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Q&A with Artist Jessica Hutchison

June 15th, 2012

Jessica Hutchison is a painter born in Louisiana and started painting when she was a child.  Her recent work reflects her transition and life in Oakland thus far.

Have you always worked in acrylic?  
As a child, I discovered I had terrible allergies to the turpentine I used with oil paints. Since then, I’ve experimented with water-based oils that don’t require me to wear a haz-mat suit, but for the most part I’ve used acrylics. To bring the visions in my head to life on canvas, I had to develop techniques to finesse the unforgiving pigments into a variety of different looks typically reserved for oils. The paintings you’ll see from me at the next F3 demonstrate these techniques.

Do you have a theme for your recent work?
At least for me, seemingly simple emotions–sadness or joy or frustration or contentment–are often overwhelmingly complex. It can be a struggle for me at times, but though there is a certain darkness in some of my work, it really isn’t about depression. In these recent paintings, I’ve tried to let the emotions I’m feeling flow through while keeping the subject (really, just a simple circular shape) consistent.

You come from a family of Artists, how have they influenced your work?
More than anything they have taught me to paint from the heart. Growing up, my sister and mom and I would work on canvas while my brothers would write music and poetry, and that was just the immediate family! My mom used to teach art, so she imparted a lot of great technique, but being surrounded by such a variety of different forms of creative expression gave me a willingness to paint what I felt rather than what I saw. I’m also a relatively new member of the Cotton Mill Studios family, and being surrounded by such incredible talent has been an inspiration for my work!

Describe your philosophy.
To be honest, I’m not sure I know yet–I think that’s still something I’m discovering. But I do know that as I paint, I’m learning. About myself, and also I guess from myself. Painting my emotions helps me understand them, and I think that makes me better and stronger.

Do you have a favorite Artist?
I’ve always loved Frida Khalo. Talk about painting from the heart. She’s an amazing inspiration to me!

What are you working on next?
Well–I’m still experimenting with it, but I think I’m going to try to bring more nature and floral subjects into my work. Come to F3 in October and we’ll see how it turns out!

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