Jean Drayovitch is a native Floridian who was born near Vero Beach and raised in Alachua and St. Johns Counties. Growing up among orange blossoms and shell paved roads, Jean developed a love for Florida’s natural beauty at an early age. Young Jean was a headstrong, intense girl and also a bit of a tomboy. Gifted with creative ability and keen observation, she enjoyed solitary moments with art supplies and won ribbons for her artwork in elementary school. As a girl scout attending horse camp, Jean garnered attention when she drew a perfect anatomical horse diagram complete with grooming supplies. Horses would remain a key subject in Jean’s artwork for years.
Her first formal art instruction came at age 12 drawing a boat house and cypress stumps along the banks of St. Johns River. While in high school, Jean’s parents divorced and art became an indispensable creative outlet. At lunch Jean would avoid the school cafeteria in favor of the art room. Art teacher Kathy Skaggs recognized Jean’s talent, encouraged her to submit art into juried shows, and helped her build a portfolio to apply to art colleges. Disappointed to have missed a full scholarship to Savannah College of Art and Design by a single award, Jean accepted a full scholarship to an honors science/RN program. This medical training combined with Jean’s kindhearted nature and strong desire to help those in need would ultimately direct Jean to become an exceptional nurse.
Employed as a full-time RN following graduation, Jean took up residence in downtown St. Augustine. She joined the town’s cultural scene, hosting open mic nights, writing poetry, teaching drawing classes and painting commissioned pieces. With murals in the Manatee Café, kids’ placemats in Carmelo’s Pizza, and paintings regularly on display in local establishments, Jean continues to make her mark on the Old City. In 2011, she and another artist founded the Anonymous Society of Artists to network with other local artists. This group meets weekly to draw and paint together and encourage its participants to reach their full potential as artists.
As a Florida Native, living in St. Augustine, I feel my work reflects a connection to the people, landscape, wildlife and energy of the area. Sometimes I feel more like an innovator than a creator. Nature can be overwhelming and profound. My butterfly garden is a small sample of inspiration, or taking photos with a digital camera. Creative ideas spin from nature’s composition or anything man made and convoluted. I enjoy exploring new mediums, making journal notes, examining good or bad examples of art and literature. (Note: Good, bad, and ugly are all matters of opinion.)
Creation is a flow, sensitive to everything, and unleashed on anything. Ideas happen whilst riding bicycles at night or strolling aimlessly down countless streets for an artist’s date of serendipity. This town has a great energy which is evident through locally owned businesses, restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and galleries. The downtown architecture is encapsulating of the Old World and when combined with the bells ringing in the plaza and brick streets underfoot, as much a visual escape as auditory bliss.
Survival lies in the ability to barter and trade any handmade art for money or other, plus the action of networking, the participation in opportunity, and finally the embracing of positive outcomes… no matter how small the success. I believe in luck, more than religion but always count my blessings. Pablo Picasso said it best when he expressed, “If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”