Jaclyn Foglia runs Jaclyn’s Alterations & Art, where she makes hand-made alterations to Magic the Gathering cards, but as this discussion reveals, she has bigger plans for her art. This Latham, New York native is now living in Troy, New York, where she is out of school and ready to take on the world.
Agent Palmer [AP]: Let’s start with the basics. You where do you live and how long have you been there?
Jaclyn Foglia [JF]: Troy, New York for five years.
[AP]: How did you end up there?
[JF]: My hometown is 20 minutes away. I moved to attend school and be closer to work.
[AP]: Are you married or in a committed relationship? Do you have any kids?
[JF]: I am currently in a committed relationship. The only child I currently have is my fur baby.
[AP]: What is your current profession and do you have any side jobs or professions?
[JF]: Current full time profession is a loan officer at my local credit union. Art and painting is my passion. I have combined that with my hobby of Magic the Gathering and am lucky enough to have turned altering into a part time job.
[AP]: What are your favorite ways to spend your free time?
[JF]: I enjoy painting and reading. I ride bikes and hike when the weather is nice and snowboard when there is snow.
[AP]: What are your favorite books?
[JF]: 50 Shades of Grey. Harry Potter. The Forgotten Realms series.
[AP]: Forgotten Realms, huh? Do you play D&D?
[JF]: I have in the past. But not anymore. The fantasy genre and world created are fascinating.
[AP]: Fantasy and Magic: the Gathering go hand in hand. Having worked in a Magic store, in high school, I am aware that back then, there weren’t many females playing the game. How did you get into the game?
[JF]: I actually went into a game store for the first time since it was a used book store, as well. AND they had cats there. So I went and spent my time there as my boyfriend played FNM. This was 10 years ago. The stores I currently frequent are strictly game stores and as there are a lot less females in game stores, but there are consistently becoming more women there.
[AP]: And how do you deal with playing in a very male-centric game?
[JF]: I play very casually. In prereleases and in drafts. I have been constructing an EDH deck and tiny leader deck since they are also casual. Honestly, most magic players at tournaments could care less if a woman is present and think of her as another player. Sure, you get the one player here or there who gawks at women who come into the store, but it is much more commonplace now days to have women playing in tournaments and hanging out in game stores.
[AP]: What are your thoughts on the current bullying happening to women in typically male dominated games?
[JF]: Maybe I just have a thick skin, but I don’t see it as much as you would think. I am also a friendly outgoing person and take the time and make the effort to talk to the other players. When I go to a game store in my area, I know most, if not all of the players. The bullying I have seen is more about the way a person plays then if they are male or female. If a player doesn’t know the rules or how cards work in the game or play slower than the usual player, it is going to be a situation where the other player is not pleased.
[AP]: Before we move on to the art and alterations, let’s get some information about the kind of Magic player you are. How many decks do you have?
[JF]: Currently one. EDH. Working on a second one. As well as a tiny leaders deck.
[AP]: Favorite color?
[AP]: Favorite Race?
[JF]: Elves. 😉
[AP]: Now onto the art. Magic is full of art, so who is your favorite Magic artist?
[JF]: Without question, Terese Nielsen. Her use of mediums and artistic style is amazing and has inspired me to pursue my art and take it in the direction I am going. She is somewhat of an idol for me with regards to her accomplishments.
[AP]: What started you in altering Magic: the Gathering cards?
[JF]: I actually paint miniatures for my Hordes army. As I was playing more magic six years ago, I was at the game store often. I decided to take a paint brush to some of my cards and it became a hobby for me from that point on.
[AP]: How do you alter, what is your process?
[JF]: I analyze each project to figure out where to start. with border extensions, I lay a base layer down and then use multiple thin layers to cover the borders and match the colors already on the card. For characters, I cover the card with a thin layer and then draw or trace from that point.
[AP]: What is the most productive/creative setting for you to accomplish your work?
[JF]: Honestly, it varies depending on my mood. Sometimes my desk with quiet, sometimes I want music on. Other times I can really get a lot done at a local game store.
[AP]: Working at a game store, must be fraught with interruptions? Is it? How do you deal with starting and stopping, when people interrupt to talk to you?
[JF]: I usually put in my head phones and sink into my zone. At least during the rounds that people are playing. In between rounds, I talk to people while I work and sometimes it does cause me to stop working. But the socialization and networking is a huge benefit and a big part of being an artist.
[AP]: How well do you manage your time? And how do you or don’t you manage it?
[JF]: Time management has always been important to me and necessary throughout juggling school and work. When dealing with people’s money and commissioned art work, having a completion date and time frame is essential. I always try to stay in contact with my clients, but sometimes life happens and it isn’t always possible. Also, some pieces take a longer time than I predict and completion dates get pushed back. The goal for 2015 is to stay as close to the completion date as possible.
[AP]: Do you have a limit for the amount of alterations you will take on at any given time? If so, what is that limit and how often have you reached that limit?
[JF]: I have a limit based on time. If someone asks me to do a massive alteration project, I tell them a realistic time frame and I will work on their project in between other commissions. I still want other people to have the opportunity to have art work done and this method works best for the client and I. I have taken on a project of 20 cards recently and have done up to 50 card projects at one time.
[AP]: Favorite card you’ve altered?
[JF]: The Sensei’s Divining Top that I made look like Terese Nielsen’s guru forest. I took a lot of time on this piece and challenged myself and was honored to base a piece of my work off my idols piece.
