Jessica Matier’s playful pieces explore our relationship with nature and society. They look at how we as adults exist in the world as we grow from our childhoods. We talk about how her creative process takes shape organically and instinctively from her body; the challenges she faces as an adult, and her connection with her studio.
Your art is an expression of mankind’s relationship with nature and society, could you share more about this with us and the themes within your work.
My creative approach aims towards learning how to exist in the world. It is an attempt to recover from my childhood and understand the role of adults and how they’re supposed to behave and view the world.
I am the best version of myself in the studio.
I like how your art pieces enable the viewer to enter a state of hyper-consciousness and encourage a re-awakening to take place. What message do you hope viewers will take from experiencing your art? And how do you wish they apply this to their own lives?
I like my viewers to get lost in the abstract landscapes and slip into a meditative state. I hope they walk away with a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic, how has this time influenced your art and your outlook on life? And what do you think we can take from it as a society.
My artwork has (strangely) become more playful. The pandemic gave me the gift of having enough time in the day to process my thoughts about whatever I was working on. I gave myself more freedom to explore visual elements that I would have shied away from. Being in quarantine has made me extremely grateful for my family. It has reassured me that getting married and having kids was the right thing to do. I would hope that our culture slows down a little and we remember that we don’t have to always be running around and doing things to feel important.
After this initial stage, the painting and I stare at each other.
Walk us through your creative process .. what are the different stages of your work? From initial concept to the execution of your idea.
The cycle begins with many small paper works. Then my practice expands to larger paper or canvas. I don’t have an initial concept for my art. It happens organically and from the body. I think the body senses before the mind can conceive any conscious thoughts. If it is the conscious thought that is being painted then it is not really art at all but more like propaganda. I work the initial image out in a variety of mediums. After this initial stage, the painting and I stare at each other. Eventually I re-approach it from a technical perspective. Then the painting will sit again, sometimes for months. I will stare ad nauseam until I find the right elements to wrap it all together.
What is your favourite part of the process?
It’s satisfying to get the painting to the point where it is a functional painting, meaning it is visually balanced and interesting enough to start a conversation.
Do you have any art rituals? When and where do you like to work?
I’m deeply tied to my studio. It has great energy that’s hard for me to feel anywhere else. I can feel it the moment I walk in. I light a lot of incense and keep a mini fridge stocked with different things to drink. I’ll flip through books while I’m working. That habit has taken me down some interesting roads. In terms of when, I don’t have the luxury of working whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I’ll be out there for a few minutes in between errands and appointments, and other times I will manage to hide away for most of the day. I used to think I was only creative at night until I had kids. Their schedules force me to work mostly during the day.
How does art and creativity affect your overall well-being? And how do you feel when you create?
If I go without painting or drawing I will feel tense and irritable. It’s a necessary release. I am the best version of myself in the studio.
I don’t have an initial concept for my art. It happens organically and from the body.
What are some of the challenges you face as an artist and how do you push past these?
The biggest challenge is balancing my art world with being a parent. The interchange of these two mindsets can sometimes make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated. In the end I know that I will have plenty of time for art when they’ve grown up. Knowing that always helps.
What are your hopes and dreams as an artist?
I hope I can share it with as many people as possible. I hope my paintings pull people out of depression or any type of sadness they experience.
Anything coming up we can look out for?
While there isn’t a set date, I will have work at Springboard Arts in Chicago this fall.
Some paintings will be hanging at Industrious in Washington DC at the end of November. There are many shows that don’t have set dates but are in the works. I always send the details out in my monthly studio digest, and post on Instagram as well.
To view more of Jessica’s work: