Sculpt­ing on Paper

Arabella - - JESSIE BABIN - writ­ten by Sheila Bla­grave

Jessie Babin is an in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic artist, driven to cre­ate works of art in an of­ten-over­looked medium, graphite. Her por­traits and still life works achieve such high re­al­ism they are some­times con­fused with pho­to­graphs. And while she does use pho­to­graphs as a cue dur­ing her draw­ing process, each pen­cil stroke is care­fully and painstak­ingly ex­e­cuted. The re­sults are awe in­spir­ing, es­pe­cially in some­one so young. She laugh­ingly ad­mits that when peo­ple be­fore­hand, they as­sume that she is a man and much older than she ac­tu­ally is - 26 years young. She got her start at an early age: “I’ve been draw­ing since I was quite young. I just picked it ev­i­dent in her self por­trait, were the Lion King and Beatrix Pot­ter. Clearly the de­tail of Pot­ter

her artis­tic style, as has her own per­son­al­ity. She ad­mits to be­ing a bit ob­ses­sive when it comes to cap­tur­ing every nu­ance in her por­traits and draw­ings. “A lot of peo­ple ask me how I ended up work­ing in this high re­al­ism style. It’s noth­ing de­cided or planned out. This just hap­pens to be the way I draw. I do think I’m a per­son with con­trol is­sues and a touch of O.C.D. I’m just for­tu­nate I’m able to chan­nel it into some­thing cre­ative. When I was study­ing art, I fo­cused al­most ex­clu­sively on ob­ser­va­tional draw­ing. I like to think that I “bor­row” from other medi­ums such as paint­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, and sculp­ture. And I also like to think that what I do is sculpt­ing on paper. When I look at a sub­ject, it’s like I’m touch­ing it with my eyes, then trans­lat­ing that onto paper.” Ba­sic Black and White Jessie was born in Dal­housie, New Brunswick and be­gan writ­ing sto­ries and draw­ing all the char­ac­ters for them when she was about twelve years old. “I al­ways ad­mired art­work that told a story. From that point on, I thought I would be a com­mer­cial il­lus­tra­tor. I even gave graphic de­sign some thought. While I en­joyed work­ing with com­put­ers I found that I missed the sen­sual qual­i­ties of mak­ing art. I need to touch and feel the ma­te­ri­als I’m work­ing with. As a teenager, I started to be­come in­ter­ested in old black some­thing about the aes­thet­ics of black and white that al­ways res­onated with me.” A de­gree in Fine Arts at the Nova Sco­tia Col­lege of Art and De­sign (NSCAD) fol­lowed her early start in draw­ing and pre­sented many op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth as an artist. It was also dur­ing her years at NSCAD that her de­ci­sion to dream to make a liv­ing as a visual artist was ce­mented. In 2011, she took part in the Canada Games Na­tional Artist pro­gram, where she met left, As­sane, acrylic and coloured pen­cil on paper mounted on wood panel, 2016, 24” x 30”

Kim Bent from Gallery 78 in Fred­er­ic­ton. Bent signed her on as a gallery artist and Jessie spent the next three years work­ing on her ca­reer, tak­ing part in group shows, and work­ing on com­mis­sions. Im­por­tant mile­stones in­cluded com­pet­ing twice in the Kingston Prize, which is a Canada-wide por­trait com­pe­ti­tion show­cas­ing the work of 30 con­tem­po­rary artists each year. This in­tro­duced her to many artists she re­spects. Among those are Richard Davis, An­drew Valko, Kit King, Jen Mann and Mag­gie Rose, many of whom she has cap­tured in her graphite por­traits. Win­nipeg artist An­drew Valko gave Jessie a piece of ad­vice in Monc­ton, NB in 2015, when she was es­tab­lish­ing her­self as a pro­fes­sional artist. He said, “The work has to be about some­thing.” Those words were a turn­ing point for Jessie this past year. She knew she wanted to go in a new di­rec­tion with her work; she just needed a re­minder to do it. solo ex­hi­bi­tion as a pro­fes­sional artist, she has found in­spi­ra­tion and mo­ti­va­tion from other Cana­dian artists. “I’ve al­ways ad­mired self-made peo­ple and peo­ple who do some­thing for a liv­ing that isn’t con­sid­ered a tra­di­tional job. I think it’s im­por­tant to re­al­ize that there are many ways to be an artist. Ev­ery­one does things dif­fer­ently.”

In­spi­ra­tion Through Random Dis­cov­er­ies

Jessie’s method of creat­ing art is built on rou­tine and con­sis­tency. “Even though I don’t punch a clock, I like to start my day around the same time. I be­gin most days at 9 a.m. like a lot of peo­ple do and usu­ally work un­til 9 p.m. My work is fairly labour in­ten­sive, so time spent in my stu­dio makes up the ma­jor­ity of my cre­ative process. In­spi­ra­tion can come when I least ex­pect it. Over the past few years, I’ve drawn all sorts favourite pieces are the ones that have given me what I call a ‘WOW’ mo­ment. I col­lect things like ticket

stubs from gallery and mu­seum vis­its and pages torn from mag­a­zines. Of­ten I don’t go look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion. I just stum­ble upon some­thing or some­one that re­ally ex­cites me. Re­cently I’ve found my­self more in­ter­ested in peo­ple than in ob­jects and I think fu­ture bod­ies of work will start

Find­ing Her Own Style

At NSCAD she tried all sorts of meth­ods, in­clud­ing print­mak­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and paint­ing. And today she has done sev­eral draw­ings in coloured pen­cils and acrylics, but she keeps com­ing back to graphite in all its forms. Whether look­ing at drawn to her con­sis­tent at­ten­tion to de­tail, a prod­uct of hours of hard work and de­vel­op­ing dex­ter­ity as she be­comes more and more fa­mil­iar with her tools and sur­faces. Her cur­rent body of work is a se­ries of por­traits and her work is based on a process that works well for her. She ex­plains, “I wait them to pose for me. I sched­ule a photo ses­sion with that per­son and take sev­eral ref­er­ence pho­tos. I up­load the pho­tos in a photo-edit­ing

Pre­vi­ous Page, Par­tridge, graphite and pen­cil on paper, mounted on wood panel, 2015, 16”x20” This Page, top left, Mar­bles, graphite and pen­cil on paper, 2016, 11”x14” right, Val­mont, graphite and pen­cil on paper, 2013, 30” x 22”

right, Jared, graphite and pen­cil on paper, mounted on wood panel, 2016, 24” x 30”

left, Kit King I, graphite on pen­cil, mounted on wood panel, 2016, 30” x 24” above, Base­balls, graphite and pen­cil on paper, 2013, 16” x 24.5”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.