San Francisco-based painter Jessica Hess is a photorealistic landscape painter. Her depictions of the urban environment both celebrate and validate the art of graffiti through a fine art lens of oil paintings on canvas and gauche on paper. A graduate of RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), Hess is a recipient of the Trent Burleson Painting Prize, the Faber Birren National Color Award and the Stamford Art Association Award for Excellence.
For her first RUN Jessica Hess has teamed up with Spoke Art to bring “Bayview II” to 1xRUN.com. Jessica Hess has been exhibiting nationally since 2002 and has shown at Subliminal Projects (LA), White Walls (SF), Thinkspace (LA), Yves Laroche (Montreal), Ferrin Gallery (MA) and Geoffrey Young Gallery (MA) to name a few. Her work has been featured in print publications including New American Paintings (Northeast #74) and Harper’s (April 2009.) Read on to see process photos, Jessica’s past influences and more! Check out Bayview II – including the hand-embellished edition at 1xRUN.com
1xRun: Let’s talk about “Bayview II” is the original still for sale?
Jessica Hess: “Bayview II” is a cropped section of the original work. The original painting is of a wider horizontal view of the landscape. When I paint in oil the first layer is a monochromatic raw sienna colored under painting. Once that is dry I apply color in sections of about 6″ to 8″ a day, as it takes me a long time to paint. Once the whole image has color I add colored glazes to unify the artwork. I usually paint the sky last. For the hand-embellished edition I will be hand embellishing 10 or so prints.
Yes, the original is available through Spoke Art.
1xRun: When was “Bayview II” drawn/created?
Jessica Hess: 2011
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Jessica Hess: My roommate spotted the graffiti from Caltrain on his morning commute to work. He thought it would provide some good subject matter for me and brought me out the the spot he saw from the train out in Bayview. It is pretty gross under the tracks there and it is a sketch party of town so I am glad he tagged along. I always remove trash and cars from my paintings. There were a lot of homeless camps around there. Luckily we didn’t get chased by crackheads this time. Ha. I took a hundred or so photos then we went to eat BBQ. Two months later I had this lovely painting. That’s the story.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Jessica Hess: Two months.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Jessica Hess: Bayview II is a painting with strong sweeping light and glowing graffiti colors. It is one of three different paintings I did of this particular location.
1xRun: Why should people buy “Bayview II”?
Jessica Hess: Um…because I am your new favorite starving artist?
1xRun: Describe the piece/print in one gut reaction word.
Jessica Hess: Bold.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Jessica Hess: I was 5 years old. maybe younger. I took my first art class when I was 5.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Jessica Hess: I will talk about my first serious piece. My first landscape was of a building I had a love-affair with throughout college. I attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Behind the Providence Place Mall was a beautiful and massive vacant warehouse called The Foundry. It spanned two blocks and was 6 stories high. For years my classmates and I snuck into The Foundry and photographed, painted, and explored until it began its renovation in 2003.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Jessica Hess: The industrial photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Jessica Hess: The German Lipzeig painter David Schnell.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Jessica Hess: Music is on from the time I get up until I fall asleep to it. I hate the quiet. I would like to get a sound system for when I am in the shower…one day. The louder it is the more productive I am being. I consider good music to be an art supply just like paint and canvas as without it I would get nothing done.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Jessica Hess: I do collaborate with an artist and we have a lot of fun making installation art together. Her name is Christa Assad and she is a sculptor in Berkeley. Assad makes porcelain objects that I paint on. (Click here to see a full gallery of the duo’s collaborations!)
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Jessica Hess: Dealing with the living is hard enough
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Jessica Hess: I bought an 18″ x 24″ Shepherd Fairey print in 2004 for $42. Yep, still got it.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Jessica Hess: Starving artists can’t buy art so I traded my friend and fellow SF artist David Young V.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Jessica Hess: I have an upcoming show this fall at Spoke Art in San Francisco. Currently I am preparing for the SF art fairs in May.
1xRun: Where can people find you across the internette?
-1xRUN dot com