This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jess: @dissociative_dreams:
- What kind of art do you create?
“I work with lots of different mediums, everything from digital arts, installation, performance art, painting, graphic novels, community art and more. Usually my work explores personal trauma in relation to systemic oppressions within capitalism, but there’s usually a splash of humour and colourfulness in there as well.”
2. What was the first art piece you remember creating?
“Emily In Pink”
“When I was in Grade 7 I painted a piece of plywood with blue and white paint to look like a sky, then used it as a backdrop for my photo studio in the basement and took portraits of my friends and sisters in costumes, holding flowers, etc. But I also remember in kindergarten getting in trouble for scribbling black all over a page, and not understanding why. (I was sexually abused from 3 to 7 years-old, so I had a lot of confusing, big feelings I was trying to express, but sadly I was punished for this.”
3. What pop icons inspire your art and why?
“Pop icons? Hmmm… I loved Boy George so much as a child, I thought I’d marry him when I grew up. So I think that he was an early queer influence. While working on my Tumblr project that started in 2012 I was a bit obsessed with Britney’s breakdown images, and used them often. I thought this moment was such a radical act for her, shaving her head and just saying fuck you to everybody. I wish she could have continued down that road, instead of having all her power taken from her. I was also very interested in Kanye and Kim K, at one point taking images of Kim’s “blood facial” and putting Kanye’s red mask on it – to kind of create this radicalized Kim. I had spent a month watching documentaries about the war in Syria and was starting to feel fucked up – so I watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians for the first time. The clash of realities was so stark…
This also led into the work I did with the Desearch Repartment with Thea Miklowski. We used images of all kinds of famous people on our spandex suits, artists, pop stars and politicians. We even had Trump on the crotch of one of our suits, before he ever ran for office! Our project was a very satirical look at the art world and global capitalism, so we looked to Marina Abramovic a lot for inspiration. (I actually have a tattoo of her crying during The Artist is Present on my foot, so I can meet her gaze when I’m in the bath…)”
“UK iParty for Human Rights aboard the CensorSHIP, Desearch Repartment, Arebyte Gallery (London, UK) 2017″
“The Essential Happiness Possibility presents the Institute for Durational Futures, Desearch Repartment, fellowship and exhibition, Akademie der Künste der Welt (Cologne, Germany) 2015″
4. What inspires you to write, and illustrate books? Can you talk about the last book you wrote and illustrated?
“I’ve always been an avid reader (until recent years where I have been distracted by podcasts and the internet), so I always wanted to write a book. I tried to write one during a manic episode when I was 19, it was pretty awful. But I really wanted to talk about my childhood and subsequent mental health problems (I have Dissociative Identity Disorder) so in 2012 I got a grant to create my first illustrated book, The See. Then a few years ago I was encouraged to make another by my lovely young friend Mia. She died by suicide before it was finished… so the book is dedicated to her. SHAME SHAME, Go Away (2020) is a deep dive into my experiences of childhood trauma and living with DID, illustrated with my watercolour paintings.”
“SHAME SHAME, go away (2020)”
“Under It All” (2022)
5. Do you have any news or events that you would like to share?
“Dissociative Dreams (2022), made with AI/Dalle2″
“I’m currently applying to go back to school to do my Phd! I’ve been so depressed for the past 5 years, this feels like a big leap back into life. I also just finished my latest graphic book Under It All, about struggling with suicide and looking for hope during the pandemic. Each book comes with trauma tarot cards! Also, I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring making images with AI (though I know it is a contentious subject) and am excited to get more critical about it with my studies.”
“The Stimpsons (2022), made with AI/Dalle2.”
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