Calling all 'weirdos': Kamloops punk rock DIY artist on building community - InfoNews

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Calling all 'weirdos': Kamloops punk rock DIY artist on building community

Jess Santos, 32, is a Kamloops artist who loves to make her own bags and design them by hand. She is pictured on May 2, 2019, showing a rubber stamp used to make designs on her products.
May 04, 2019 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS — When Jess Santos was still in high school she knew she had a passion for two things in her life: punk rock music and making things with her hands.

They've remained with her ever since. The 32-year-old artist makes and sells her own bags, all designed by hand and she's always been part of the punk scene, even if she had to make it herself.

When you think of punk, you probably picture mohawks and mosh pits. But for Santos, the scene somehow introduced her to, and fostered a continuous, creative do-it-yourself culture.

After finishing a college program for fashion design, Santos moved to Southern Ontario where she found others like her and helped started a flea market in London, Ontario where like-minded artists came together to sell their work.

“It’s a gathering of weirdos,” she says. “That’s what a punk rock flea market is.”

Santos shows two products where she used the same stamp to make two different items on May 2, 2019.
Santos shows two products where she used the same stamp to make two different items on May 2, 2019.

When she’s not working her day job as a cannabis consultant, she spends her time making makeup bags, tote bags and fanny packs all designed by hand for her company Nervous Habits.  The name comes from a popular song.

She hand stamps her products with designs ranging from lightning bolts, coffins, skulls, or a combination of things. Some of her stuff has even made it in local stores downtown like the Art We Are Cafe, and she also sells her work online.

After finally deciding to come back home to Kamloops for a work opportunity in September, Santos is once again looking for her community.

“I love building a community,” she says. “I would love to do an alternative flea market or just be involved with other artists.”

And she’s not looking to exclude anyone just because they aren’t into her music, it's for anyone who loves to be creative and make things themselves.

“I have friends who are not punk rockers by any means but they make things and they have a do-it-yourself way of thinking and life,” she says.

Santos says if she could financially sustain herself solely on her art, she would do it full-time, but despite not being able to financially support herself just from her art, she doesn’t see herself stopping anytime soon.

“I love being a maker,” she says.

Check out more products by Nervous Habits by clicking here.

Santos shows some of the flat pouches she makes and designs by hand on May 2, 2019.
Santos shows some of the flat pouches she makes and designs by hand on May 2, 2019.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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