Interview with Theresa Jackson – Digital Artist

Theresa Jackson - Digital Artist
What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
My title depends on the time of day. During the day I am a graphic artist. It is primarily how I make my living. At night I work on my digital art and I teach. I am also a photographer, writer and an Adobe Community Professional.

What inspired you most to become a Photographer/photo artist? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I didn’t originally pursue this career. I always knew that I was supposed to be an artist, but it took me many years to figure out how.

I graduated in 1984 with a BFA from UCLA before there was such a thing as digital art, digital photography or Photoshop. I primarily took drawing, photography and sculpture classes. I loved photography, but couldn’t embrace the technical side of it. I hated making test strips. Much of the photography I did in college was experimental, like exposing my images through ink washed Mylar to create a painted effect.

My first full time job was with a small offset printer, which began my career in graphics. In 1989 I was introduced to digital editing (before Photoshop). My career path afforded me the opportunity to grow my skills alongside the emerging digital technology, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I embraced those skills as my art.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
Self Confidence. I don’t know why us artists are so insecure, but we are.

You have to absolutely love being creative and have faith in yourself, because you aren’t going to pursue a creative career for the money.

With all the new versions of Photoshop what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Program makes Photoshop affordable and accessible for so many more people. That’s pretty exciting.

The new Perspective Warp tool is brilliant. Recently I had to composite a bunch of tablets into a three dimensional space. The original tablet was photographed in a way that would have made the project impossible without the Perspective Warp tool.

I also love one click updates for all of my CC applications, Camera Raw as a Photoshop filter and 32bit HDR editing in Lightroom.

What Photoshop artists/creatives do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
First, I think it is important to make time for the masters of past eras. I recently rediscovered Gustav Klimt and had one of those OMG moments. I’ve obviously been influenced by his work without consciously knowing it. Gauguin and Matisse have inspired me as long as I can remember.

As for current artists, I follow many. I picked these three, because their talent and friendship inspire me almost daily.

Patrick LaMontagne is a prolific digital painter and cartoon artist. His paintings inspire me to want to draw or paint. His hard work and dedication motivate me to do the same.

Chuck Uebele is brilliant, and funny and humble. I am awed by his Photoshop knowledge and honored to call him a friend.

Alan Hess is a local San Diego professional photographer, with the coolest job in the world. The first time we met, I asked him to tell me why I should go to Photoshop World. He gave me the perfect answer, and for that I am forever grateful.

What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Photography the best?
I like Facebook because of the interaction. It’s definitely not the best platform for image sharing, but it’s a great place for relationship building and that is important too.

What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Whomever figures out how to protect an artist’s image rights, and makes it easy to track image theft will win.

What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Photography?
Everything will be mobile, Photoshop and photography. The DLSR as we know it today will die. The new professional camera will be small like our phones, but with removable lenses, memory cards, and manual controls. Everything will be controlled on the screen, which will essentially be the entire camera body. Before the DLSR completely dies, the remaining ones will be wifi enabled, include editing capabilities and social networking apps.

Follow Theresa here!  & on Facebook


  1. says

    Great interview, Andrew & Theresa!

    Love that perspective warp tool !

    I agree, self confidence is a big obstacle for a lot of people. It’s hard to put your stuff out there, leaving you vulnerable for all kinds of critiques.

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