DONNASUE JACOBI, BOOK ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHER
Donnasue Jacobi was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Home of the late Frank Zappa and his “valley girl” legacy. Her art interests in school were first influenced by the “psychedelic age” of bright colors and bold designs; however, her education was in the styles of the renaissance sculpture and painting masters. Spending her summers on her grandparents ranch in Missouri gave her an awareness of nature and animals as she tended to the horses they boarded and helped to collect strawberries for the evening’s dessert.
Donnasue’s first introduction to an art job during high school was creating paper mache dolls and working at the Disney Studios. During college she illustrated recipes for a cookbook publisher creating pen & ink drawings and typesetting the text. This experience was the first in graphic design and she decided that she would like to work in the graphic design art world.
In July 1978 she moved to the Silicon Valley to start a long career as a technical illustration contractor. After too many years designing weaponry for the military complexes from the drawing board, she ventured out into the newly started high tech world and worked at Stanford University in the IT area. This was at a time when computers were first going into offices and she was hired to train the staff and professors on how to use Stanford’s systems. Since she had already been training dogs, the HR folks thought she’d be able to train the “eccentric professors.” After 7 years at Stanford, she decided to go back to the art world and start her own design company in 1995 [Paws 4 Art].
While building up her business, she wanted to offer her clients affordable product photography. Donnasue started working in with photography in 1997. She eventually moved into fine-art photography as another way of expressing her artist desires. When the dot-com bust hit her design business she decided that it was time to work as much as possible on her fine art photography, and wanted to experiment with other print media. Her photography is sometimes used in monoprints and Polaroid transfer prints. Her work has been shown and sold in many local galleries and retail stores
In nature, nothing exists in isolation. The most interesting scenes are simple visuals that most people pass by. There is great beauty and rich textured details in every day things in our environment. My day job as a dog trainer and dog walker allows me to see many neighborhoods up close and personal. I often let the dogs I’m walking help me find really interesting places – based on their sniffing desires. I focus on a shot of an everyday object that inspires closer examination, and then continue my walks until the next discovery.
I express the impact nature has on me through photography. I paint with both my camera and brushes to experience the joy of being in the moment with my subjects. I use traditional silver gelatin processes in a darkroom to create photographs. I then add various treatments to the prints, such as sepia toning or painting with a heavy pigmented oil paint. The goal is to produce a print that is true to the details of the original subject.
I enjoy making close-ups of details in plants, animals, and architectural elements. Objects of vital color and texture receive extra attention to the smallest of details, like roses on the side of an 1870’s barn, or the pollen inside a calla lily’s folds. My photographs say “really look at me.”