Monday, November 22, 2010

Artist Interview: Jessicka Addams

                                                     Jessicka photo credit Jennifer Emil

Can you tell me about the evolution of your name? I added the "k" during my artistic rebirth. It's also derived from British occultist Aleister Crowley. Crowley alternatively spelled magic with a "c" and a "k" to distinguish it from those stage or theatre 'magicians' who entertain their audiences with simple tricks and illusions. He defined magick as 'the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. He saw magick as the essential method for a person to reach true understanding of the self and to act according to one's True Will, which he saw as the reconciliation "between free will and destiny".

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist? I'm a self taught artist. But I've been lucky to have some very gifted mentors along the way.

What is the style of your pieces? Right now I do mostly mixed media sculptures that range from working fountains, busts, and wall mounted sculptures. I'm strangely influenced by the kitsch factor of Capodimonte porcelain, Goth culture, all things John Waters, religious iconography and the Easter Bunny. Put all of those influences in a blender and that's my current style.

What is the medium in which you work? I work in clay, acrylic paint, cement, gold leaf, and foreign objects ( like fake eyelashes, broken mirrors, and chipped teeth.)

Can you tell us more about your mask series, how did the concept evolve? For years, I had been noticing the symbol of the rabbit occurring in unlikely places. The name of my exhibit, “What’s Behind The Bunny,” was chosen for several reasons. One of my first happy memories is the Easter Bunny; I was also fascinated with the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland and Bre’r Rabbit as a child.  More recently, rabbits just kept popping up in my life.  It just felt right to use the bunny mask as a central theme tying all of my work together. The Easter Bunny has roots that go back to pre-Christian, Anglo-Saxon history. The holiday was originally a pagan celebration that worshipped the goddess Eastre. She was the goddess of fertility, springtime and her earthly symbol was a rabbit—a perfect symbol to use when covering artists’ work I find sacred. The white rabbit can symbolize the awakening of spirit or resurrection.

What started you on your path as an artist?  In 2nd grade I wrote an autobiography saying I was going to move to Paris, even though I'm sure I didn't know where Paris was at the time. I said I was going to move to a small apartment and suffer for my art like Picasso and that began my artistic journey.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in? I'm truly fascinated by the intricacies of depth, shadow and movement of water color art. I also have a great respect for artists who work in oil though I fear I don't have the temperament and patience to work with oils myself.

You are also a musician, how does the visual medium differ from musical for you? I have always seen the voice as a powerful tool. Each of us has an opportunity to use our voice to make a powerful impression, the way a painter uses his or her brush.  I believe an artist is an artist, and as I continue my career - this time using a paintbrush rather then my vocal chords—I  hope I can convey similar emotions to the ones I do when writing music. To me it's all a great release. Honestly, this is why I believe this transition to be a natural progression for my career.

Are you still making music and performing? My recent art show has been all consuming so I've not been actively making music as of late. My husband Christian and I plan on going into the studio with Rob Campanella sometime next year to record some new material with our band Scarling.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life? A sense of self worth, accomplishment, and pride. Also sharing an art space with show partner, Lindsey Way, has been such a unique experience in that we afforded each other the opportunity to watch another artist give birth to their first solo show.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in? I've been known to work in anything from a one piece bathing suit to a sombrero and leg warmers.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist? I think having people insert themselves into the business aspect behind an art show. I'm a fairly new artist so dealing with the business end of things is often frustrating and perplexing at times.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time? Wonton soup.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they?  This year marks my first solo show so I feel that I dug deep and truly invested myself into every piece.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead? John Waters

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person: My husband and I were married on October 13, 2007. Mark Ryden's wedding gift was a miniature portrait of us, a faithful adaptation of Jan Van Eyck's "Arnolfi Portrait," that was reproduced on the invitations. He gave us the original oil painting as a gift . I cried as it is still one of the most beautiful paintings I've even seen.

You have done collaborations with Mark Ryden, Joshua PetkerTarina Tarantino and many other great artists. How was it working with them? I'm truly lucky to have these artists in my life. Even luckier that they allowed me to insert my artist vision into their art.

What are your art shows typically like? I've truly only done group shows thus far. I'll let you know the answer to this question on Sunday the 14th after my first solo show.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us? Smile Even if it Hurts,  Jessicka Addams + Lindsey Way OPENING RECEPTION Saturday, November 13th, 2010  7pm - 10pm @ the Dark Dark Science Gallery, located @ 3245 W. Casitas Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90039 

The Addams Wedding by Mark Ryden

What's Behind the Bunny photo credit Christian Addams

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