Mission: To inspire transformation through the arts.
Jessica Grace Leahy was born Jessica Grace Hoel. Her father was a wood sculptor and started teaching her when she was only 3. He gave Jessica a 110 film camera when she was 6, her first set of oils when she was 10, and then a 35 mm film camera, when she was 12. Jessica started extracurricular art training as a pre-teen at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, on Saturdays. As an adult, she has taken art classes at: UMass Boston and UMaine Augusta. Jessica has a BA in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater University). After receiving her degree, Jessica did some online instruction with Digital Tutors to brush up her Photoshop skills, plus learn Maya, Mudbox, and zBrush.
Before becoming The Unfolding Butterfly, Jessica was creating and selling her art as Jessica Hoel DBA The Hoel Studio. She sold her art in the Boston and Sacramento areas, under that name. She moved from Boston to Sacramento in 2007. Jessica moved back to Boston in 2012 and began another new chapter in her life. In 2016, she chose to go by The Unfolding Butterfly to symbolize the butterfly completing its transformation and emerging from its cocoon.
Other Info About Jessica: She has fibromyalgia. She is an abuse survivor. Jessica used to be an avid rock climber (mostly a boulderer). In the winter of 2009, she was also a skydiver in Davis, CA. At the time, Jessica earned her A license with the USPA. Her pug, Maya, is Jessica’s adorable assistant. Maya sits by, while Jessica does her artwork.
Community Involvement: Jessica aims to donate 1% of her profits annually to each of the following charities: Safe Horizon, DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Plus, the website is hosted by Green Geeks, who not only generate enough alternative energy to cover their own costs, they also make enough to cover two similarly sized businesses. Additionally, the building that The Unfolding Butterfly is located in, is solar powered.
Below are Jessica’s thoughts on what inspires her work:
Often, we are so wrapped up in the dramas of our daily lives, that we lose the bigger picture: If we continue to act in self-destructive ways, we will destroy our selves. To avoid doing so, we need to change our attitude towards all life to one of love. With love, we can create healing and new life. With each person that changes their perception to one of love, we increase our chances to heal our lives and our planet. We must learn to coexist with all our neighbors, whatever the race or species. As what we do to ourselves, also affects our human, animal, and plant neighbors. Act out of love towards yourself and others, and you will receive love in return. It all begins with you. Let the joys of life grow within you, and then spread to the world around you . . . as a flower grows under the light of the sun, spreads its seeds across the land, and creates more beauty for all.