Updated: Jun 6
Sarah Cutler I CWC Director I 24 May 2021
From finding her inspiration in the beautiful Cotswold countryside and working at Damien Hirst's studio to having her most recent works likened to Turner, Cheltenham Contemporary Artist Jessica Bleasby opened up to us about what it's like to train and work as an artist.
Hi Jessica, thanks for chatting with us. So you are a Contemporary Fine Artist – tell us a bit about the style and subjects of your work.
I work in various different styles, but my most recent paintings are instinctive and gestural oils, depicting emotional landscapes.
Where do you find the inspiration for your works?
I am very inspired by colour in nature and the elements such as wind, water and earth. I go on a lot of walks and am drawing a lot of inspiration from the views and landscapes around me. I am also really interested in the exploration of the painting process itself and how it can become part of my own artistic journey and self-discovery. I am keen to access certain emotions and to be able to channel this into my art by being very connected with the medium and the process.
Would you say your work is influenced by any famous artists or movements?
I am inspired by so many artists for various different reasons. I visited Paris a few years back and was blown away by an exhibition of impressionists. It was the first time that I fully appreciated Monet’s large Waterlilies as they filled the walls. I was taken back by the scale and the atmosphere that the paintings evoked. I've also been influenced by the romanticism of the Pre-Raphaelites. Particularly John William Waterhouse’s, Lady Of Shallot and John Everett Millais, Ophelia. Some of my work has been likened to Turner for its turbulent and expressive nature and use of atmospheric light. David Hockney and Grayson Perry are also a couple of my favourites for there prolific and diverse work.
You studied fine art at university – tell us a bit about that and how long did it take you to find your style.
I studied Fine Art painting and was very interested in exploring how I could create my own visual language with paint using inspiration from nature. I wanted to be able to express myself emotionally through the use of paint but at the time I wasn’t comfortable with the technical side of the painting process. My work was a bit disjointed and awkward as was I at the time. I was also more into realism back then and struggled with finding flow in my work. I find that my work now flows a lot more easily and I can paint more freely, emotionally, and instinctively. I would say it’s taken a life time to find my style but it continues to evolve and will naturally change as I do.
You also worked at Damien Hirst’s studio in Stroud for a while didn’t you, tell us about that experience.
It was a dream to be able to work at the studio. My job was to paint all day with amazing like minded people. The thing I loved most was the tea breaks where there was always a large array of cakes. Another more relevant highlight was getting up close and personal with many of Hirst's most well-known artworks.