Creating Culture: Why Not?

As far back as Jules Gissler can remember, she has been an artist. 

From day one, she felt it was her calling to create. She recalls making up stories with friends about little people living in their hats. She even DIY’d her own Barbie Dreamhouse. Growing up in Montana, Gissler was often chosen by her elementary school teachers to design the class bulletin boards or make posters.

“I was asked to paint a compass rose on our playground in grade school and I guarded that thing with my life,” Gissler said. 

That early creativity led her to turn her passion into a career. Today, Gissler commissions pet portraits, illustrations, abstract paintings, collages and more. Her whimsical and dynamic style of art features bold colors, intricate backgrounds, curvy lines and a distinct quirkiness.

“A lot of people say, ‘You need to just focus on one thing,’” she said. “I couldn’t. I finally threw in the towel and said, ‘I’m doing what I know is from my heart,’ and I think it makes me even more creative.”

Not just creative in art, Gissler also writes short stories about some of her paintings, which showcases her humorous side. Her portrait of a woman titled “GeOrgEanN RuTh EliZabEth MiRiaM MaVe KeeLer’’ tells the story of a woman not too pleased about having to take a photo of herself. She wears sunglasses under the guise of giving her an outdoorsy appearance, but in reality, she had too much Limoncello the night before.

“Getting Your Magic Back” is a poetry book by Gissler, which tells the story of finding yourself after heartbreak. Lending her writing and artistic talents to the book, it provides a glimmer of hope for people facing similar situations. In part, it reads, “Stop! Breathe – I must focus on me / What is my life? What does it mean to me? / I turn toward my passions, sleeping deep in my soul / Wake up! I need you! We are changing my role!”

While she was writing “Getting Your Magic Back,” the pandemic hit, leading to her departure from her receptionist job. The situation inspired Gissler to finally embrace her career as a full-time artist.

“My two favorite words are “why not?” You don’t want fear to get in the way of your life. What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Gissler said. “You don’t want to look back and regret anything.”

Eclectic as it is, she finds deep meaning in her work, especially her pet portraits, which are often commissioned by people who have lost their furry friend.

In the summer of 2023, Gissler was on a plane from Phoenix to Santa Barbara to celebrate the life of Peter, someone she loved very much who passed away from cancer.

“I got on the airplane and sat down and this young couple sat next to me. We started chatting, and they told me she was pregnant,” Gissler recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, what are you thinking about naming your child?’ and they said, ‘Well, we’re thinking about naming him Peter.’”

The couple, Natalie and Chad, explained that they were drawn to the name and were looking for a sign from the universe — and that sign came to them in Jules Gissler. They told Gissler about their late dog, Moose, an Italian greyhound that loved to snuggle and give kisses. One day, Natalie took Moose on a walk with a friend and her pup, when another dog approached the pair and started attacking her friend’s dog. In an act of bravery, Moose stepped in to defend his friend, ultimately sacrificing his life.

The couple stayed in touch with Gissler and commissioned her to do a portrait of their beloved Moose as a Christmas gift. The portrait features Moose with antlers, a bow tie and plaid background — very fitting for his personality. When she dropped the painting at their house, she met 3-week-old baby Peter.

“When I hear people say, ‘Your art or your story or whatever brings joy,’ it makes me smile. I mean, we need so much of that in this world,” Gissler said. “It just warms my heart, my little contribution.”

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About Abby Petersen

Abby is Frontdoors Media's Digital Editor and Production Coordinator. She has a background in writing, social media management and public relations.

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