One can see the influence of contemporary illustration and animation in the work of Jessica Booker; that there is a good measure of manga seems obvious, but is there not a also a bit of Margaret Keane, whose “Big Eye” paintings were the source of controversy and an important progenitor of the mass market merchandising of art almost a century ago?
Such a thought is what makes the work of so young an artist interesting. Would Ms. Booker even know Keane, whose court case to claim authorship of her work is now seen as a feminist victory for a female artist so subservient to her husband’s will as to feel it appropriate to bury her creative identity? If time is a river, perhaps artists are unknowingly being caught up in themes and influences like eddies and currents along the way, forever being swept downstream.
Booker works mostly from her imagination, but is inspired by people in her life, a blending of source and sensibility that asks questions about identity in an overly homogenized, culture saturated by digital media.
She finds the approach somewhat liberating, “…not worrying about getting an exact likeness to someone makes creating more open. They are like idealized caricatures of different persona and personalities I encounter every day. Each face is different in the moment, but similarities start to show and imaginary bonds between these total strangers start to emerge.
Playing with color, composition, shapes of features - even what they wear, tells what they might be like. Experimenting, for me, is important. Much like actual people, there are similarities and differences. I like to play with the details to make each person unique.”
In high school, Booker received a Scholastic Gold Key Award for Art and Writing. Last year she helped paint a mural on a Spalding University building for SoBro in Louisville.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA candidate, Painting and Drawing, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.