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An Interview With Jessica Zoob

Jessica Zoob is a British contemporary artist who works from her Lewes home and studio. She exhibits regularly in and around London and has works in private collections worldwide. Recently Jessica launched her exciting collaboration with ROMO black edition who have skilfully recreated Jessica’s paintings for an exclusive collection of printed fabrics, wall coverings and fabrics. Zoob has worked on commissions for Intarya and Linley including works for the entrances: of The Lancaster’s Hyde Park, a palace in Dubai and of NEO Bankside. She is currently working on a new collection Playtime which will be launched at her open studio in August

A:You have recently been exploring the idea of the Dream Painting. Please can you tell me more about this inspiration?
JZ: If I look up at the clouds on a sunny day I see so many images ‘painted’ on the sky, I suppose that’s where I got the idea of painting evocative dreamscapes. When people look at my paintings I want them to keep seeing different images as the light changes or their eyes focus in different ways. I am always trying to create work that allows people to lose themselves within it, letting their minds wander and perhaps recognising things from their own dreams or memories.

 A:Your work is mainly in oil paints, what do you find this embodies the work with?
JZ: I work in oils as I absolutely love the colours and exceptional properties; I feel it is like using silk as opposed to nylon. As the layers of thick, lavish oils are built up and scraped back over weeks and months its as if I’m mining for gold (which in a sense, I am) The final application of glaze transforms them again in a matter of seconds and the work embodies a wonderful texture and depth.

A: You originally trained as a theatre designer, what influence has this had on your work?
JZ: I worked as a theatre designer for seven years at venues including the Bristol Old Vic, the Royal National Theatre and Greenwich Theatre. It has had a huge influence on my work as a contemporary artist. I think I was very lucky to bypass the more confrontational training which fine art students appear to encounter and was simply trained to use my eyes with hours of life drawing. I loved the challenges involved with creating sets and costumes and found it hugely rewarding but for me painting is completely liberating by contrast! The only person I need to please being myself, rather than a whole team as in the past.

A:Your work is not intended to be figurative, how do people respond to your work?
JZ:I want people to feel rested when they look at my work – to wander through the paintings seeing something different each time they look at them and explore the magic that is there. I aim to create something that appears absolutely simple, although of course in reality that is the hardest thing to do. I paint for the joy of it and each painting speaks of a particular journey in my own life. There is only ever one painting in the world that tells that story and people fall in love with the paintings that connect most eloquently to them. I always say to people, if you are not completely in love with something, don’t buy it. People respond very emotionally to my work and despite the joyous themes I explore there are quite often tears! It is wonderful and sometimes overwhelming the way people respond.

A: What do you think is the most important influence in your art?
JZ:I am influenced and inspired by everything around me and everywhere I go, often in the most unexpected places; a crumbling old wall in an alleyway, peeling posters, an old fishing boat washed up on the shore, aeroplane smoke trails in the sky. However, the Sussex countryside where I live is probably the important influence on my art. The rolling hills and beautiful, delicate landscape with the chalk framed sea are often reflected in my work.

A:What do you have planned for the future?
JZ:I am constantly planning the next painting, collection and exhibition and currently “Playtime” is all I can think about! It is so lovely to paint for the sheer joy of it! I am very excited about my collaboration with Romo and we are currently discussing possible additions to the Desire range. I would love to work with a fashion designer as I think that would be amazing and I am always on the look out for huge walls as I want to make vast paintings and soon I will have a studio big enough for me to achieve that.

To see more of Jessica Zoob’s work please go to www.jessicazoob.com

To see her listing in the Artists’ Directory in Aesthetica Magazine issue 58 pick up a copy at www.aestheticamagazine.com/shop

Credits:
1. Desire by Jessica Zoob Digitally printed linens, velvets and wallcoverings. Courtesy of the the artist.
2. Midnight Water 1. Currently being exhibited at Loughran Gallery. www.loughrangallery.co.uk

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