with my life plan. Always a “Dear Diary” girl, in fifth grade, I had mapped out my life:


18 – 25: famous actress (nice to see I was aiming high!)

25 – 30: Lawyer

30 – 40: Peace Corps

40 – 50: Teacher

50 – 60: Actress again – character roles, grandmothers, etc.


Flashback — I was the creative child in my family. I loved to draw and make things. I made little books out of cardboard and cardstock and wrapped them in felt. I made dolls out of clothespins and I doodled incessantly. But I also loved to act, sing and dance, and that’s the path I chose to follow. I went to the High School of Performing Arts (the “Fame” school) in New York City, and, after two years of college, came back to New York to try to make it as an actress.

Freeman-Zachery Jessica Sporn 2

Fast forward about 3 years — It was 1981. Ronald Reagan was president. I was auditioning for shows, getting small parts, taking dance classes, waiting tables, and taking temp jobs. But then, I got involved in pro-choice and gay rights politics, and started to pass up auditions to attend demonstrations in support of revolutionaries in El Salvador. (Really!) My manager gently pointed out that I wasn’t Jane Fonda … yet … and I had to decide if I was really committed to being an actress. Turns out, agents were beginning to think I was a pain in the %$#*&, because I didn’t want to audition for commercials for products made by non-union labor… my selectiveness was giving me a bad rep.

Freeman-Zachery Jessica Sporn 3

Obviously, it was time for the next stage of my master plan. It was time to go to law school and change the world.


So I finished college, took the LSATs, and became a first year law student at Rutgers, in Newark. Most of my classmates were terrified – especially of being called on in class, and having to stand up and answer questions in the “Socratic Method.” But to me, this was a breeze. After all, I had read the case! I was prepared! I wasn’t being asked to to do crazy improvisations or learn complicated choreography on the spot. No problem!


I graduated from Rutgers Law School with honors, and went straight to work. While I loved what I did, I never felt authentic about it. It was if I was playing a part, putting on a lawyer costume every day and pretending — just like I was a character in Ali McBeal.


And then everything changed–come back on Friday to read the rest of Jessica’s story of amazing transformation~~


Jessica Sporn is a mixed-media artist and illustrator, known for her strong use of color, texture and heartfelt style. It’s been said that her artwork always contains a sprinkle of her soul. She is a designer for Stencil Girl Products; her illustration work can be found on stationery products, giftware, and Judaica products for Aviv Judaica. Some of her Judaica designs are sold at the Jewish Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She keeps an active blog at, and is represented for licensing by Creative Connection Inc, at

Living the Creative LifeFind out more about living the creative life with (duh) Living The Creative Life.

Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.




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