An Exchange with Artist and Pillar of Inspiration, Jess Harper.
From the moment Jess Harper and I first made contact, I was delighted by her zestful nature, her attentiveness to her craft and unsurpassed passion for art-making. Jess is a mother of two young children and as a mother myself I can absolutely understand certain aspects of balancing a young family and work, and the irrevocable necessity for creative expression.
Textured acrylic on canvas.
150cm x 120xcm
Professional images taken by Ammon Creative
To Jess, being an artist was not an unexpected avocation. Jess discovered her talent as a child and expresses her life-long love for painting.
“After leaving school I pursued a very fulfilling and rewarding career in the corporate world which I have thoroughly enjoyed and will continue to enjoy over my life. Having said that, being creative and making art is in my bones. It’s something I have always needed to express.”
Jess hinged more time to experiment on canvas when on maternity leave, the artist affirms that since then, it feels like her creative side has come back to life, breathing air into her mind and body.
Between the Clouds
Acrylic on canvas.
100 x 100cm
Jess certainly depicts the light weightlessness, joy and harmony of nature in her largely decorative artwork. One particular theme that struck me was Jess’s vivid use of florals and texture in her dimensioned acrylic paintings.
Flowers have been a favoured motif through the course of art history. With every artist having a developed and diverse technique, theme and concept, the portrayal of flowers has been a consistent subject throughout art history.
Floral art, once a common focal in still life, has certainly transitioned through the ages and now we have different techniques. The media of floral art has changed inextricably, and the impasto technique once favoured by impressionist painter Van Gogh, is used to this modern day.
Nature has always been a heavily coveted theme in art. In Botticelli’s La Primavera the renaissance painter depicts the everlasting life of flowers in painting, in reality, the beauty of flowers fades as they eventually wilt, on the other hand, art is everlasting thus flowers are eternal. This ideology coincides with Jess' almost 3D impressions of florals. Her artwork is undeniably radiant and by interpreting textures with impasto paint, her acrylic compositions are consistently animated. This substantiated viscosity in her artwork offers her an emphasised dimension in her paintings.
We were absolutely delighted to interview Jess on her life, art practice and subject matter.
Has your art practice changed over time? If so, how?
“My art continues to evolve, and will continue to do so. Being a creative, I’m constantly interested in new and interesting ideas & mediums to use and explore. Part of creating is exploring new ideas and styles and I hope my art will continue to grow and develop over time.”
Is there a main motif that is repeatedly conveyed through your artwork?
Colour and brushstroke are signature to my art. I love colour; bright, bold, strong, contrasting - anyway it comes, I want to explore it. Most of my work is made with an expressive brushstroke and mimics an impression of the subject.
What do you believe is the artist's role in society?
An artist's role in society has many facets. It’s a privileged society where artists are free to express and create and it is a thing of beauty that should be cherished.
For me, creating something that ‘sparks joy’ is an incredible honour. Not only this, but art is a form of storytelling. We tell stories in our art to future generations, but also to each other in our current time. We use art to explain our differences and to illicit empathy and understanding with the goal of reducing bias and creating harmony in society.
Artists can also use their art to remind society of the beauty there is in life, through reliving a moment or place.
Do you have a favourite artist? Is this an artist you admire or compare your artwork to? Who are they?
I have so many artists I admire. In recent times, I have followed and love the work of Aiden Weinchart who is an Australian contemporary artist. His work is colourful, bold and his form and perspective is fun and endearing. An absolute pleasure to see.
What motivates your art practice?
I’m motivated by my inner creativity. It’s seriously an urge to create an idea I have had, or to explore something on canvas. It is simply within me.
Jess is a very extraordinary person, a mother, esteemed artist and someone who has overcome a profound experience. She incredibly passionate about Tiny Sparks, a WA based charity for high-risk pregnancies and babies born sick or premature.
Jess spoke of her personal support from Tiny Sparks when her daughter arrived at 31 weeks, it is understandable that this uplifting charity sits close to her heart. Jess is currently in development of a collaboration with Tiny Sparks, designing milestone cards for premature babies using her own artwork.
Jess Harper's story including her own personal tribulations clearly indicates what an inspiring and persevering artist Jess is, a creative who truly loves what she does and continues to follow her passion. The result is an exquisite and flourishing oeuvre, it is an absolute delight to represent Jess on Whitfield Collection.