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With Outdoor Retailer happening this week, we sat down with Jade Antoine, a talented illustrator who created some beautiful artwork for our booth in Salt Lake City. We’ve been a fan of Jade’s art for some time, so it seemed like a natural fit to team up with her for this exciting project. Check out our interview with her below, and make sure to take a look at more of work here.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where are you living now?

I primarily grew up in Colorado, but I’ve also lived in New Mexico, Arizona, and for a few years, on an Arabian horse ranch in Northern California. My parents were always up for experiencing new places, and I am kind of the same way even though the Western U.S. will forever have my heart.

Right now my husband has a work contract in New Zealand, so we will be Down Under until next year. The expat life is such a good learning experience. It can be quite isolating and humbling, but it’s also a great adventure.

How did you discover and develop your own personal style?

About three and a half years ago, I was traveling a lot and I wanted something creative to do in hotel rooms so I brought along some paper and ink pens. I just started drawing my own interpretations of elements of photographs and ideas from my imagination, and it just kind of developed from there.

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Would you walk us through your creative process?

I generally see a piece in my mind first, and then execute it, taking as many liberties as I want along the way. Sometimes it’s just as I imagined it, sometimes it’s better, and, well, sometimes it’s not. I’m pretty into experimenting, but I mostly draw what I’m passionate about – flora and fauna. I also have a hobby interest in design and architecture, so sometimes these influences sneak in as well.

Looking at your art, one would assume that you spend a lot of time outdoors. Do you? If so, what are your favorite things to do outdoors?

I do spend a lot of time outdoors. I probably hike and spend time with animals more than anything else at the moment. But growing up where I did, and in an outdoorsy family, I was always skiing (I worked as a ski/mountain bike instructor and hiking guide), 4-wheeling, and snowshoeing in the winter, and mountain biking, backpacking, and river rafting in the summer. My family was known for our month-long summer camping trips to very remote locations nowhere near a formal campground. I remember my friends thinking we were nuts.

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You seem to have a special connection to dogs and horses. How did that come about?

Both dogs and horses are particularly special to me. When I was growing up, we always lived on or next to ranches, and some of my earliest memories are of horses I loved. I have such an affinity for everything, from their shape to their noises to their personalities.

Besides being an artist, you’re also an ethologist. Would you explain what that is?

An ethologist is someone who studies the behavior of animals, generally in their natural environments. In my case, I study dogs and horses.

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What inspires you?

The natural world, design that considers human nature and nature simultaneously, creatives who bend the classics in inspiring new ways, underdogs who are killing it, people with grit and ambition and also love and integrity, open mindedness, animals’ lack of personal stories, my husband, the domino effect, and there’s so much more. I seem to find inspiration and interest in almost everything!

Jade Antoine Bio:

Born and raised in the wilds of the Southwestern United States, Jade has always spent as much time as possible in the wilderness and engaging in outdoor activities and sports. Jade was a relative late bloomer as a self-taught illustrator, having previously studied and conducted research in cognitive science and its history. The central themes in her illustration work are wholeheartedly linked to her love of animals, which led her to pursue further graduate training and work in clinical animal behavior, and her life long connection with the natural world. Through her studies and work she has had the opportunity to live in both England and New Zealand, and she has found her experiences traveling and living abroad to be invaluable in broadening her personal perspective and focusing her artistic aesthetic.