During these uncertain times, Jardan Doneghy has decided to release her control on life and follow whatever path presents itself. The current path she is following has led her back to the home where she grew up.

“I have released my sense of control,” Doneghy said. “If I can just be my best self, what’s supposed to happen is going to happen. All I have to do is play my role.”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Doneghy moved back to Frankfort from Atlanta, Georgia, to quarantine her mother, Marjorie Willis. 

With her mother having her art studio, Duncan Designs, in Doneghy’s childhood home — which was also the home her mother grew up in at 317 Third St. — Doneghy decided to set up shop in the house.

As her mother worked on pour paintings in the back room, Doneghy grabbed her acrylics and went to work in the front room of the house.

“She laid the foundation and had the environment here,” she said. 

After 37 days into quarantine, Doneghy started to have a collection of paintings she called “Quarantine Dreams.”

After 112 days of quarantine, she launched her studio “Wild Sassaby.”

The name “Wild Sassaby” is what Doneghy named the first painting she created when she was 6 years old. 

“It was abstract,” she said. “It didn’t mean anything at the time, but now it means the sense of dreaming and exploration,” which was something she yearned to get back to before the start of the pandemic. 

Doneghy graduated from Frankfort High School in 2004. She attended Florida A&M and got a degree in business and graphic design. She then went to graduate school at Florida State and obtained a degree in integrated marketing communications.

In 2011, she went to work for Delta as a contractor, managing the company’s west coast creative communications.

“I was doing exactly what I set out to do,” Doneghy said. “I did a lot of research, focus groups, strategic conversations. I got to mix that business degree with the creative advertising side.”

However, in 2017, Doneghy began to feel like she was hitting a glass ceiling, and her yearning to appease her 80-year-old self began to set in.

“When I’m 80, I want to feel like I truly lived my purpose,” she said. “I want to feel at the end of my life I can look and see an imprint I’ve made and have something to show for it. I want to help others pursue their story as well.”

She started to “toil the soil” and got into photography. She started a fashion blog and even became an Instagram influencer for Bloomingdale’s.

Doneghy kept exploring her creative self, and when the pandemic hit, it was the perfect time to get back to her roots in Frankfort. She launched “Wild Sassaby” on July 8 and turned in her resignation to Delta that same day. 

“I want Wild Sassaby to turn into a brand of black girl bravery,” she said. “It’s for anyone who has dreams, and I can help support them on their journey.”

Doneghy launched the website with 15 paintings and sold out of them in 28 days. She shipped her paintings all over, including Arizona, California, Ice Land, New Jersey, Texas and Georgia.

Her paintings have a graphic aesthetic, with bold lines, colors and gradients.

“I use bright colors, which symbolizes optimism,” she said. 

Doneghy is currently selling prints of her work on her website, while she works on her next collection “Quarantine Dreams: Reloaded.” She has also started her third collection of floral paintings, called “Bloom where you’re planted.”

Doneghy hopes to expand her art into home décor and greeting cards. She also wants to become a creative confidence coach. 

“I still have a lot to teach from the branding and marketing side. Like, how to launch your creative business,” she said. “I don’t want to just be a painter. I want to be a designer and a creative expert and share that with others.”

Through her work, Doneghy is hoping to send a message to the younger black generation in her community. 

“I need to serve a bigger purpose — to get the younger generation to expand their thought process,” she said. “I want to inspire people to dream bigger.

“Coming from the black community, we have had a lot of struggles, but there is no better time than now. My message is that your battles have already been fought for you and you stand at the threshold of opportunity. All you have to do is walk through the doors.”

Jardan Doneghy’s art studio Wild Sassaby is located in her childhood home at 317 Thrid St. (Photo submitted)
Jardan Doneghy sits among her collection of paintings, “Quarantine Dreams.” (Photo by Sean Woods Media)
Jardan Doneghy paints in the studio in her childhood home on Third Street. (Photo by Sean Woods Media)
Doneghy’s collection “Quarantine Dreams.” (Image provided)