Thursday, October 17, 2013


It was a pleasantly cool and rainy afternoon when I went to see Jessica at her East Austin studio. We both sipped our tea and talked about...cell phones. What do I mean?! Continue on for photos and interview after the jump, and you'll find out...

EC: The first paintings I looked at on your website were the cellular paintings...because..well,they're the first ones on your website. I read about them, and I thought the idea was interesting, because normally people..when you find a bunch of pictures on your cell phone that you've taken by accident, you're annoyed or frustrated that now you have to delete these things.
And here you are giving them more credit...spending time with them.

...Why did you do that?

JM: I probably would have passed them by if they weren't so beautiful. I'm really lucky that my phone took such beautiful..almost ephemeral abstract light paintings.
I started to notice them, and there were just so many, which really got me interested. I love quantities and sort of.. repetitive processes, and most of them were,like, grey pocket pictures... but every once in a while I'd get something really special. I think I've always liked the idea of how we relate with imagery through technology..we see so much of it that it kind of just levels everything we see it with the same eyes and filter through it a lot quicker than maybe we see some things.

I'm trying to take that randomness and make it something a little more intentional, I guess. And painting them in oil..a really traditional medium..
Anyone just looking at them could think that they are just abstract paintings. There's that little sort of cheekiness..that I didn't come up with them, that they're not really emotional..they're accidents.

"Photo 0067"

"Photo 0042"

"Photo 0022"

EC: And so they're all from your old phone over there..

Old phone.

JM: Mmhm. My new phone doesn't do it anymore, so the series is done. I think I have a couple more I could paint off of that phone, but the series is finished. Some people have sent me might come back. Some of the images are a little too..representational,though. 

EC: You can see the blur of a tree or something..

JM: Yeah, exactly. But I definitely appreciate it. I'd love to involve the community, because sources of imagery and where they circulate is really interesting to me..

EC: When you made these paintings, were they all ...did you have all of the pictures at the same time, or would you wait for a new one to show up?

JM: I probably noticed them around the I started seeing it as a trend and not just one painting from my cell phone. I saw the potential in the series then.But they kept on happening..and it was really exciting to find one. Obviously I couldn't intentionally make one, so I'd just wait. Sometimes it'd be a couple of months, or sometimes I'd get like, five in a row. 

EC: Jackpot!

JM: Hah,yeah! "I have something to paint right now!"
And I've been playing with making some of them larger..there's a large cellular painting on the other side of this I'm playing with the size. I think they work best in the small format, though, similar to the screen.
Large "Cellular" painting

Installation view

EC: Let's talk about the "Desktop/Landscape" series..
I can't put my finger on what they remind me of, but they remind me of...something...
I feel like I've seen them before, but..

JM: I think it's really natural today to feel like you've "seen it before". There's a lot of..
There's a blog- "Who Wore it Better" I think..some site where they take art and they draw connections between artists working in a similar way or something..

EC: I don't know of it, but that's interesting.

JM: So I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe I saw something a long time ago and it somehow made its way into the context of my visual bank.

EC: Right. It's tricky. My husband and I..we're musicians..and sometimes we'll be working on something, and we'll stop and ask .."does this sound like 'blah blah insert other song by other person'...??" It's silly.

JM: I think it's becoming a little more open, because people have become more aware of the fact that we're all made up of our experiences, and what we see becomes our art..and so ..

EC: Everything is so easy to access, too. We see so much.

JM: Right. And it's kind of how you organize it that makes something original.

I went to school for painting, and got stuck really into painting and landscapes and the representational..and I think a lot of people go through that.. trying to make something as realistic as possible. I think this was kind of my beginning of breaking out from that, and recognizing that, okay..I'm not a "plein air" painter...color today --you still have plenty of people who make it their project to represent color in the most accurate sense, but I'm painting from a computer screen. Depending on what computer screen I'm on, and how bright my computer screen's altered.

It's okay to abandon it, and include that desktop; give a nod to the source of where I'm painting from. Just as a landscape, anyone could imagine me out there painting that. It interrupts the image with um..the source of its display, I guess. 

I only made three of these. It was a brief series. I might do it again..

EC: Why do you think you like working in series?

JM: There's a couple reasons.

I guess in art school, series are really pounded into you...series,series,series. But there's kind of that well can you get to know a subject or an idea and work through that idea. Rarely, maybe some people can achieve that in one piece..maybe if they spend a lot of time..but I work through my pieces pretty quickly, so I almost need to explore deeper through making more of them, as opposed to making a more detailed piece. I really..I paint fast..maybe a week, or a couple I just need to repeat that process a couple of times to get a grasp on what I'm doing.

EC: Where did you go to school?

JM: I went to Savannah College of Art and Design.

EC: S-C-A-D. Did you like it?

JM: Yeah, I did. It's a beautiful city.. um..I was lucky enough to be going for painting, which is a really small department over, you don't get a lot of attention. It would sound like a bad thing, but it's kind get left alone to explore. And I had some really great professors, which made it.

EC: Thanks so much for your time!

Jessica has a solo show up right now over at Red Space Gallery, "Stepping into Water" until October 21st, and will be participating in EAST Austin Studio Tour, starting on Nov. 16. She will be listed under "Up Collective".

PS: I didn't have my device recording while Jessica explained her hex-code work to me. To be safe and to protect her integrity, I will not attempt to recall the conversation...but
for more info on those and her other works, please visit Jessica's WEBSITE.

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