jess-marie balli

the art of life within the arts

March 26, 2014
by Jessica Balli

As of March 2014

One dress size down, inches lost, and a whole heap of strength gained.

Leg press: 100 lbs

Bench press: 65 lbs

Chin ups (assisted): 85 lbs

Squats/American and Russian Kettle ball swings: 30 lbs

Rowing: 300 M in less than 3 minutes

Powerwalk/Jogging: 2min : 1min




November 24, 2013
by Jessica Balli

“I am Malala!” RAISE YOUR VOICE.


For a long time, I’ve known I’ve wanted to become an artist. What kind of art and why eluded me for some time.  In my journey at SMU, I have come to seek out the answer to the question:  “How can you change the world?” “What movement can you start?” And yes even this one, “So what? What makes your art so different?” At first, I felt I had none, and upon finding one, how could my art advocate for it? What would my art do for my community anyways??  I gave myself over to the process and a light started to flicker and has grown brighter and more powerful every day.  A passion as an advocate for abused women that has been buried underneath junk and miniscule goals has clawed its way to to the top and resonates within my soul and my mind with such great magnitude that I know, even the heavens comprehend. My choice of art, what I want to do with it, and why has become ever so clear: TO RAISE AWARENESS. An overwhelming desire to create art pieces of any medium, and have them displayed in safe houses for abused women, including bringing art programs into those undisclosed locations as a form of release and inspiration to both the women and children, has become my platform. I want my artwork to SPEAK OUT AGAINST ABUSE. I have begun to do just that and it is without a doubt, scary. Women who have endured abuse don’t speak about such things. It’s a taboo subject, and we sure don’t want to “step on someone’s toes” and upset the status quo.  Well, SCREW the status quo! As far as your toes go…move your damn feet! (wink-wink)

Though I say any medium, however, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with ceramics and have succumbed to the transformation into the role as a sculptor and ceramist. I have even changed my degree plan so I can aquire the skills I need to further my work. My most recent art piece I created is called “Soundwaves: Not My Kind of Love. Rise Against the Violence.”, a test piece and currently hanging in the Observations/Spaces OFAC studio.  In this piece, I have taken the sound waves of 6 words, 3 of negative and harsh origin and 3 of positive and uplifting origin, and have cut out the soundwave in a variety of fabrics and pinned them to foam board. The word is in stark contrast to the fabric that visually represents the word. Below each display is duplicate fabric for the viewer to touch. The fabric represents the abused woman and the mutation that she undergoes. The reason being is too often the “terms of endearment” that we use to describe our loved ones destroys the very fabric of our being, mutating one into an unfamiliar and abrasive weave that knows nothing of beauty or light, only function.

So I have begun to raise awareness and have started the process of seeking out those that have the knowledge I need in order to make this project a reality. I plan to expand this project and it most definitely needs some fine tuning. Even bring audio into it. Go take a look. Hold the fabric, touch it with your fingers, and look upon it while you say the word. Let yourself try to “marry” that word with the fabric and yourself. You probably can’t in one experience, but over a course of years, the contrasting elements do more than marry, but create such a bond that the fibers morph into a new and alien fabric. Feel the life of the abused woman. Feel free to leave a comment or your feedback on a piece of paper or sticky note. Even return to  my site and leave feedback here! I would love to know what you have to say about it, for come Tuesday, I will begin to dismantle to tweak.

Here’s a sample:


Baby bedding Print: Fleece.





So on this note, let your art have a VOICE! Let it be more than pretty. Let it be powerful. Move mountains. Open doors. Change lives. Inspire. Release. Break down. Build up. Lance.  Restore. Heal. Remind. Let it carry your signature, and make a world of difference in someone else’s life. If not, why are you creating anyhow?





October 30, 2013
by Jessica Balli

My Skills

I am skilled in many a things, but only selected ones carry a passion alongside them. I am skilled at being an interpreter for the deaf. I have the knack for the language, and an advantage that I did learn the language at an early age in life. I am fluent in both ASL, Signed English, PSE, and MCE. I can interpret in any educational, medical, and community environment. However, this skill doesn’t contain my heart’s passion, which is vital to the growth and continuous development of those skills. Also, when referring to “skills” is it just surface you are thinking about (I.e. I can take this job because I am skilled at painting, strumming the guitar, or have had multiple years of training as a dancer?) or is it more deeper than that? Being a student of The Meadows School of the Arts, and on a quest to find out who I really am as an artist, I have come across many skills/passions that I didn’t know I have due to exposure and introduction to a diverse genre of art. Considering my career is not over yet (academically-wise) I am sure I will stumble across more that strike a chord with me and ones that I could do without! Sorry Professor, not everyone likes adaptives and performance art but I am learning to “appreciate” it! I could state that I am skilled at painting (watercolor, acrylic, oil, and pastels), or sketching (albeit graphite or charcoal), but I am still learning and those skills are still evolving. Michelangelo at the age he created the Pieta, was still honing his craft even though the sculpture is considered a masterpiece from a master of the arts. So my approach to the insight of what my skills are go something like this:

