Today we’d like to introduce you to M. Jackson.
Hi M. Jackson, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a former ballet teacher, performing artist, and choreographer. Currently, I am an emerging artist and indie author and have recently published my first children’s book.
I had the desire to study ballet as long as I can remember but time and circumstance did not fall into place until I was an adult with small children. Walking into the ballet studio for the first time was magical. The child in me was elated and my true passion for ballet was born. I took more and more classes and was expanded in many ways. Blessed with a few gifted and compassionate teachers, I wanted to emulate them. Within a few years, I was teaching ballet part-time, performing with a college dance company and soon after co-founded a small dance ensemble which I directed for 12 years. I also co-produced Boomer Ballet, a ballet for exercise video. Dance gave me lifelong friendships and a greater appreciation for all of the arts.
Then I had a life-changing experience in literally a New York second and my dance life ended. I tripped while leaving the ice rink after skating with my granddaughters and broke several bones. Movement was my life and now I moved slower than a turtle. During my rehabilitation, I could use the keyboard with my left hand and began writing a children’s book about ballet because I loved reading to my children when they were young and to my granddaughters, and I loved ballet. The project kept me close to what I loved. Having no idea how to go forward, I shelved it.
After I completed my physical therapy, the New Year seemed like a good time to get back out there. I was mobile and wanted to do something creative. Looking through a brochure from Crealde School of Art, I saw a class that was beginning that afternoon and I went. The instructor was kind and inspiring, the environment welcoming. It was the beginning of a new chapter. I realized that paint could dance and continued the class for many sessions.
At a gallery opening, I met a professional cartoon artist and I asked if she would illustrate my book. She declined but offered to teach me. We met in coffee shops for several months and her guidance and patience enabled me to bring Every Bunny Danced to life. Her expertise was a gift. Working throughout the quarantine by cell phone and email, the drawings emerged. They are primitive and they dance. Every Bunny Danced was self-published in October 2020 and is available on the sites of BookBaby, Amazon, and Good Reads. It was a fantastic journey and I am grateful to all who inspired and encouraged me.
My artwork has been shown in Central Florida and I was pleased to be invited to participate in Arte Que Salva. The proceeds of which bring art supplies to children in need around the world. I enjoy the painting process and have learned to go at my own pace and another children’s story has been outlined. Exercising daily keeps me close to my dancer’s soul. Movement and rhythm are laws of the universe and I believe everybody and everything dances.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Yes and no. Almost everything worthwhile in life comes with challenges, you know the old saying, suffer for your art. There are invaluable lessons to learn in all of our experiences, good and bad. Greeting each day with gratitude is essential.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As an emerging artist, my work is abstract. My paintings are an expression of emotions, my process meditative and the work settles in overtime. It’s somewhat mysterious. Sometimes it’s necessary to wipe or gesso and begin again and that is a glorious feeling to let it go. When art is your own self-expression, it removes the competitive element and you stop judging it. Then you can enjoy the actual doing.
As an indie author, I find writing for children imaginative and fun. I have been a guest reader in pre and elementary schools on many occasions and children’s reactions to stories and situations are the best. They don’t hold back and are so totally pure in their expressions.
Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
The Daily Book of Art is a fun and interesting compilation of art facts throughout time. I love being transported by reading and enjoy a variety of topics and authors from different parts of the world. A few favorite books include Autumn, Journey by Moonlight, and Love in the Time of Cholera. Children’s books are always great to revisit and I treasure The Little Prince and The Velveteen Rabbit.
Instagram is an app I enjoy because it’s very informative and not complicated.
I hope this will not be too much of an inconvenience and again, thank you for this
- Every Bunny Danced is $9.99
- Instagram: every.bunny.danced
- Other: natural.ipphotography (Instagram) marshanabstract (Instagram)