There are so many emerging female artists in the Central Ohio area and I just had to tell you all about one of them this month…..Meet Jes Moore, encaustic artist and soon-to-be-graduate of Ohio Dominican! This level-headed single mom and artist and I conducted most of our interview online but then we met at Polaris Mall’s kids’ play area to finish up while her adorable little guy, Jonah, ran around and had a grand time!!
Jes and I first met at Joe Lombardo‘s show at Art Access in September and after a short conversation with her and some other artists, I asked her if she would be interested in being interviewed…luckily, she said yes!
Jes has had a studio in Wehrle Hall at Ohio Dominican University campus for about 2 years. She designs under her name “Jes Moore” and hasn’t really created an official business although she is working as a designer while in school. Much of her work has been designing for the faculty and gallery at school where: I am the student gallery manager and have been learning exhibition design as well as creating graphics for our shows. I have also had some work go live in “the real world” which is good for a student. I just finished a complete rebranding project with a technical education company in Dublin. Check out the new design at: http://www.tcworkshop.com/
After high school in Harrison Ohio, Jes attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati to begin her art training from 2001-2003. It was a very influential experience and set the foundation for her artistic career as the traditional curriculum gave her a solid understanding of drawing, painting and color theory. Eventually, she chose to major in sculpture and had many opportunities to explore 3D art-making. Sadly, without any financial support from loans or family, she was unable to obtain a degree from AAC. Since her grades and motivation were very high at that time, this was a large set-back for her.
It wasn’t until she got pregnant with her son in 2007 that she figured out how to go back to school, and this time she studied Digital Design and Graphics at Columbus State. She was completely computer-illiterate when she began, so it was hard work but she did well, obtained marketable art skills and graduated with an Associates Degree. She chose to follow this path to obtain marketable skills in order to support herself and Jonah.
Immediately following graduation, she went to Ohio Dominican where she combined her credits from AAC and CSCC (Columbus State Community College) in order to graduate with very hard-fought-for Bachelors of Arts in May of this year and while there, she has been able to return to the Fine Arts and created a solid body of work in both this category and graphic design. This came about mainly when she found a mentor in the chair of the Division of Fine Art and Communication, Dr. Janette Knowles who encouraged Jes to not give up on her dream of becoming a working fine artist…Wow!
The Meeting Place of Water and Sky
When asked about how she would classify her art she stated:
I call my paintings “Celestial Encaustics.” The work came about when I was taking an astronomy class at the same time as Historic Painting Methods at ODU. I used the concepts and images I was studying in astronomy to inform my painting class and the work was born. The stars provide endless ideas and stories to respond to, so an end to artists’ block is only a small amount of research away. Since I’m so inspired by academia, this works perfectly for me. I also like how these concepts are literally universal and provide a sophisticated language for me to express myself personally.
That being said, star stories are endlessly interesting to her and this is the product of a near-life long study of mythology. Jes believes that star maps are really beautiful and the idea of personal navigation is also a key element in her work: I literally know the constellations better and better as the work progresses. I Blue is also very inspirational to her although she understands that may sound arbitrary. However, she feels that in the scope of the work the color blue reflects the idea that we as humans see the distance as blue; the sky, the ocean– and we think of the color as that; the color just outside of reach. But when we got our first image of the Earth from space, we realized that blue is actually our color, the color of home and we live on a bright jewel of blue in a sea of black.
Working with the wax has satisfied her inclination towards 3-D art, and also enables her to incorporate her drawings and color theory. She primarily uses beeswax, so the heating of the wax and the subsequent smell are other visceral and unexpectedly important elements to her process. She particularly likes the translucence of the wax and how easy it is to create layers using this technique. Translucent mediums really speak to her…she prefers watercolors to oil and acrylic paints.
I think the struggles that Jes has encountered in her path have influenced her in positive ways, particularly in her desire to help other artists who are trying to find their voices. In that regard, she indicated:
If I were to share one technique that I think would actually help other artists it would be the link I have made between learning and personal expression. When I was in art school I remember having a difficult time making art purely from my own personal place and would experience painful artists’ block. Old stories, religious cosmologies of the world and constant new discoveries in the Universe are an ingrained part of humanity, and they’re everywhere. Working with these concepts and linking them to my internal environment has allowed me to make work consistently, and with fervor and confidence.
Her current show, with fellow artist and ceramicist, Terri Maloney-Houston, titled “Natural Abundance” began January 18th at the Wehrle Gallery and will continue through March. She also won Best in Show at the 2011 Downtown Digital Arts Festival (DDAF) hosted by CSCC; 2nd place for Not Just Apples on a Table: Still Life Show in September 2014 at High Road Gallery in Worthington (The piece I submitted was a classic take on the still life motif, a bowl of fruit (modeled after one of Cezanne’s such paintings) except through the lense of my process. So I cut the fruit shapes out of star maps, pictures of planets and constellations and set them in wax. I also chose to make the bowl very sculptural since I was working with wooden “art paper”. This piece is in her current show) and was nominated by ODU for the AICUO Award for Excellence in the Arts (Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio). Sadly, she did not win the AICUO award but what an honor to be nominated!!!
Post graduation, Jes is excited to say that she plans on becoming an adjunct prof at CSCC teaching design. Having a real passion for education and helping other artists reach their goals is a real inspiration for this type of work. She also hopes to actively break down the social constructs of our time that insist that art isn’t important, or is a superfluous “dream job.” Art is everywhere and is very important!! she wants to encourage other women to pursue creating art as she expressed that she still feels there is sexist stigma about female artists and particularly, single mothers.
Because she feels it is so very important for her to balance being a mom and an artist while having an income to support both her and Jonah. In addition to her work as a professor, she plans on piecing together a living by turning her graphic work into a business, continuing her side gig of helping others organize their living and creating spaces and finding a studio space for continuing her fine arts. I am so impressed with this young lady, her work and her aspirations. Can’t wait to see what the future brings for her!
To learn a little more about how she views art and it’s place in her life and the Universe, check out this great little video!
Jes Moore– Facebook