Works on LPP
★ MEET N‘ GREET ★
1. Hi Jes, do you go by Jes? I’ve been a Jess since I was a kid thanks to there being waaay too many Jessicas around, and my friends taking charge of this ambiguity. Did this happen to you too? The word on the street is that Jessica was supposedly the second most popular baby girl name in the US in ’84, the year I was born. Just wondering.
Yes, I think I had a similar thing going on with my name. People close to me called me Jes and then it became something I liked because I associated it with those people.
2. Where do you call home for now, and what’s the best feature of your city, in your opinion? Does your physical environment factor into your work even if you are painting a scene much unlike it? Also, are there other places you’ve lived or loved and have a special artistic/inspirational relationship with?
I live and work in Brooklyn, which is also where I was born. I think the best thing about New York City is that no matter how long I’ve lived here there is always something about it that is surprising and impenetrable. I also love being in a city with such a vibrant creative community. My physical environment does factor into the work even though the images I paint are removed from it. I am really interested in the relationship between the monumental and the personal. New York is a place where I catch myself experiencing those shifts in scale.
3. I know you have a BA in Psychology and English and an MFA in Fine Arts. How did you arrive where you currently find yourself, in terms of being an artist and leading the life that you lead?
When I was in school it was really hard for me to decide what I wanted to study. I liked reading about all kinds of things and decided to focus on English and Psychology. I loved drawing and painting and would stay up late making things and reading.
Soon after graduating I got a job working in psych and realized that it wasn’t for me. I ended up waiting tables while working on paintings to apply for grad school.
In 2004 I started in the MFA Program at Parsons where I worked constantly and met people who continue to support and challenge me. That’s also when I started teaching, which is what I do outside the studio.
For a lot of that time it felt like I was making it up as I went along but in the last few years it started to make sense. Thinking about symbols, dreams, and various iconographies through psychology or fiction helped to shape my current painting practice.
4. Can you tell us about your relationship to your content and your delicate treatment of it? I also wonder if you may be attempting to anthropomorphize nature through the types of compositions you select (and your sunglasses painting, of course).
I think my work often does anthropomorphize nature. Landscape elements will stand in for something human – a body, a personal history. The icebergs are one example of that.
For me there is something in landscapes that can hover between the familiar and the strange. They exist at a scale that is large enough to hold competing ideas. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about constructing landscapes that create a sense of dislocation and immersion.
5. What’s your typical daily routine? Also, can you illuminate your creative protocol for us? How do you begin a work, and what is your process? Do you reply more on intuition and spontaneity, or research and careful planning?
A typical studio day starts with me waking up, feeding and walking my two dogs, having breakfast and then getting to work. The work varies depending on where I am with things each day. I like to have a few things going at a time in different stages.
I usually begin a painting by making a collaged study from source materials that I’m constantly collecting – photographs, found images, etc. The collage acts as a rough outline that then gets translated with paint on paper.
Overall I’d say my process is a mixture of planning and spontaneity. The collaged studies are definitely the most planned aspect of my process. Recently I’ve been discarding the studies earlier on and improvising more, so I’m excited to see where that might go.
I try to end each day in the studio by taking some time to step back and look at things. A lot of good can come when I’m on the way out.
6. I couldn’t help but notice that the titles of the first 4 paintings on your site string together into a mystical sentence that reads "Lighting and Blocking the Way Together On Pink Earth From a Face in my Head." Was this intentional? And, to wrap up, what are you most excited about right now?
Wow, I wish I did have some mysterious message that would appear when stringing titles together! That would be amazing. Currently I’m most excited about starting to work with acrylic again.
Thanks so much Jessica for being a part of Little Paper Press.
Jessica Cannon is an artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. Her paintings use landscape imagery to explore the relationship between the monumental and the personal. Selected exhibitions include: The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY, Tinlark Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York, NY. Jessica currently teaches at Parsons The New School for Design. She received her MFA in Fine Art from Parsons in 2006 and her BA in Psychology and English from Tufts University in 2001. Jessica’s work can be viewed online at: http://www.jescannon.com.