We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Clark and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
I am a disciplined worker and I try and set aside a lot of time to work on my art practice. While hard work is a big factor in bringing my ideas to life, what I am learning helps me feel successful about what I make is if I slow down and give myself the time to enjoy it. I have a bad habit of powering through the process of creating and when it’s done instead of feeling accomplished I am preoccupied with whatever project I have lined up next. To feel fulfillment and fall in love what what you are doing in the process is something I’m cultivating to help me succeed. I think that’s more important than how the work is ultimately received.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I tend to bounce around between mediums a lot. I’m more concerned with ideas and how to bring them into the world in the most exciting way. Art for me is about psychology and exploration and having a platform to share in that process with other people. My work spans drawing, sculpture, performance, makeup, curation, 3D modeling, illustration, modeling, programming and video. As we have all had to adapt, my work too has shifted as a result of the COVID pandemic. When I typically put together an art show or an event it is really about bringing people together and creating a social space. I find a lot of magic in creating events the give the viewer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A great example of this was my exhibition ‘At Your Service’ which happened in October 2019 at Garden Gallery. For the event I displayed artworks and installations by myself and other artists in the outdoor space behind the gallery. While attendees were able to look at the work, they were treated to drinks and entertainment by 4 hunky scantly clad butlers (think Chippendales style entertainers). This created a playful and somewhat absurd environment to view art in. It helped flesh out the show’s themes of sexuality and power structures but also lightened the mood of that kind of exploration and made it seem inviting and fun. But events like this aren’t an option at this moment in time. As a result I have shifted my focus towards editorial makeup and fashion work. Makeup and portraiture can be done mostly in solitude. This pandemic has really highlighted how this kind of creative practice has been a sustaining force in feeling inspired and motivated. To transform your face and body and become something you have envisioned is an empowering process. Through my COVID experimentation, I was able to put together a group of black and white portraits for German publication Tush Magazine. They were created as a way to cope with the anxiety of the pandemic. To be able to turn that energy into something beautiful was a gift.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The magic places in LA for me are always hilltops or charming little spots you can prop up a chair and look out over the city. Sometimes I just drive around aimlessly and find a turnout with a scenic view to just relax at. There are a lot of amazing galleries to see as well like Murmurs, Garden, François Ghebaly, Real Pain, Nonaka-Hill and so many more. My favorite places to eat in LA are in K-Town. I absolutely love Korean food. You have to try Master Ha if you are adventurous and will eat their raw seafood. It’s so good!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to Shoutout my family who have lifted me up all through this COVID pandemic, especially while my social circle has really become small. And I would like to Shoutout to all the LGBTQIA+ people of color. Without their tenacity and continued efforts I wouldn’t have the freedom of expression that I have today.
MAMA Los Angeles is a new platform for restaurants, especially immigrant owned kitchens hit hard by COVID-19, to distribute their food in pop ups around the city. Check them out for updates. Fear Safe has been working on some amazing new clothing available on his website. Genevieve Belleveau and Themba Alleyne of Sacred Sadism make gorgeous eco-fetish objects that are truly one of a kind.
A black and white images taken by Tristan Kallas All full color images taken by Miwah Lee