Sunday, July 11, 2010

Interview with Artists I Admire: Jessica T-Lee

Objects that are nature-inspired but human-made have always fascinated me. One does not need to be an art history expert to realize how the observation of nature has always inspired humans to create art. In today's world, however, an artist who is inspired both by the natural and the constructed environment is truly gifted. The artist that I'm featuring today knows a lot about art history AND is a truly gifted artist herself.

Jessica T-Lee opened her Etsy shop relatively recently, and I was enthused to come across her work. She is a sweet person, very down-to-earth, and my interview with her was really worth it. Read on to find out for yourselves!

Have you received professional training as an artist?

I went to the University of Kansas and majored in ceramics and art history, so I received all my professional training from there. I also spent a semester at an art college in Florence, Italy which is where I actually fell in love with ceramics first!

What are the things that inspire you?

I am inspired by nature and urban textures-two things that seemingly would never compliment each other aesthetically. For my sculptures, I have studied mainly cave and rock formations, although many people see sea forms in my work (coral, etc...) For my functional work in which I focus more on the texture, I look at graffiti and prehistoric art. I have numerous pictures of graffiti which I have taken both in the United States and in Europe. With these functional pieces, I have combined an organic form with a rough graffiti inspired surface.

What is your favorite medium?

My favorite medium is ceramics. I love clay, and I love it in all the different stages: the wet unfired stage, the bisqued stage, and the glazed stage. I also love that artists and craftsmen have been using clay since prehistoric times to create all kinds of things- pottery, sculpture, etc... I feel as though I can do anything with clay. It also seems to be the medium most connected with earth and nature. I have even gone out into the countryside and actually dug up clay to use.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am working on more organic forms. I am constantly looking at different formations in nature as inspiration, and I like to see how that translates into my work. I will just sit and carve for hours and hours.

How do you spend your free time?

My free time mainly consists of art. Not only do I do ceramics but I am a painter and an illustrator. In fact, I am attempting to write and illustrate a children's book. However, I need a healthy balance in my life of art related activities and non-art related activities so my life as well is filled with cooking, reading, exploring, and of course my friends and family. :)

I love Jessica's work, and wish all the best for her in the future. She is a genuine artist.