VIRTUAL SENIOR SHOW: Clarissa De Jesus
The Grey Area
By Clarissa De Jesus
“I don't think about art when I’m working. I think of life.” - Jean-Michel Basquiat
In the many ways humanity instinctively chooses comfort, it's important in my work to provoke and cause dis-comfort in the audience. Through dis-comfort, individuals are forced to question the qualities of their lives they have normalized. Throughout my artistic career I've always centralized my work around shared emotional experiences that I believe can be experienced divergently. It is very important to me that my work is absorbed in a multitude of ways, leaving the viewers with different experiences surrounding one observation.
In my life I find it hard to explain the spectrum of severity that mental illness is expressed on. Emotional distress is experienced in so many ways that I will never fully understand an experience outside my own. Over the years it has become my second nature to move on from the distress I live with on a daily basis, however for someone else it could be much harder. Emotions are incredibly individual, personal and unique to each person. Therefore through my intentions of developing multiple avenues of experiencing emotions, my goal is to cause communities to question their emotional well being and how that may impact others around them. It is very important for my art to interact with the viewer on a personal level that provokes intuitive, personal questions about their life and how they deal with them.
As I venture deeper into artistic experimentation the choice to include the materiality of the media in the work is very important to the dialog of my art. Working with the printmaking medium for 4 years, making art that is easily experienced and accessible is why I choose to work with the printmaking medium. Making it easy to share work to different communities supports the unifying of those who share these experiences.
My goal is to work with deteriorating, ageing materials to play with the concept of time, life and death. This being said, the importance of permanent, archival materials plays the same role in the concept of the art. Moreover, I wish to interact these two ideas of permanence and impermanence together to induce unique moods in the viewers. For example, using unfamiliar creases and tears, discarded materials, while including normalities in my art pushes ideas about life vs art and how they arent far apart in meaning. the dis-comfort created from a combination of sensory experiences evokes melancholy, and strangely enticing emotions that maintain interest while also forcing questions in the audience. Overall, participating in the act of facing the discomfort we associate with the grey parts of life allows me and others to be freed from the conformity humanity is used too. Combining detail and skill with the delicacy and fragility of materials strengthens connections to life and death, opening up emotional vulnerability and fears that are meant to be faced.
Title: two Cities
Medium: Photo Based Intaglio Printmaking on Rose Hahnemühle Ingres Paper
Description: This print represents the process of drifting away from the relationship to your home, yet not fully connecting to the new environment you moved into. This image confronts the internal questions one might have about their sense of belonging.
Medium: Mix-media collage, Mono Printmaking and Pen on BFK Paper.
Description: Using fragmented imagery, my goal in this work is to normalize the lack of understanding we might have about our peers despite not being as close to them as before. The process of slowly not knowing a person anymore is a sign of growth from both parties.
Title: have a HEART
Medium: Relief printmaking on Cotton Fabric.
Description: I was inspired to emphasize the importance of thinking and speaking from the heart instead of from the head in these important and historical times. The question is, do we speak from the heart only when we feel the person deserves it?
Title: inside the Window
Medium: Collograph and Takbon Printmaking with Color Pencil on Kozo Paper.
Description: While making this work with the intentions of it being a window, I found myself unconsciously creating a portal into my inner peace. The derelict frame with its contrasting deep tones mimics the outer shell that I sometimes put up to disguise the gentile and fragile nature I carry.
Medium: Mokuhanga Relief Printmaking on Kozo Paper.
Description: Created in February, I learned a lot about balance in my relationships this year. While thinking about the ways I show love in my life, I aimed to visually represent the value of individual passion and love for oneself as a way of enriching the love that is shared with others and later sent back into the earth with the energy we possess
Medium: Intaglio Printmaking and Chine Collé on BFK Paper
Description: Currency is a part of life and is inescapable. Since this is true, how does one find the balance between indulging and preserving its value? Do you value it based on its use or its power?
Medium: Intaglio Printmaking on BFK Paper
Description: Society now connects in valuable and impressive ways through technology. What I aim to do in this piece is to glorify yet question these new realities. Do we willingly or unwillingly participate in all the influence the media brings? Do we question the motives behind their efforts?
Title: in the Clouds
Medium: 0.3mm, 1mm, and 2.5mm pen on Bristol Paper
Description: Like a lot of people, being diagnosed with a mood disorder and PTSD has made my life a constant black and white, up and down battle. When I draw clouds, I bring my audience into the sky, as if they can fly away from worldly problems. In this piece I am doing this for myself, allowing myself to fly up and out of the intrusive thoughts I have.
Medium: 0.1mm, 0.3mm, and 0.5mm pen on Bristol Paper
Description: Tradition and symbols from my childhood always bring me back to my grandma's house where I grew up. A bittersweet feeling reveals itself when these elements of Asian American familiarities arise. Using the repeated symbolism I practice, I intertwine branches to represent the conflicting movement between present and past, letting go of tears in the process.
Title: New world perspective
Medium: 0.1mm, 0.3mm, and 0.5mm Pen and Watercolor on Bristol Paper
Description: At the beginning of 2020, air pollution significantly went down in California as a result of the many enforced quarantine regulations. I wanted to capture the image I had in my head of the clouds I saw that day during a drive, how clear and perfect they were. It hurt me to see how easily the Earth can be taken care of if only we spent more time thinking about the outside world while being inside our own bubbles of safety.