Bio~Jessie McNally is an Australian born Minnesota raised emerging artist who resides in Saint Paul. She works as a tattoo artist at Steady Tattoo in Minneapolis. Jessie is inspired by folk art, Mexican culture, Dias de los Muertes, religious icons and symbols, flora, fauna, alchemy and her work as a tattoo artist. Her artwork is a combination of painting, sculpting, assemblage and mixed media.
"Vivian" Mixed Media
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
At the moment, I use a lot of mixed media in my work. I shop at thrift stores weekly and pick up interesting things that I turn into "art" using glue, paint, hardware etc. Right now I am working on so many different pieces. Because I use random objects as starting points no two are alike. Right now I'm finishing a mannequin torso and it's arms. I'm constantly trying out new materials in my work. Using fabric as my under painting has proved a lot more challenging that I thought. It's made me slow down and I'm enjoying the process.
For 18 months I lived in the Northern Warehouse Artist Co-op and that's when the sculptural aspect of my work really started. Previously, I had mostly painted before on canvas and old framed prints that I had found at thrift stores because of the restrictions on my work space. Having so much work space In the Northern Warehouse really allowed me to create on a larger scale.
"Mater Dolorosa" Mixed Media
"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?
My hope is that my audience simply remembers my art. Whether or not people find it disturbing, beautiful, scary, fun etc I just hope it sticks in their head. I'm not sure if there is a statement other than "turning other peoples junk into awesomeness"!
Really, it's just fun to me. When I make the things I do I get really excited, my heart skips a beat and I think YES! And sometimes even I think what I do is scary or disturbing but I still love it. And if I hit that cord with my audience then I'm happy.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
My mom gave me a card for my 18th that said "some people may say you are going the wrong way, when it is simply a way of your own." This quote rings out in my head all the time.
Tell me about your work space and your creative process.
I just moved into a house so my work space has changed quite a bit. I have a studio in my basement but now that it's warmer I'm in the process of taking over the garage. I like to have lots of room to work as I am a messy worker. When I go to thrift stores. I'm like a robot scanning the shelves, looking at the junk but not looking at it for what it is but what it could be. What could take on the shape of a wing, arm, head, eyeballs, or how cool would that Jesus statue look with a pretty skull face! Etc.Whenever I get new pieces that I'm excited about I clear a space on my workbench for them. And then I stare at them until something pops into my head. I also have bins of junk that I surround myself with and I pick out pieces to see if they fit as if it were a puzzle. From there it is layers of paint and washes, bits and pieces, until an end result is achieved.
Workspace (I wish it still looked this clean!)
Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
To be honest, I don't know that many. I'm starting to pay attention more, really I am. But here's a few I've been watching as of late.
If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I'm not very good at going to galleries and museums, I do love them when I go, I just don't do it often. But the places I have gone to in the last year or so to various shows have been, Cult Status Gallery, Rogue Buddha Gallery, MIA, Walker, The AZ Gallery, and Echo Arts.
Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
www.google.com - for image searches when I have an idea but need references.
Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
I will be at The AZ Gallery for St. Paul Art Crawl in 2 weeks (April 27-29, 2012) and I'm be showing at Northeast Tattoo for Art-A-Whirl in May (May 18-20). I'm also putting together a show with local tattoo artists for the first weekend in June. And then the second weekend of June I'm opening at Nevermind Gallery on W.7th with a couple friends and we are calling it 'A Crude Menagerie'.