Saturday, 24 August 2013

Artist of the Week - Jess Davies

Jess Davies is based in Devon and creates relief prints, monoprints, drypoints and etchings.

What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I started drawing in purple crayon on the fridge aged 2 apparently. Its all been downhill since then trying to get back to that immediacy, ho ho... I went to art college but was drawn by theatre too so studied Theatre Design that I wasn't much good at, though the college years were a blast. Lost my confidence as an artist and went into drama for years. At 47, I went travelling, which gave me the chance to have a good look at what I was doing with my time; I realised life was too short to keep feeling jealous of artists so I sold my flat, moved to a shared house in the country, and got a cheap studio. I'm living on savings and hope really. Very happy - until the money runs out.

Is being an artist your only job? 
I teach EFL a bit. And run workshops when I can get the gigs.

One favourite living artist?
Cornelia Parker. I love how she makes adventures out of the everyday, blowing up the ordinary (literally sometimes) to find the extraordinary in what we take for granted. A kind of contemporary 'wabi sabi' beauty.

One favourite historical artist?
Klimt. I love his seamless marriages of the abstract and figurative, colours, patterns, archetypal and mythical in people, nature.

If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?Ralph Hotere, a fantastic New Zealand artist who, a bit like Cornelia, finds ordinary stuff, breaks it up but keeps the spirit of it, reassembles it into something infinitely more expansive and moving. I'd like to make something huge out of decaying corrugated iron and stone.

Who is your style icon?
I'm a bit unnerved by that question. I'm just not stylish. I'm basically a jeans and jumper sort of person.

Last book / film that blew your mind?
'The Vivisector' by Patrick White. Its a portrayal of the creative life of a painter (dedicated to Sidney Nolan). I found it gutting, and marvellous. I hate that guy for what he put me through.

Last gig you went to?
Can't remember! Oh dear I must get out more.

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
None. I only go online for necessity, I find being on computers a fundamentally unaesthetic activity even though wonderful things come from it and I'm grateful for those who invent marvellous tools for the rest of us to use.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
New Zealand for half of each year if I could justify the carbon footprint. Just stunning wildness and I love the Kiwi humour. You can still disappear into a frontier life there. You don't have to dig around much before you find wonderfully odd folks doing wonderfully odd things.

Where and what is your studio?
Exeter, in a disused office building now a group studio called EVA - Exeter Visual Arts.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Well, yes and no. I get interested in too many things. But meditation and Buddhist practice keep me sane, mostly.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
Tracking: As in being on the track of something, with faith, intuition, excitement or something undefinable. Following the signs...

What would your dream commission be?
To go and make work in response to Tapies' work with enough money to give me a year to do it.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
Fundacio Tapies in Barcelona, in the presence of the guru.

No comments: