Guest Artist Jess Cochrane

Wel­come to the rare cross­road where beau­ti­ful and scary meet. This is­sue's guest artist paints the world as she sees it.

YEN - - CONTENTS - See more at jess­cochrane.com and @jess­cochrane­paints_.

Did you al­ways want to be an artist? I’m pretty cer­tain that when I was lit­tle, my choice of pre­ferred ca­reer paths were artist, florist, cat and hair­dresser. Artist seems to have won out. I stud­ied graphic de­sign be­fore de­cid­ing on vis­ual art but I get so an­gry sit­ting at a desk all day.

What’s the first thing you made that you re­mem­ber be­ing proud of? I think it was a colour­ful pen­cil draw­ing of my favourite pony I used to ride when I was six. I re­mem­ber think­ing I to­tally nailed it and I proudly stuck it on the fridge at home.

How and when did you de­velop your cur­rent style? I started de­vel­op­ing this style just over a year ago while study­ing vis­ual art at Univer­sity of Wol­lon­gong. I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated by how we con­sider beauty and the fe­male form. When I was a teenager I would go to life draw­ing classes and draw com­pletely hon­est forms, then go home and read Vogue. In do­ing that I al­ways found a huge dis­con­nect be­tween the two yet a love and a place for both. I really enjoy ex­plor­ing pop­u­lar cul­ture within my work; the idea of want­ing over need­ing, how fash­ion plays a role in con­struct­ing [what] we buy into through brands, celebri­ties, mu­sic and sex­u­alised cul­ture.

My work for the most part is me tak­ing im­ages and us­ing my brush to in­ter­ro­gate the con­struct of beauty and the bound­aries that it creates for wom­an­hood as well as ques­tion­ing the cul­ture of women in­ter­act­ing with beauty in a nar­cis­sis­tic and self-dep­re­cat­ing way. It’s a con­scious ef­fort on my part to tear down a hege­monic cul­ture of one form of beauty and cre­at­ing one that leaves space for beauty to be hon­est and soft and pow­er­ful and raw and vi­o­lent, all whilst be­ing all-in­clu­sive.

What are some things that strad­dle the beau­ti­ful/ugly border for you? Beauty ad­ver­tis­ing, pe­ri­ods, peo­ple, flow­ers. Lit­tle flaws that com­plete some­thing. A build­ing where the paint is chip­ping off, peo­ple’s crooked smiles, se­cret freck­les, bad tat­toos and hid­den scars. They’re the most beau­ti­ful gross things in the world I think.

De­scribe your stu­dio space… It’s the small skele­ton of a laun­dry room in an old house, which is now a co-op in town called Sifters. Its walls are white with paint drips on them from the last paint­ings I had pinned on them. It of­ten smells like fresh flow­ers be­cause of the florist in the front room, or cof­fee be­cause of the cafe out the back. It’s cosy and a com­fort­able space to play in.

What ex­pe­ri­ence broad­ened your hori­zons? Fac­ing se­vere anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion head on. Learn­ing to ac­cept my­self. It’s pretty cool how much that broad­ens your hori­zons.

Favourite game as a kid? Dress ups. It still is to be hon­est.

What are you work­ing on next? I’m work­ing with Groovin the Moo on some really awesome art projects for a few legs of next year’s fes­ti­val. I’m also do­ing some fun things with my friends Pek­ing Duk, but I can’t say too much about it yet. I’m also work­ing on a solo show for mid-next year at Brisbane Pow­er­house. I’m very ex­cited about it!

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