Jessica Gamble's work is drawn from life experience and focuses on invoking personal connections. Much of her artwork is about searching, memories and mending while exploring the human form. She examines topics including feminism, psychology, and organic systems of the internal workings of the body. Jessica currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, creating works that span mediums of painting, photography, installation, sculpture, textiles, video and wearable embodiments.Her website is jesgamble.com
Interviewed by Linda Lin
Edited by Madeleine Schirber
Where do you draw inspirations from and how do you transform them into your artistic practice?
Much of my work comes from personal experiences and the emotions tied to those experiences, as well as the experiences of others. My work mainly focuses on the body, which houses our psychology. I am inspired by a mixture of artists, both male and female, from the past and present.
A group of artists that I became extremely intrigued and sometimes repelled by are the Vienna Actionists. I first became aware of them by coming across the work of Rudolf Schwarzkogler, which I very much related to.
Another incredible artist that I have been moved and inspired by is Hannah Wilke.
I find the body very inspiring in its existence, growth and decay. A vessel that houses all of our unique experiences.
Every experience, every thought, every visual stimuli is inspiration. Life is inspiration.
When a moment of inspiration hits it can come together very fluidly. Other times it may take a little while with the usual pain, struggle and doubt, but it all comes together in a very magical way.
What are you working on at the moment?
A fundraising campaign, a drawing series, a new hand-stitched adornment/photo series, my website, editing photos from past photo shoots, an oil painting series, a solo exhibition for 2016, potential exhibition opportunities before the end of the year as well as potential exhibition opportunities outside of Philly, grant applications, residency applications... I always have many things to do.
How does feminism and psychology play a role in your work, respectively?
My mom, sisters and myself have been through a lot together. We've faced many dark days and abuse on many different levels. Through it all, my mother has instilled in us feminist values with a respect for both males and females. With all of our experiences, psychology and feminism just go hand in hand. Women's rights and respect for women are, unfortunately, still huge contemporary battles today. The only way to cause change is to make change. Let's keep at the fight, ladies!
What are your thoughts on the impact of social media and Internet on art and artist?
I think it's a fantastic tool that allows artists to gain more exposure, as well as to gain more inspiration and knowledge as to what is happening out there on all different levels, including outside of art. However, the dark side is that it is a lot of work and does take away time from actually producing the work. But there is a connectedness without being somewhere in person that enables us all to be active participants in one another's lives.
How do you like the arts scene/environment in Philadelphia?
There are some exceptionally talented artists who live in Philly and rightly so, as it's affordable to live and create. So it just makes sense that Philly would draw in incredibly talented artists who want to learn, grow and create work. It’s great to see so many emerging talents coming out of Philadelphia. If you want to find some of the country's most cutting edge talent, come to Philly.
Why did you choose to base here?
I wanted to live in an affordable city where I had options, inspirations and was close to NYC. I also very much love the history and range in architecture, as well as being able to walk almost anywhere.
What are the best and worst parts about being a (female) artist?
It's still prevalent that women are not taken as seriously or respected as well as men in the industry. There are indeed men who believe they are better even if the quality of their work and concept is poor in comparison to their female counterparts. Also, some women are given more attention if they are particularly attractive to certain beholders and exude a certain amount of sexuality in their persona and through their art. Other women see this and can become discouraged if they feel they don't fit into that attractiveness scale or their work doesn't give the same sexuality. Most of society loves beauty so our innate human objectification and worship of beauty goes very deep. This is a pretty heavy topic that can be discussed at great length. Although it does not excuse the objectification of anyone nor the encouragement of the idea that the only thing women have of value is their beauty and sexuality.
Women have extreme strengths. I believe female artists have all typically faced a wide range of adversity on personal levels, as well as in their own unique industries. Women have learned quickly how to grow thick skins, to work extremely hard even when their personal lives may be crumbling before their eyes, and to persevere through all adversities.
How do you think women can be more prevalent in the art world today?
An army of many is stronger than an army of one. Strength in numbers, ladies. Work together not against one another.
Do you have any tips for emerging female artists?
Don't take no for an answer. Realize things take time and what may seem like an overnight success is actually years and years of hard work and dedication. Tenacity is your friend. Remember not everyone will like you or your work. You will face adversity on many levels. Everyone goes through emotions of feeling insignificant and maybe even (the bad word) jealous. Don't get upset, work through it and know you are not alone. Think positively and positivity will follow. Allow yourself to find your beauty and confidence.