Mission: To celebrate and honor the diversity and beauty of life through my art, photography, and story. I create and capture images of creatures, both real and imagined, as well as other natural elements. I share my vision and inspiration with the world, hoping to spark joy and curiosity in others.
About Jessica: Jessica Grace Leahy was born Jessica Grace Hoel. She creates art inspired by animals and nature, as they are sources of healing and joy for her. She has C-PTSD (Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) due to repeated traumas that started in early childhood, as well as chronic pain and migraines. Her art helps her cope and express herself in a positive and beautiful way.
At the end of 2020, Jessica remembered a place that her paternal grandmother used to bring her when she was a child: The Greenbriar Nature Center. They used to walk the paths, as well as buy Thorton W. Burgess’s books and cup plates. Jessica used to love reading his books which had talking animals. Since remembering this, she’s decided to go back to her roots and write sleep stories that end in meditations. These sleep stories take place in Jessica’s mystical inner world, Haven, and feature the subjects of her art that inhabit it. The sleep stories are available in our Podcast.
Jessica's Artistic Background: 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.
Professional Experience: 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 chrysalis. Over the years, she has shown her work in restaurants, coffee shops, books stores, small galleries, and other event venues.
Community Involvement: Jessica donates 10% of the sales of her original art to the Thornton W. Burgess Society to help keep the Greenbriar Nature Center in operation. When she walks, she uses the Charity Miles app to support World Wildlife Fund. Jessica also supports WWF when she shops on Amazon with Amazon Smile. She also gives to other nature organizations when she is able to.