As was the case for many people, NY-based musician JJ Mitchell's lifestyle was turned on it's head when the pandemic hit. A full-time musician since 2015(she's one half of duo Overcoats), she was suddenly offered a moment of reflection and a chance to finally explore her visual arts passions. Out of this was born Studio Joom, the brainchild of that exploration into handmade ceramics and small acrylic paintings. We asked this NY/Egypt/England-raised artist a few questions about life and where she's finding pleasure.
Studio Joom's 4th drop will be available May 2nd, follow for more info @studio.joom
What's bringing you pleasure these days?
At the risk of sounding like a 75 year old woman...I'd have to say pottery and gardening. Both have been ways of accessing a calm but productive flow. And the fruits of my labors both literally and metaphorically have brought me a lot of joy.
What has been the biggest personal shift for you over the last year?
Pace. I have really had to shift my understanding of progress, timelines, and success. Over the past year I have come to really appreciate working at a slower and more intentional pace, both in music and visual art. I recently read on a Yogi tea bag label "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." And I think my newfound interest in gardening, and letting things develop and grow at the speed they are meant to, has had a positive effect on all of my other pursuits.
What's your Sunday routine right now?
Well, I recently moved into an apartment with a BATHTUB. So my Sundays tend to include park hangs with friends, painting, cleaning my messy room, and of course, a relaxing soak in the tub.
Music vs. ceramics: how are they different? The same?
Music and ceramics feel very similar to me in the way that they allow for processing and reflection. Both feel like avenues to express emotion and turn ugly lumps of clay (read: emotions) into beautiful artifacts of a moment in our lives. The difference for me, is that ceramics has ended up more of a solitary activity, where I let my mind wander and I almost disengage. Whereas music has always been a collaborative creation. While I was quarantining separately from my bandmate Hana this past year, Studio Joom offered a way to fully expand on some creative ideas that have been brewing for a few years now. And in the moments where Hana and I couldn't be writing and singing together, I was able to exercise the creative muscle in a more tactile way.
What's coming up for Overcoats this year?
We have a new EP coming out on June 4th, 2021! We worked remotely with some artists we love and admire to create a project called Used To Be Scared Of The Dark. The first song, The Hardest Part featuring Tennis is already out and you can listen to it everywhere and anywhere. Live music is still so uncertain this year and we are trying to see how the landscape of touring unfolds this fall. But hopefully (fingers crossed) we will be able to play music again soon!