Jessica K. Haas: The Speed of Art
By Lesley Harris Colvett
Photography by Giddens & Co. Visuals
Jessica K. Haas took performing arts to a whole new level when she made history as the fastest female speedpainter in the world. Jessica, who has been a speedpainter for over half of her life, performs all across the country advocating and inspiring everyone to use their creative gifts, and Jessica’s gift of speedart has swept worldwide.
It all began when Jessica was 15 years old during her pageant days in Tennessee. While singing and dancing are the common talents in pageants, Jessica chose to showcase a different skillset: art. “I don’t know a world where art wasn’t in my world. I went through coloring books like crazy growing up,” she says. “I wanted to be true to myself and do what I was actually good at, so I figured out how to paint fast, because of the 90 second limit that is in pageants. That is not a lot of time to do art, so I figured out how to do it,” Jessica says. She was 15 years old, and she began making news for her unique talent, which became almost more interesting than the pageant itself.
Her passion and skill of speedpaint grew, she received accolades, and as Jessica got faster the art evolved. She started with charcoal and it grew into painting. “Now I paint on glass, wood, clothing, and murals. It is a pretty unique skillset,” she says. “I love to play with scale, and I invented and built all my own easels. These are not traditional paintings because the easels are not typical - they are made of steel, wood or glass,” Jessica says. “Speedpainting is very athletic. I am definitely out of breath after I perform, and when I do the 16 foot tall ones those are pretty intense. You have to be physically fit to be able to concentrate, and then deliver not just painting but a good piece of art.”
To watch Jessica speedpaint is very exciting, and you can see her hallmark performance when she won ABC’s The Gong Show on her website, www.jessicakhaas.com. “I got up there and I moved as fast as I could. I completed it and won the show, and that is when I set the record as the fastest speedpainter. It was cool when Jennifer Aniston gave me a 10,” she says.
Jessica has performed at almost every NBA and NFL halftime show, plus the NHL, and the MLB All-Star Game. A highlight for Jessica this summer was the Cannes Lions Festival. Jessica wowed guests with her speedart at a prestigious festival in Cannes, France, at the Google Beach for Google and YouTube. Jessica performed amongst the who’s who in the creativity world. “It was really cool being flown in by Google and performing on the French Riviera in Cannes,”
How does Jessica decide what to speedpaint? She bases some of the decision on how much time she has, for example halftime shows are usually in the six minute range, and she will paint one of the players, but she can also create a painting in just 42 seconds.
“One of my most unique moments was getting commissioned by NBC on Presidential election night in 2020 to paint ‘what 2020 was’ and the Presidential candidates as the votes were coming in,”
Jessica says one of her biggest accomplishments was BLOOM 2023, the very first full-length speedpainting theatrical show this past April in Silver Dollar City in Missouri at the Opera House Theater. Jessica transported the audience through her inspirational life story utilizing art, music and creative performances - while creating art in simply a few minutes. The show ran a whole month and took a lot of athleticism to perform. “I was getting messy with paint all in my hair… but seeing the reaction of the audience and receiving standing ovations, and seeing girls who were speechless that this can be done with art, and seeing that they got inspired was so impactful,” Jessica says. “This was a life-made moment for me, getting to see their reactions, and I think there will be a whole new line of speedpainters as a result of the shows.” There were dancers, a 10 foot tall coloring book, and painted Prince, Elvis and the Statue of Liberty that rose 16 feet tall, and a 24 foot wide glass easel that Jessica painted on in three minutes. The whole show was 45 minutes long with seven different paintings. “I was covered head to toe in paint,” Jessica says with a laugh.
In addition to making art, Jessica is also a model and has appeared in commercials for Sherwin Williams on the TBS Network.
Jessica is focusing on legacy and creating an entire field for upcoming speedpainters. “I know that there are going to be more girl speedpainters following me, and I want to leave them equipped and create an entire field of entertainment for speedpainters to arrive,” Jessica says.
Jessica’s art may be speedy, but her paintings are forever. Her speedart can be enjoyed all over the world - from homeowners who have commissioned pieces to paintings for corporate America, nonprofits, and celebrities. Many projects are on the horizon for Jessica, including partnerships with manufactured collectible items that will be in stores all over the world. “I started a movement, and I am excited that there are so many who want to do the same thing.” You just have to see it to believe it. Her website is: www.jessicakhaas.com and follow Jessica’s art and amazingness on Instagram at @jessicakhaas.