#79 Jessica Jane Charleston

Henry Martin: What, if any, responsibility, do you feel as an artist, in what way, or toward whom?

Jessica Jane Charleston: I feel a responsibility to myself to take my work seriously as an artist, to allow myself time to make work, to let everything else wait.

Henry Martin: What does it mean to change?What is your favourite art work?

Jessica Jane Charleston: It is important that my work changes with my explorations and my life. I do not want to feel that I am a ‘woman who paints x, y or z’. I make work to express myself and understand the world better and that can be explored in many ways and mediums. I don’t have one favourite piece of work, I find favourite pieces regularly. The last exhibition that stunned me was the Käthe Kollwitz at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. Kollwitz’s work is political and personal. Her self portraits are some of my favourites. They are unbelievably powerful, stark and beautiful.

Henry Martin: If you could meet one other artist who would it be (living or dead)?

Jessica Jane Charleston: Scout Niblett. Scout is a musician mainly, but also draws. I would like to make art that makes me feel how her music makes me feel.

Henry Martin: What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist?

Jessica Jane Charleston: Balance.

Henry Martin: What is inspiration? How do you find it?

Jessica Jane Charleston: By doing.

Henry Martin: What does the word gender mean to you within your practice?

Jessica Jane Charleston: My work is often an exploration of the self portrait and for me that means my personal experience of being a woman.

Henry Martin: Who do you admire, and why?

Jessica Jane Charleston: I admire the couple James and Catherine Dodds (Jardine Press). Both artists who work together on publications. Both painters in their own right who have created a strong working and family environment.

Henry Martin: Agnes Martin said, “We think we are very mundane, but we are all capable of fugues.” Respond.

Jessica Jane Charleston: I’m not sure if I’m interpreting the quote correctly, but it makes me think of Laurie Penny’s emphasis in Bitch Doctrine (recent read for me) – the personal is the political.


Title: Follow Me. Date: 2017. Format/Materials: Pastel on Paper. Dimensions: 70cm x 200cm. Picture Credit: Royal Drawing School

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