I have such a great passion and mind for art, that I see the art, it’s characteristics, foundations, and it’s structure of what it started out as, it’s possibilities, all the way to what it will become through the stages of growth and development. A painting will never be, just a painting. A drawing will never be just a drawing, but inhabit life, fervor, and much more. I will not just live to push my own art. Don’t get me wrong, I want others to love my art as much as I do, but I can create for others, bringing to light the vision they have in their minds that they themselves cannot put down onto canvas. That would combine with my skill of interpretation, a skill that is necessary as an artist, or art and creative director. The marriage of my ever evolving surface skills supported by my foundational skills will transform me into a strong artist and entrepreneur.



October 2, 2013
by Jessica Balli
1 Comment

Elevator Speech-1st Cut

Hello. Jess-Marie Balli.  How are you today? I’m a Conceptual Artist and Advertising student at SMU; Future Creative Director of “something big”.  You know someone once threw open the doors to opportunity for me, allowing me to recognize my potential and passion for prolific, and ingenious advertising and conceptual art. At that moment I had a split-second choice to either mainstay a static stance in a going-no-where life or grab the industry by the horns, forever changing the art and advertising world. I chose, and that desire and drive that mainstays me, has brought me to you. I would like to sit down with you, here’s my card; finding out more about you and your company and how I can contribute to your company’s success. May I have your card?

September 25, 2013
by Jessica Balli

My Motivations

I don’t live in a bubble so naturally there are tons of distractions. I spend a lot of time at school or completing assignments at home at late hours of the night and morning because the household is so busy and others need my attention. I haven’t figured out how to stretch myself yet, and have come to the acceptance that I probably never will. Every minute I look over my work load and have to assess what can I address at this moment. I have an hour. What can I fit there? If I have too much reading to do, even though I spread it out over several days, something in life will cause a hiccup and delay the approach and execution of the assignment. My motivations will sometimes be directed by life’s distractions.


As far as my motivations are concerned, I have come to find myself insulted by this reading assignment, and the Ken Bain reading. The implication of cutting corners (effected by how you’re motivated) labels me as a less than par student or “surface” student with lack of intellectual deepness. Education dumps 72 hours worth of foreign material into the laps of students, with a deadline of completion within 24 hours. With these expectations and requirements, is it no wonder that students whom are intellectually deep function on the “surface” of things, finding short cuts to both comprehension and completion. Then let’s add the requirements in order attend and do better for themselves, that a certain GPA has to be obtained in order to gain a scholarship. If the scholarship can’t be obtained, then loans have to be taken out which means motivation to have multiple jobs to pay for the education, which in fact leads to less time to focus on school work, or substituting losing sleep for completed assignments. Those are surface motivations set up not by myself but by whichever educational institution I attend, which I have come to view as ‘distractions’. I have to work very hard to prevent those distractions from altering my method of informational intake. Having to work on the “surface” of things does not brand me as a less than par student.

My real motivations and why I torture myself working so hard, is not monetary driven, but rather independence. Having the ability to pay bills and knowing that my family’s needs are met is another factor. The other part that drives the motivation is conceptual comprehension and completion.  It’s fun to be in-the-know. It’s fun to take that knowledge to a whole new level. Having a purpose motivates me, even when bombarded with school work and responsibilities. Though my gratification and rewards are delayed until the completion of this journey, the small servings of satisfaction from tasks tackled and conquered along the way give me a sense of purpose and direction.

