Eighteen months after the Woolsey Fire destroyed 40 of her paintings, artist Forrest Jade had a new complication to face in the form of the coronavirus pandemic.Jade, a resident of Agoura Hills where she also has her studio, owns and operates Artists Alibi, her small business for selling her artwork. The prices range from $150 for an acrylic painting into the thousands of dollars for those done in oil and using 24-karat gold leafing.
She handled the pandemic by adapting to the new situation it presented her with.First, Jade started a website. Then she branched out and began to put her artistic creations on apparel such as tie-dyed t-shirts and other clothing items.
“I did that and advertised it online through social media,” she said. “I have been seeing what other artists are doing as well to keep themselves afloat.”At the time the pandemic started last March, Jade was being mentored. That of course stopped when businesses began to shut down and stay-at-home orders went into effect.
Without her mentors, Jade said she had to count on what she knew and had already picked up.
“I relied on my instincts about what was right to do,” she said.
What other small business owners can learn from her experience is that if you get in touch with what you love, nothing should affect that, Jade continued.“You can always find a way, no matter what happens,” she added. “I think you have to be positive and spread love and remember that when something bad happens, something good is right around the corner and you take that opportunity as much as you can.”As for the 40 paintings she lost in the Woolsey Fire of November 2018, Jade said she was going to recreate many of them.
The only painting that survived because it was in her car is called “Premonition” because it looks eerily similar to how Malibu appeared during the fire.
“That painting was finished two days before the fire happened,” Jade said.
One of her favorite paintings, however, never survived the fire. She admits that she did not take as many photos of her painting as she should have, including of that one. She said she will have to redo that painting from memory.
It depicted a silhouette of a woman and inside the figure was a jungle scene. Her hair was up in a bun, and it was made of leaves and flowers, Jade said.
“I will recreate that one because it was my favorite piece,” she added. “I am working on so many other pieces right now. I am hoping to re-establish what I had and move forward from there.” Her ultimate goal is to eventually open a sanctuary for both animals and for abused and neglected children. The children would interact with the animals and be able to express themselves and their relations to the animals in a creative way, she said.“That is my overall goal to do with my art,” Jade said.