Formed by 2020 graduates Shae Myles and Georgia Tooke, Jiggle N Juice is a platform dedicated to engaging in discursive and critical conversation, and showcasing creativity. Interview by Jody Mulvey.
Why did you set up Jiggle N Juice? Did you begin collaborating because the COVID-19 lockdown, or were you planning this before the pandemic hit?
We met in 2019, when Georgia undertook her exchange semester at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, where Shae was studying. We instantly became bffs, but when Georgia moved back to Canada, it was tricky to stay in touch. When lockdown began, we could finally FaceTime on a regular basis! Our calls started to consist of more in-depth discussion about art, and the art world in general. With degree shows in limbo, we began researching alternative options, and couldn’t find anything, so we decided to make our own. We started J&J as a platform for our first project: a virtual exhibition. Since then it’s evolved to house different projects and series, and is a platform for helping emerging artists navigate the art world.
Do you view Jiggle N Juice as complementary to your own practice? How have you found juggling these projects with anything else you currently are doing?
Shae has always felt that J&J has been a part of her own practice, but it has taken some time for Georgia to feel the same way. At first, Georgia felt that J&J was separate, because the work we were making as a collective wasn’t something that was taught in art school. Over the past year, Georgia has had to break down and examine what constitutes an ‘art practice’. She now sees J&J as complementary, as it is something that she actively creates.
When our countries are not in lockdown, we both work, alongside our own practices, so there is a lot of juggling involved. Everything we do is self-led, and to keep on top of things, we are avid planners. We support, encourage and uplift one another, which is crucial to keeping our collective alive!
How have you found your long-distance collaboration between Scotland and Canada? Do you think your experience of the arts is different in each of these countries?
Without the first lockdown, managing our collective definitely wouldn’t have been possible. Before, we only called each other once a month (if that). We’re already preparing for it to become more difficult when the world opens back up, but over the past year, we’ve established a solid foundation to rely on.
As 2020 sad grads, one thing we have in common is the desire to break away from traditional art institutions and make our own opportunities. The structures and systems in place are outdated and a lot has been brought to light recently surrounding these spaces. If you want to know more about this subject, we did a JAWBREAKER entitled ‘Corruption in the Art World‘. As for differences, we found our art school education varied in a number of ways. We also have a JAWBREAKER on that, called “Art School: Canada VS Scotland” (S1E6). You can watch these on our IGTV.
Your work centres around demystifying the arts and bridging the gap between art school and industry. Why do you believe this is so important?
The pandemic gave us time to re-evaluate the nature of the art world. Had there not been a moment to pause, there might not be the sense of urgency calling to overhaul the traditional systems in place. We, along with many other grads, weren’t seeing the necessary support. So we began to develop materials and support. At art school, there is not enough emphasis on how to actually be a working creative, and the modules that do exist tend to be outdated and out of touch, and ultimately unhelpful. We believe this is something art schools need to work on, but for the time being, there are plenty of platforms releasing amazing tips and guides, like @gatekeeperzine, @sadgrads2020, @pipelinegallery, @represent.creative and @_creativelives.
Over the past year, you have worked on a variety of projects. What has been the main thing you have learnt in carrying out these projects?
Work on stuff you care about! There’s no way we would be able to stay motivated if we didn’t love what we do. So much planning and prep goes on behind the scenes, so it’s really important that you enjoy the process and output, and are passionate about what you produce.
What does the future hold for Jiggle N Juice and how do you think lockdown (hopefully) ending will impact your collective?
The plan is for Shae to move to Canada as soon as it is safe to. We want to continue our work together irl, which will definitely be much easier. One of our main goals is to keep adding to our bank of support materials. Our long-term plan is to house and support an international community of creatives, and eventually we would love to make this our full-time job that actually pays the bills.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We want J&J to be an open community, so we always encourage feedback, discussion and questions. Our DMs are always open, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
Jiggle N Juice website graphics.