September 18, 2013
by Jessica Balli

My Values

Having the ability to maintain a set of values set in stone is near impossible. I say that, since life changes quite sporadically and unexpectedly, values will change as well (i.e. a couple with big plans to build a nest-egg and see the world before settling down and rearing children, end up expecting; Oops! Current values are a changing). Past values or current ones won’t always push you closer to that dream or goal. They are ever-changing like the path to success. Knowing that, what are my values and how do I set them? I set them for the stage in life I am currently in, with a plan A, B, and C. If I’m handed another basket, then I adjust my balance and keep juggling. After all, their happiness is more important than mine. What I produce has to be perfect, no mistakes; Giving it my all, all the time. However, it’s just a job, and it meets the bills. But next year, I’ll attempt it (school, better job, travel, etc). No time for rest, I can rest tomorrow. Wrong! Those are the old mentality values I had. It’s been a long time coming for a new set of values!  I can adjust, but in this new stage in my life, I have had to learn to say, “No. I cannot drive that tractor today.” Maybe it’s not time for me to grab those reins. Maybe, it’s NOT in my best interest or healthy for me at the time. I will re-adjust only after I re-evaluate what is important, to my success or progression, as a mom, a student, and future entrepreneur. “Their happiness is more important than mine; 150% Perfection while giving it my all, all the time!” What was I thinking?!?! No wonder I am exhausted! No wonder I’m feeling deflated. If you were on a plane and the cabin loses air pressure, you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. Well, if I am not at my best, whether emotionally, financially, mentally, or physically, how can I ensure that someone else is? I have to take care of myself first; make sure I have what I need to flourish, both personally and professionally. That feeds into not giving a hundred and ten percent to every aspect of my life. There’s just not simply enough to go around to share!  What I can do, is focus on the task at hand, know what I can give and how I should give it, and then do it. I have to set limits and say “No” where it is fitting to do so. If it has to be put on the back burner, then so be it. That just gives me time to analyze what is required to do the needful. The happiness of others is not my responsibility (trust me, that’s difficult to say as I have been a people pleaser all my life). My happiness is solely mine, and I do believe that as long as I am genuinely happy, others will feel and see that, taking a little bit of that into them. I used to think that as long as I had the job and made money, I’m happy. Well, try, as long as I have FOUR jobs, that meet the bills, I’m happy. NO! If it’s just a job, not doing what I love, then my performance will show negatively and be in the red. I was designed with specific talents ingrained in my being to establish the very foundation that my dreams are to be built upon and it is a true disservice and injustice to myself to ignore such characteristics and gifts just to make a dollar. Money, though a wonderful tool, is not important to me nor fame. I do believe as long as I am doing what I love, and it brings me happiness, and inspires someone else do follow their dreams and aspirations while opening their eyes to their potential, then both myself and my chosen profession will flourish. I will grow within the environment that feeds me. I as an employer, would not hire an employee to work in customer service who hates working with people. Only governmental agencies do that. I will take time to rest, allowing my mind to restart and develop more creativity. My creativity and ingenious will get my name out there and be known in the art world. A burnt-out artist cannot produce. To get my name out there, and I don’t mean “fame”, but as an established artisan and creative director that knows her stuff, I will allow myself to compete and not be fearful of it. If I fail, then it a lesson learned to try a different approach and tactic, but doesn’t mean I fail at life and my profession completely. It just allows me to grow, evolving into a more versed and dynamic artisan. Lastly, but probably the most important value of them all, is never to delay my success. Never assume that there will be a second chance or another time will arise. I am not promised today, nor tomorrow and when dreams are put off, a wall of resentment is built that is cemented together with “should-woulda-coulda’s”. Do some of these values conflict? Absolutely. I juggle the role of mom, provider, student, and entrepreneur. I want to be a great mom and do what is best for my children, ensuring their happiness, growth and development as any mom would want. That’s where I return to analyzing my situation/circumstances and reflect on how not doing the needful for myself (returning to school) have negative effects later on down the road, regardless if it is not what they want. I don’t expect all these aspects of my life to align perfectly. That would imply, perfection can be obtained. However, I will make them collaborate together around my epicenter, until at which time I determine which direction and what time, they spin off.

September 11, 2013
by Jessica Balli

My Work Habits

My work habits…Some would say that I am too focused. Here is the layout of my day. I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, go to school, and in between classes, I am studying and completing assignments. After the long school day, I hurry over to my work place, rush home, get dinner on the table and children situated, and work on assignments until I am done (which could be in the wee hours of the morning depending on the project and work load). This is a Monday through Friday ordeal. It’s how I live during the academic school year. Though, through the week, I will go to bed early as long as I have assignments knocked out, or desperately need more than four hours of sleep (it currently is 11:47 pm and I am completing this assignment, so there you go). How do I do it? I have no idea. I just know it has to be done. So that is just MY schedule. I try to maintain my focus on the task at hand, and sometimes will multi-task (especially when it comes to art projects where the gesso has to dry and what not). I put myself on a schedule. Every week in my planner, there is a list of assignments and date designated due. I try to make sure all assignments are completed ahead of schedule, not letting myself fall behind. If several projects are due (even ones with work), I will prioritize them according to difficulty of task. Easy ones that can be knocked out easily, I will do first (to clarify, I am not meaning guessing at answers or doing a poor job, but assignments that I am prepared for and know the material). The harder ones I will break into sections and address until done. Most of my major art projects are designated for the weekend where I have more hours to spend “in studio”. Once I am in the flow, I don’t like being interrupted. When I am “in studio”, I force myself to focus completely on the task and not let outside stimuli distract me (i.e. Facebook, T.V., etc). Depending on the mood of the project, I will play music and completely immerse myself into the art, only to resurface at the time I can take a break to reflect on my marks. That’s how things get done. So far, it’s pretty effective!