We’re going to be spotlighting some of the artists, craftspeople, designers, and other creative amazing folks we like around here over the next bit. It’s a great chance to discover some new creators and to inspire you to make more art- in whatever form or medium you choose every day.
Today we’re featuring the talented Jessica Lynne aka Jely! You might remember her work from her entry to our Fan Art contest last year. Her dreamy, unsettling style is full of captivating detail and nuance. We’re so thrilled to share her work with you!
Jely/Jessica agreed to answer some fun interview questions for us! 🙂
How would you describe your work?
“That’s a bit of a tough question for me. I don’t necessarily ever label my art as one thing or another simply because growth within me is always occurring and my art changes with it. In general, I think it sticks much more closely to a pop surrealist feel, but I might describe it in its current state as overall dark, dully themed with bits of whimsy, light and bright colors scattered throughout.”
What themes do you like to explore with what you create?
“For sure I explore darker themes. But I feel it’d be too simple to call my work just “dark”. Dark themes are always very present in my body of work, but I find myself exploring deeper themes than that. I try to incorporate light and color to touch on hopeful themes, but I tend to enjoy exploring themes that incorporate inner emotional battles, like abuse, chronic pain, invisible illness, mental illness, empathy and struggling to connect to a world that turns a blind eye and tends to pretend those things don’t exist.”
Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist, where do you do most of your drawing?
“Everywhere. Anywhere and everywhere I possibly can. I draw in a smaller, more conveniently sized sketchbook during car trips, in doctor’s offices, in hospitals, at work (before I start my shift, of course) and really anywhere I can find even a split second to whip out the pencil and paper and just start sketching whatever is in front me. Sometimes I use a site called “line-of-action.com” for basic human study practices, but I try to practice sketch anything as much as possible even if all I have to sketch is a chair or whatever happens to be right in front of me at the time.”
How do you keep yourself inspired?
“I wouldn’t say I “keep” inspired, by any means. I suffer art blocks on a daily basis. It might sound crazy to some to logically continue suffering from art block, simply because it usually comes and goes, and it took me a long time to admit it to myself that this was happening because it made me feel “less of an artist” somehow, but because of the chronic pain and illness I deal with on a daily basis, coupled with mental illnesses, I suffer from art blocks every other day, if not every day during the really tough months. So I don’t keep inspiration because inspiration always has a way of escaping me. My inspiration exists on a scale of natural to forced. It’s often forced, but I’ve learned to work with forced inspiration so much that I’m at a strange point where I can make inspiration I seek come to me more naturally. It sounds weird, I know, and it’s not to be confused with my desire or passion to create which never leaves me, which is why I’ve been learning to come to terms with this. It doesn’t make me less of an artist for fighting this; I try to think of it as being more of an art warrior for battling through it. With all of that said, that’s not to say I don’t get inspired at all. I still see photos, other artwork or people I find inspiring, it’s just rarely associated with my ability to maintain inspiration through the creation process of an art piece. If I start an art piece without much inspiration, I can get inspired halfway through the more I think of ideas and the further I get in to the painting. More than anything I tend to sketch random elements of things that strike my fancy or give me an idea in my sketchbook as soon as I see it. I’ll then try to revisit or incorporate the idea later in larger paintings.”
Do you keep a rough daily sketchbook?
“I’m probably not as “aesthetic” as some of the artists you may find easily on instagram, but I do keep a rough daily sketchbook. Rough being the word of choice here. I’m super messy and when an idea hits me I will scrawl it out as quickly as I can, usually in the most illegible of ways. My sketchbook is a dumping ground for what the art world knows as “crappy drawings”. But I’ve found that keeping my sketchbook as a safe haven for pressure free art practices and doodles has really helped me branch out to explore and learn more than I ever could have with the pressure of “perfection” breathing down my neck in everything I create.”
You’ve mentioned on instagram that a lot of your favorite recent pieces came from dark places in your life or struggles you’ve experienced, which is something I also do with my design and photography work. It’s a vulnerable place to be but it can also initiate connections and conversations about these experiences I’ve found. Is sharing these deeply personal moments through your work terrifying or liberating?
“I definitely am both equally terrified and liberated sharing my past struggles (anything from physical, mental and emotional abuse to sexual harassment) and while they’re not fully equal in stature, I’ve been just about as terrified sharing my past hurdles as I have been sharing my current struggles (mental and physical illnesses). Each of these fights, of which I sometimes prison and hide inside my chest, has led me to a fair amount of internal vulnerabilities in the present day. However, I think it’s important to have a certain amount of transparency with your struggles in all of social media simply because we create a disconnect in only sharing the “positives” and the happy moments of our lives. Not that we shouldn’t celebrate those moments, but it’s important to be real about the struggles it takes to get there. Otherwise we risk coming across as this fake brand of perfection that doesn’t relate to the world or it’s people at all. Especially when you’re an artist and those themes come up in your work, I feel it’s important to not hide them entirely (I understand not exposing every detail; we like viewers to interpret our paintings for themselves and we need our privacy too). The helping hand that ultimately assisted in making me pull myself out of the dark turbulent waters I was drowning in at one point in my life was that of artists who shared their vulnerabilities with their audience; my biggest influence having been Mab Graves, which I know I’ve regurgitated thousands of times and I’m sure people are tired of hearing it hahaha! Seriously though, if it wasn’t for her being open and honest about her struggles with chronic illness (which is never just as simple as it’s name dictates) and showing how she found her center in creating art or even just how she continued creating despite all of the pain, sickness, brain fog and overall ailments that come with chronic illness, I might not have picked up the pencil more than once each year; since, at the time I discovered her work, I was just starting to try to reintegrate art in to my life. Certainly not by much until I found her though.
Where can people purchase your work or see it in person? Do you have any shows or events coming up in 2018 people should know about?
“At the present moment, most (if not all) of my current paintings and drawings are one of a kinds that will never be reproduced or have print versions of themselves; but they are only purchasable by contacting me through Instagram. I don’t have a website or a shop set up at this point, though I do hope I can figure my way out in that endeavor in the future. However, with my current financial issues and my declining health, it hasn’t been at the top on my list of priorities as much as I’d like it to be simply because I can not physically handle the extras of juggling shop management and shipping at this point in time. I can say I am creating an art piece for The Hive Gallery (in California, USA) for the month of October!”
Below is a preview of that work!
See more of her work:
Jely’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jelynneart/
Her Art Blog- https://pbwithj.wordpress.com/blog/
Thank you to Jely for participating in our Artist Spotlight!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