John John Jesse is a mixed media artist who draws inspiration from his punk rock beginnings as the bass player in seminal New York City crust punk band Nausea. Since the dissolution of Nausea, John John Jesse went on to show in countless galleries around the world as well as find his work featured in the pages of magazines like Juxtapoz, Rolling Stone and many more. Fresh off of his recent show at Opera Gallery we caught up with John John Jesse as he talks about his latest print Super Villains, his early influences and more…1xRUN Thru Interview
Super Villains by John John Jesse
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece “Super Villains”
John John Jesse: The Heath Ledger Joker Cat is the opiate dealer as you can see. My work is my autobiography and it is an interpretation of my life long battle with addiction. The good news is I am 13 years clean and sober.1xRUN: When was this piece created and with what materials ?
John John Jesse: I painted this piece in 2012 at my home studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania. It was made with gouache, graphite, ink, acrylic and spray paint on thick wood birch panels. Super Villains was part of my recent show “The World of John John Jesse” at Opera Gallery. The show featured more than 25 new paintings, drawings and more as it was a actual installation of my work studio.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for this piece?
John John Jesse: Since it’s about my life of drugs and alcohol, I fused my obsession with Batman with it. Like the battle of good and evil. The eternal battle between Batman & Robin and the Joker.
1xRun: How long did the piece take to create?
John John Jesse: It’s big with very extreme detail and took almost 3 months to finish.1xRun: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
John John Jesse: Triumph.1xRun: When did you first start making art?
John John Jesse: I was a young punk rocker making flyers for punk and hardcore bands in the 80’s and 90s. But I always loved drawing as a kid. I drew Spiderman, Woody Woodpecker, Batman, Casper, Scooby Doo and Star Wars.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? How about now?
John John Jesse: To this day it is Jamie Reid, who did the cut and paste artwork of the Sex Pistols in the late 1970s.His work inspired the entire look of what all punk art would be like to this day. Now I love the old masters like Caravaggio.1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
John John Jesse: It’s either TV or music, that’s usually punk and hardcore. Sometimes 80s new wave too.
1xRun: Can you bring us up to speed since your last release with us a few years back?
John John Jesse: I just had a successful packed solo art show last month in Soho, New York City at Opera Gallery. It was complete with my entire studio here implanted as an installation at the gallery.1xRun: What other things have you been up lately?
John John Jesse: Collecting and shooting antique old west firearms. Old Colts, Smith & Wessons and Winchesters.