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Art & Life with Jessica Winton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Winton.

Jessica, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I had an unremarkable childhood, though loved to draw, and create cardboard or LEGO constructions. Surprisingly, at age eleven, I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. This pivotal time began a process of learning about patience, responsibility and the importance of self-care and advocacy. Shortly after high school, I began my life as an artist, and with threats of my chronic condition affecting my sight, I decided I would have a better chance of making artwork as a sculptor (through touch) than as a painter (through sight). And so, I began down the sculptor’s path, and carved stone, cast bronze and forged steel.

“Affliction, like the iron-smith, shapes as it smites.” – A.A. Bronson

Though my work is not about diabetes or medicine, it does require listening ears and full hearts. I recall a medical psychiatrist once telling me that his patients with lifelong chronic illness were often the most empathetic people. Does this translate into the way I make my artworks? Probably, though it is very hard to tease out the causality of one’s own life and art – intertwined as they are.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Representation of one’s self and community concerns is a growing interest of mine. I have been working to make changes in my own neighborhood in the social-political level, and I have seen benefits and appreciation from those around me. “Representation” in this sense translates through my artwork not through portraiture but rather by working with under-served communities to facilitate their self-representation publicly through sculpture and performance. My work follows artist Joseph Beuys’ theory of the importance of the sculpture’s relationship to the social and often includes participation from members of the public, particularly neighborhood children, and elders.

My experience as a prop builder in the Film & Television industry has influenced my atypical approach to impermanence and adaptability in material selection and a tendency toward performance.

Graduate studies at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University led me to investigate the role of the citizen artist in the public spheres we occupy, and how sculptural works can relate to social movement through common metaphor and intriguing illusion.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Ephemeral in nature, my work comes and goes! I have created an archive of past and upcoming projects on my website: which includes contact information.

I recently presented the “Ris Publica” series of works at: ANYWHERE AND ELSEWHERE (2018),  conference, at Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY. Here is a video link.

I would love to participate in your local parades, so please invite me!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
K. Knight, H. Minzloff, O. Myint

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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