I have such a treat for us all today, the supremely talented Jessica of Miniature Rhino is joining us. I have featured Jessica’s work a fair few times before here at LL&O, it was love at first sight for me and I continue to be spellbound by the beauty, intelligence and meticulous care Jessica weaves into her art works. I had planned a long preamble on ‘the collector’ as Jessica’s interview was originally intended as a kind of companion piece to Margie Oomen’s special birthday interview. But, yes, you are to be spared as I can barely string a sentence together at the moment. Jessica’s words really require no embellishment, I love this interview, to steal a phrase for its author, it “makes me float”!
Tell us a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
“Hello there! I’m Jessica Marquez and I’m 27 years old. I’m living in Brooklyn, NY right now, but originally I’m from California. The west coast is a huge part of who I am. It’s home to me and I associate it with family and warmth. I am a “baby adult.” My friend Nicola calls me this, because while I’m grown I’m still in between. Basically I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m trying to get there.”
” One day I want to up and leave, quit my day job and live the bohemian life in Mexico, learn Spanish and finally speak in my grand parents native tongue. The next day I want to quit my day job and create an artist retreat/ studio/ cupcake factory in Brooklyn. The next I imagine living in the middle of nowhere. I ride my bike to town and thrift all day long and then makes things in a little house. And while the where changes on the daily, mountains, beach or cabin, the fantasy always involves quitting my day job and making my little things. They make me happy as do my cat The Bug…”
“my boy Jeremy and my family…”
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
“I enjoy the idea of “cultivating your garden”, of creating who you are. I believe that my interest shape who I am and in turn I am changed by the more I learn. So I’d like for my interest and inspirations to be vast, layered, meaningful and always expanding from the last.”
“At the core I’ve always been drawn to the familial, mainly in images. My background is in photography, so I started photographing my family, then looking at vernacular images, and then studying the history of photography. Photography is so complex and rich- it’s magic, it’s science, it’s history, it’s holding the past in the present. Being introduced to these ideas sent me investigating science, natural sciences, Victorian culture, literature, archives, memory, identity politics and history.”
” My favorite place to be hands down is a Natural History Museum. I like science and art, displays, museums, archives, labels, old dirty stuff, age and decay.”
“I love music and reading too, although sometimes I forget how much, since life is so busy. But there are times when I’ll hear or read something that will make me float.”
“This might not be inspiration so much as a healthy competition but there are so many wonderful, creative, inspiring artisans on etsy. This lights a fire in me. I want to be making too, or I wish I had thought of this or that.”
” Its amazing how many makers there are trying so hard and I fight everyday to make my dream grow. It inspires me to see people make it, to make there own successes and fight hard to do it.”
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why? Please tell us the story behind the piece.
“The most recent piece I made is actually a little grouping of four small embroidered/stitched constellations. I’m calling them Reading the Stars after the stories associated with these star groupings. I’ve stitched Ursa Major, Orion, Andromeda, and Cygnus on navy blue fabric.”
“These pieces started out awhile back with and idea that popped into my head and was filed away for later. Finally I was requested to make a custom piece for a little boy’s bedroom and thought that I would make his name into a constellation and surround it with the constellations from the month of his birth. ”
“(I just sent it out to her and haven’t heard back- I hope she likes it!) So from there I isolated a few of my favorite constellations into little pieces. I tried to be accurate and depict things to scale and with the right surrounding stars. That’s how I roll- craft and science, or maybe craft and my OCD. It’s a little science, a little myth, a little graphic pleasure.”
” I’m also in love with the names of constellations themselves as well as the stories. I like the sound of their names being said and the visual of the stories fixed and floating in the night sky- from points in the sky transformed to a giant bear or a soaring swan, and just the way the word Orion sounds.”
Thank you so much Jessica for enriching our day with this wonderful insight into your creative life. I could quite happily camp out all day long in the Miniature Rhino shop, it always reminds me of the Soane Museum in London, full of carefully curated treasure and the most extraordinary work.
We are staying in Brooklyn for next week’s interview, who knows which day it will appear but appear it will. If we can all finally beat off the bugs I am hoping to get into a more regular pattern of posts next week. For now I am back under the duvet, the sickly nursemaid!
Oh and please go and check out this post over at Astulabee, it raises some interesting questions about self-revelation/experimentation and blogging. These are questions we all struggle with I believe, I certainly do, just how much of myself/family life to share, would readers find certain insights off putting, if I were more revelatory how would this affect the perception of my work? Ok, check the article out my dears!