Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Straus.
Jessica, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up on the seacoast of New Hampshire, with the tide literally rising onto our lawn. My wilderness-loving, adventurous parents had chosen New Hampshire to be close to mountains and ocean. They raised us kids with a heavy regimen of weekly hiking and daily swimming.
They also inculcated in us a love of the world beyond our borders as we traveled to keep in touch with my mother’s French family who she had left behind when she departed France after WWII to marry my American father. My mother was a talented Sunday painter who encouraged me work beside her, not only with paintbrushes but with various craft materials. Her father had been a superb woodcarver who created utilitarian, ingenious, and artistic marvels for his family. Perhaps that was why my mother was casual about letting me wield a knife at an early age when I started to teach myself how to whittle.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
While I have art school training that informs my aesthetics, I rely on self-taught wood working techniques in my sculpture. In my work I opt to hand carve the elements, no matter how labor intensive the work and no matter whether I could buy similar manufactured forms. The fact that the forms are brought into existence chip by chip imbues the objects with soul, a trait that is sadly lacking in today’s world of over abundant, cheap, plastic manufacture.
I am drawn to narrative and metaphor in my work. I play with unexpected juxtapositions between recognizable and enigmatic forms. Inventiveness, humor and narrative are key elements of my sculpture.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
It is hard not to be deeply affected by our political climate. While I have always been attracted to humor in my work, I have found myself sliding more precipitously into black humor with visions of a post-apocalyptic world. My work has taken on concerns of diminishing natural resources and threatened relations even among our staunchest allies.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I will have a solo show in December 2018 at Boston Sculptors Gallery where I regularly exhibit my work. I will also be participating in an exhibition entitled “It’s Only a Game” at the Bristol Art Museum in the fall. I have my studio at the Brick bottom Artists Building in Somerville which folks can visit at Open Studios in November or by getting in touch with me for a studio visit.
- Address: 1 Fitchburg Street, Somerville, MA 02143
- Website: www.jessica-straus.com
- Phone: 617-283-8216
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/strausjessica/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Jessica-Straus-393910790860/
- Other: https://jessicastraus.wordpress.com/
Photo credits: Dean Powell and Bill Kipp