We’ve been big fans of Jessica’s work for a while now, so we were delighted to hear that her work was finally being featured in a London group show: ‘Wild Life’ at the Stolen Space gallery in East London which is on until 18th December (so go see it!) Jessica very kindly granted us a brief interview to chat about her work.
Q: We’re delighted that your work is finally being featured as part of London show. How did this particular group show come about?*
JJ: Thank you kindly, I’d been wanting to show in London for quite some time! This exhibit came about as most of them do, I was invited. It looked like the gallery would be a good match for my work, and voilà! The Wild Life show at StolenSpace Gallery is on view until Dec. 18.
Q: You’ve cited influences such as taxidermist Walter Potter. Are there any contemporary artists or makers which you feel a particular kinship in terms of your work?*
JJ: There are SCADS of them! It’s an exciting time to be an artist, there are so many wonderful things being made right now! I wouldn’t necessarily say that any other artists are a direct influence my work, but I am constantly invigorated by seeing new and exciting imagery. Since you mention Walter Potter, I will stick with contemporary sculptors who are working with taxidermy and/or animal imagery.That should keep the list (somewhat) manageable.
Some of my favorites are: Les Deux Garcons, Tessa Farmer, Kate MacDowell, Beth Cavener Stichter, Polly Morgan, Kris Kuksi, The Idiots Collective (aka. Afke Golsteijn and Floris Bakker), Ron Pippin, and Lee Bontecou.
In all of these artists’ work there is a powerfully unique vision and a level of intricacy and technical finesse that appeals to me. They have each created their own worlds, populated with unexpected and delightful creatures. Like a ballet dancer, an accomplished artist makes that which is quite difficult and precise seem effortless, as if it was simply meant to be; it transports you into their dream.
Q: We first came across your work on street art blog Wooster Collective. Other than the fact that some of your sculptures are made of found objects, are there any other similarities between your work and the
street art scene?*
JJ: Because of the nature of my work, it’s not suitable for public spaces. I’m strictly an indoor artist. I do enjoy a lot of the things being done in the context of street art though, and I love the Wooster
Collective blog! It can be problematic to make generalizations about a “scene,” especially for a group as loosely knit as street art. However, I’d say that we share a spirit of irreverence, a desire to make work that is meaningful and interesting to people outside the art world, and a distaste for the navel-gazing of certain strains of contemporary art.
Q: Some of the sculptures have moveable parts and all have been fantastically engineered. Have you ever thought about producing kinetic sculptures or animations even?
JJ: Absolutely! I’ve been mulling over the possibilities of stop-motion animation since I started making this type of work, back in 1992. It would be quite an involved undertaking, so I’m waiting for the right moment. At this point, I need an interesting collaborator or a grant to set the gears in motion. Many of my sculptures have a full range of movement while I am making them. The joints are fixed later on, to allow them to be freestanding, but the way that I build them makes them uniquely well-suited to animation. Some day, some day…
Q: What is the most common reaction to your work and how do you want people to feel about it?
JJ: My work tends to elicit strong reactions, whether positive or negative. Some people are intrigued, and perhaps charmed and delighted. Other people are put off by the use of animal bones. What I do is certainly not for everyone, nor would I want it to be. I would hope that my work entices the viewer to come closer, to look closely, and to appreciate the beauty of animals, both living and dead, from an different perspective.
Q: Despite being made from dead things, we think your work is really playful and intriguing. Would you ever consider commercial approaches or it that something that you have discussed in the past?
JJ: Thank you! I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but it’s hard to imagine what sort of company would make a good partner for such a thing. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see whether any interesting opportunities arise.
With huge thanks to Jessica for both her time and image of one of the works featured in the show (‘Comet’). To see more work, please visit Jessica’ site. Jessica Joslin’s monograph, Strange Nature, and several limited edition prints are also available through her website.