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©2020 by Jessica James. 

  • Jessica James

Your art won’t be something that everyone understands and that’s okay

An artist I admire greatly once told me that your work won’t be something that everyone understands and that’s okay, because the ones that do, will be profoundly altered and connected by it.

I never want to create art that is what you could see with your own eyes in the world.


What is the point to replicating the perfect creations of nature and spirit. I am seeking something deeper than that and asking if you too seek to see something behind the 1cm beauty.


I believe to some extent, the following quote by renowned physicist Richard Feynman, encompasses the fascination I have with depicting atoms (dots) in various structures and shapes.


“ I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees.
I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower.
It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”

A few years ago I committed this quote to memory and would find myself constantly churning it over in my brain. Recognising a significance but being unable to explain why. I would recite it to friends and family who seemed to think “that’s lovely dear” but not quite grasp the same magnitude of brilliance that I felt. Why? It wasn’t until I started my art practice that I could really explore the possibilities of what Feyman is so eloquently describing here.


The magic in science.


The magic of the way things work and although my work is 2D and stagnant, its the process of its unfolding which feels like dancing to me.

An artist I admire greatly once told me that your work won’t be something that everyone understands and that’s okay, because the ones that do, will be profoundly altered and connected by it. I know this to be true because it was through an abstract bizarre work of his that spoke to me on a level I could never logically explain to everyone, that I personally knew what this connection felt like.


I am still figuring out what it means to live in this world and create art. A few months ago I left my full time job which could be viewed as a big risk as I have a very niche audience and no experience in this industry. But choices like that are not made rationally, or lightly. It fascinates me that now it appears to have been ‘my choice’, and this could be a whole post in itself, but just as we don’t really see the unfolding of a flower to be the flower's choice, but something else, I see the same magic waving through everyones life. The only real choice we have is to allow or resist the movement it asks of us. Could you imagine if a flower refused to grow? It just doesn’t happen. So for a human to refuse growth and evolution, I find equally absurd. Making the most financially sensible choice when you don’t even have all the information is not sensible, it’s a false sense of security. The only security we have is the faith of never ending creativity and potential. With nothing physical, nothing to show for ourselves in materials, with breath we are never without potential.