Jessica Watts

Represented Artist

Jessica Watts

Represented Artist

Jessica Watts was born in Brisbane in 1969 and spent her childhood in Sydney. She received a Bachelor of Design with First Class Honours and the University Medal from the University of Technology Sydney in 1991. Upon graduating, she moved to New York where she enjoyed a successful career as a highly awarded advertising art director. During this time she started accepting commissions to create artworks for private clients.

 

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ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Jessica Watts was once the worst waitress in the world. Thankfully, she graduated UTS with a  Bachelor of Design with First Class Honours and the University Medal before enjoying a long career as a typographer and art director in New York and Sydney. In 2010 she became a full time visual artist.
Through the years Jessica has amassed all sorts of printed ephemera which she revives in her artwork. She paints predominantly in oils but her art is rooted in collage. For her, there is an affection and tenderness in the re-purposing of things that once belonged to someone else.
Her collection of 1940’s and 1950’s wallpaper was the inspiration for her acclaimed series of work “Wallflower”. The series is an exploration into beauty: in particular, how appearances relate to the inner self.
It started with a question: Is a wallflower the one who shrinks into the background and becomes invisible…Or is she something that emerges from the wall, opening, blossoming, divulging her secrets? Perhaps beauty is more about the observer than the observed—if there is someone looking, then what is hidden may be revealed…
Watts’ female forms are enigmatic, cropped as close as the secrets they keep. Her work is underpinned by notions of joy, self-possession and the necessity of being content with our own solitude.

ARTIST STATEMENT

SOLO EXHIBITION ‘DEBUTANTE’

I paint predominantly in oils, but my art is rooted in collage.
Over the years I have amassed all sorts of ephemera: vintage storybooks, salvaged bingo cards, 70’s Letraset, even the fortunes from every Chinese cookie I ever encountered. For me there is a tenderness and affection in breathing new life into things that have been discarded and forgotten. Most recently, I am reviving charming old wallpapers from the 40’s and 50’s to create work for my series Wallflower.
It started with a question: is a Wallflower the one who shrinks into the background and becomes invisible? Or is it something that emerges from the wall, opening, blossoming, divulging its secrets? Perhaps beauty is more about the observer than the observed: if there is someone looking, then what is hidden may be revealed.
Debutantes, wallflowers, clinging vines, china dolls… these are all completely outmoded ideas of women. But if you revisit a place with new ideas—in fact, when you look closely at anything that is familiar—it transforms into something unfamiliar, something new.
In Debutante, the girls are coming out in their first solo show. The work explores joy and the nature of femininity and is underpinned by notions of self-possession and the necessity of being content with our own solitude.

EDUCATION | BACKGROUND

1992-2009 | Art Director – Various multinational advertising agencies, New York / Sydney
1990 Bachelor of Design Visual Communication, University of Technology, Sydney, Hons.1 and University Medal
1989 Central St Martins School of Art, London, SCA Scholarship Program

EXHIBITIONS

Solo Exhibitions
2016 Studio Open Day, 19 North Fort Road, North Head Manly
2016 Happy Place, The Colour Trap Gallery, Avalon Beach NSW
2015 Debutante, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast QLD
2015 Petits Travaux, Retrospect Gallery, Byron Bay NSW
2015 Nature Of It, ArtSpot , Avalon NSW
2013 Spring Thing , Manly Art Festival, Sydney NSW
2012 Small Observations and Unexpected Glimpses , ArtSpot, Avalon NSW
2012 The Boys and The Birds , Sydney Art Expo, Hordern Pavillion, Sydney NSW
2011 Long Days, Balmy Nights, ArtZpace, Avalon NSW
Group Exhibitions
2016 “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Retrospect Galleries, Byron Bay NSW
2016 Jessica Watts & Ruchi Rai, The Colour Trap Gallery, Avalon Beach, Sydney NSW
2016 Art Obsession Inc Galleries, Fukuoka JAPAN
2015 Saltwater, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney NSW
2015 RED Expressionism Group Show, 19 KAREN Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast QLD
2015 Affordable Art Fair, Stockholm SWEDEN
2015 Affordable Art Fair, Retrospect Gallery, London ENGLAND
2015 Australian for Womens Health Charity Event, Sydney NSW
2015 ArtSpot – An Exhibition of Artists on the Northern Beaches, Avalon NSW
2014 Affordable Art Fair, Retrospect Gallery, Singapore
2014 Retrospect Gallery, Byron Bay, NSW
2014 Small Works, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy VIC
2014 A Tribute to Michael Jackson’s 10 Best Film Clips, 19 KAREN Contemporary Artspace, Gold Coast QLD
2014 A Tiding of Magpies , Milk Factory Gallery, Bowral NSW
2013 Keeping Company with the Collection , Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Manly NSW
2013 Art in Odd Places 2013: Number , Outdoor Public Art Festival, Sydney NSW
2013 Balmain Art Show, Sydney NSW
2013 Vision 7, Queenwood Sydney NSW
2012 Summer Exhibition 2012, Milk Factory Gallery, Bowral NSW
2012 Small Works, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy VIC
2012 Figure, Form and Sensuality, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy VIC
2012 POP, Painter’s Gallery, Mona Vale NSW
2011 The Salon Show, Painter’s Gallery, Mona Vale NSW
2011 North Sydney Art Prize Show, North Sydney NSW
2010 Tea Party , The Art Tree, Manly NSW
2010 Scarborough Art Show, Scarborough NSW

PUBLICATIONS,PUBLIC SPEAKING AND AWARDS

2016 Warringah Council presents ‘Selling Your Work, Marketing for Visual Artists featuring Jessica Watts, Warringah Creative Space
2015 Space to Create, We Are Scout e-zine, September, Lisa Tilse
2015 Art: Jessica Watts, Empty Magazine Annual 02, July, Andrew Johnstone
2015 The Daily Muse: Jessica Watts, Elusive Muse, April 30, Thomas LaBadia
2015 Jessica Watts: Women Carrying Birds and Flowers, Fubiz, April 29, Colin Romaine
2015 Pattern Recognition, This Isn’t Happiness™, April, Peter Nidzgorski
2015 Inspi: A Fauna, a flora e as garotas, www.inspi.com.br, April, Eneo Lage
2015 Featured Artist: Jessica Watts, Ink & Alchemy, April, Robin Kalinich
2015 Paintings: Jessica Watts, ineedaguide/blogspot, April 13
2015 Jessica Watts: Improbable Portraits, Lamono Magazine, March
2014 The Art of Giving, Daily Telegraph, November 7
2014 Salon Hang, Art/Edit Magazine, Issue 4
2014 Finalist – Warringah Art Prize for the work ‘Authentic Spirit’
2014 “Artists in Conversation”, Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Guest Speaker
2013 “Wild Things”, Featured Artist, Saatchi Art
2012 “Showstopper”, Pittwater Life, December Issue
2012 “International Contemporary Artists” Annual, Volume IV, I.C.A Publishing New York USA
2012 “Artist Paints Her Past”, Manly Daily 13/01/12
2012 “ArtZpace at Avalon” Pittwater Life, January Issue
2011 “Our Best Emerging Artists” Peninsula Living, December Issue

COMMISSIONS

2013 Pittwater Council. Foyer, Mona Vale Library, Sydney NSW
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