[AP]: Have you ever created many different alterations for the same card? What’s the card and how many variations have you done on it?
[JF]: Sol ring is a card that is altered often. I have done 3 or 4 variations that I can think of. Different colors, Different borders, etc.
[AP]: What is the most expensive card you have ever altered, if you keep track of such things?
[JF]: I have altered an array of dual lands as well as pieces of power nine. I don’t know an exact dollar amount though.
[AP]: Is there a card that you have yet to alter, that you would like to?
[JF]: I enjoy altering foreign cards.
[AP]: What hasn’t been checked off your bucket list?
[JF]: Oh so many things! I have a list of countries I want to visit. I would like to see parts of all 50 states. Skydive. Scuba dive. Just to name a few.
[AP]: Was being an artist your first choice for a career path?
[JF]: Only a few years ago, I wanted to be a physical therapist because I love helping people. Art is a passion and I would love to make it into my career. My goal in life, no matter where I land, is to love what I do and to do what I love.
[AP]: Technology has changed how art is made, created and even drawn. What are your thoughts on art as technology encroaches on drawing by hand?
[JF]: A lot, if not most, of the art we currently see is produced through photoshop. This has its pros and cons. It is a great way to add colors and details not possible before. But it eliminates having that physical connection with the work. As well as having those pieces to put on display or sell to fans.
[AP]: You obviously alter by hand, but do you think that for art in general, something is lost by not having, what what you call, “a physical connection with the work?”
[JF]: I don’t think anything is lost. The artwork being produced is amazing in all aspects. Details, colors and styles are still unique to the artist. It takes the same amount of time and creativity to create artwork no matter what medium or canvas is used. I personally enjoy getting my hands dirty. Having a paint brush and palette are what I feel comfortable with. I am currently using different mediums and trying out different canvases for art (beside magic cards). I think that having experience and trying new things outside of my normal process will allow me to learn through trial and error as well as to create unique pieces.
[AP]: As an artist, what inspires you to start a new project?
[JF]: Anything really but at this point in my life, mostly people and nature. The people in my life and the people I interact with highly inspire me. Whether it is through encouragement, praise or critque. I am lucky enough to have people in my life who support me and motivate me through daily interactions. Nature inspires me just by how surreal so many things are and how much bigger than myself the universe is.
[AP]: Professionally or in your side projects, what are some of your big successes?
[JF]: Over the summer, I branched out into things that I was not comfortable or confident in painting. I spent a lot of time on these projects and am proud of the way these came out. Trying new things and challenging myself leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment.
[AP]: If you don’t mind, what were some of the projects and why were they uncomfortable? And have you gotten over the “not comfortable” part?
[JF]: They were more than just characters or extensions. I ventured out and changed the entire background on a bunch of pieces. I made the background on a Savannah to be a lioness in a field with deer/ zebra in the distance. I also made the background of a Sensei’s Divining Top into a Guru forest background. I have gotten over those uncomfortable parts and now do them all the time. I have also been working on my details and realism in my characters.
[AP]: What can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
[JF]: I am currently working to expand my skill sets and realistic details and effects. I will also be producing some original art (at least that is the goal). But can never tell how many commissions I will have each month.
[AP]: What medium will you be producing your original art in?
[JF]: I will initially be working with acrylics, as they are most comfortable for me. I will be doing mixed mediums pieces and introducing different mediums into the piece along with acrylics. I want to see how different mediums mix and react with acrylics.
[AP]: Some people are naturally talented others learn it. Did you come by it naturally or was it learned from the school you attended?
[JF]: I believe that certain things can be learned. But that talent does need to be there naturally and can be molded and improved throughout the years. I came by art (drawing, painting, etc) as a child and loved doing crafts. Through out the years, my interests shifted from drawing to painting and then combined with my hobby. I did take general art classes in college as part of my degree, and always enjoy learning new techniques and finding new mediums to work with.
[AP]: More favorite questions. Favorite movies?
[JF]: Harry Potter of course.
[AP]: Favorite TV Shows?
[JF]: The Big Bang Theory. Game of Thrones.
[AP]: In those, who are your favorite characters in those? Why?
[JF]: Hermione <3 She is a witty and smart character. Not to mention that Emma Watson is gorgeous and inspirational. Leonard! I even named my dog after him, haha. Arya is my favorite character in Game of Thrones, her story and her character from the books are what makes her my favorite in the show.
[AP]: Have you read the books upon which Game of Thrones is based? If so, which do you prefer?
[JF]: I have read the books. I read the first book before the first season, and wish they had added more details and scenes. I realize that is not possible in shows though. The show is an addition and different take on the book. I will be reading the remaining of the books after watching the corresponding seasons.
[AP]: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
[JF]: Never give up.
[AP]: And we’ll end with the best advice you could give to someone?
[JF]: Change your outlook on life by being more positive. It takes less energy to be positive than negative.
[AP]: Thank you for your time. You may now be released back to the credit union and your, now piling up, Magic the Gather Alteration commissions.
[JF]: You are so very welcome. Thank you for the opporutnity and for taking the time to get to know more about me and my work.
So there you have it, Jaclyn is an alterist and an artist, who keeps looking for opportunities to better herself. You can find her and her work on AlterationsandArt.com, on Twitter @JaclynFoglia, on Instagram @Jaclyn_Foglia, on her Tumblr page and on her Facebook page.