hope + easel: the beginning

Welcome to Hope + Easel! 

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. In order to completely understand the collective and the goals we have set for ourselves, I'd like to explain how we got here. 


My name is Jess and I'm an active artist. I've been creating art ever since I was a toddler when my mother bought me my first easel. Growing up, I was constantly creating. You could always find me in the art room in elementary school and high school, but when I started my freshman year in college as a Studio Art major, I absolutely hated it. Was it challenging? A little bit. But the main problem was that I was spending majority of my semesters drawing things I didn't want to draw. I was losing my momentum and my passion. Rather than continue and risk hating something I once adored, I switched my major to Art History in hopes I could find a balance in the future. I went on a hiatus from painting and drawing for a few years until 2016 came along and I bought a set of watercolors. Ever since then, I haven't been able to stop. 

I first started posting my artwork on Instagram, which then transitioned into an actual website. After a couple of years, I grew a very small community of close art friends and I learned a lot from them.

When I moved to the UK this past April, I excitedly thought this would be the perfect opportunity to consistently paint, to get my work out there. This ended up becoming one of the most frustrating points in my art career. 


Instagram is a wonderful platform with so many different accounts that cater to your taste, but it's also a giant headache. There would be weeks where I would gain a decent following and get my work noticed, and then I would have weeks where I lost more followers than I gained and my work went disregarded. I spent weeks researching different opportunities within galleries, contests, private exhibitions, magazines, and literary journals that accept artwork. After fighting my way through the weeds, I noticed many of my favorite artists were going through the same thing. It wasn't just me.

Even artists who have a following of 10,000 share their struggles with getting their work out there. I couldn't believe that after all of this time, I hadn't fully registered that everyone struggles. It's also important to make connections. For most artists, opportunities are not going to just happen. We have to make them happen. Have you ever noticed that many galleries don't advertise a future exhibition for potential artists? It feels like rejection when you haven't even been given a chance to apply. We live in an era of contemporary art that is so modern, it's more about the physical experience. I found myself questioning, where does my work belong?

So, I decided to take the lemons that had been thrown at my face, and make lemonade. I wanted to craft a space for every type of art I could get my hands on. That space is Hope + Easel Collective.

I created Hope + Easel Collective to connect with some of my favorite emerging artists I either know personally, or who have stood out to me on Instagram. I wanted to give them an opportunity to teach, both myself and other artists, so that we can all learn from them. I wanted to promote them and their talents, and hopefully find a place for their art through connections with each other. Having a group of art friends is a bond like no other. The idea is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to art. 

There is always a place for you.

Jess Reyna


Jessie ReynaComment