IN GOOD COMPANY: An Interview with Jessie Edelman
Jesse Edelman is a New York based artist and feminist. On a warm day in May, I met her outside her Brooklyn building. Upon walking into her studio, almost immediately, large scale paintings, canvas, ladders, and props poised and presented before me displayed a visual glimpse as to her process. For me, I’m the Voyeur- looking into her window where many desires, ideas, and fantasies play out. After we settled in her studio she pulls a book from a table. It’s some collected works from the American painter, Elizabeth Peyton.
“She sort of has this androgynous feel…Where all the figures are sort of feminized.”
I instantly concur, “Oh, yeah, totally I can see that- Very Cool.”
“Yeah! She paints and washes on an oil ground which lends that water colour effect,” remarks Jessie.
I can tell that Peytons work has largely influenced Edelman's approach how sentimental she depicts her characters.
Jay Escobara: I’ve noticed there’s a lot of women featured in your paintings. Is this intentional?
Jessie Edelman: Yes, it’s intentional. I mostly have female figures in my work, but men do appear too! [chuckles]
Jay Escobara: You know, there’s something about your paintings that remind me of vacations or tropical destinations. Why is that?
Jessie Edelman: I’m interested in the idea of escapism. Painting places where you want to be or idealizing a dreamscape reality is largely what my paintings depict. It should be able to transport you from where you are to another place.
Jay Escobara: Have you always had this concept in your approach to your paintings?
Jessie Edelman: Yes, mostly. I like to think about the vision- what are the bounds of that[vision] and how far can I stretch it and still have it all work.
Jay Escobara: How do you relate to fashion? Is style about comfort or function for you? Or Both?
Jessie Edelman: Fashion inspires me. I Love to see what people are wearing on the street on the way to my studio and around the city; I get ideas for my paintings that way. Style for me is about comfort, function, and attitude.
Jay Escobara: Favorite Colours?
Jessie Edelman: Right now I am obsessed with turmeric and tangerine. I have been looking to fruits and leafy green trees from my color palette lately.
Jay Escobara: Are you Introverted or Extroverted?
Jessie Edelman: I am an introvert for sure. I need a lot of time to myself and I prefer one-on- one time with close friends over going to a big party.
Jay Escobara: You've said that you enjoy playing basketball and are a part of Downtown Girls Basketball. What position do you play? What was a recent highlight you've experienced court-side?
Jessie Edelman: I love playing point guard and setting up plays. Our final round of sudden death is always a highlight each week.
Jay Escobara: What does Youth Mean to You?
Jessie Edelman: A state of wonderment, carefree imagination, and endless possibility.
[New York: Jessie Edelman in her Studio (Interview Taken 5/17/2017). Photos taken at the artist’s studio offices in Buschwick, Brooklyn. She is currently represented by Denny Gallery, New York; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago.]