We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Levaton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what inspires you?
I find inspiration in many places and spaces; mostly in the present, but sometimes in my memories. The colors in nature, untapped emotions, discipline, passion, transformation, that feeling of euphoria that you get from the sun, and pushing myself to the limits. I crave adventure, new experiences and those moments of exhilaration. This propels me into painting, drawing and designing and I get lost in my art.
I was born & raised in Los Angeles and grew up in Laurel Canyon. There is a coarseness and complexity here in LA, in the veins and in the breath. The mingling of so many different types of people has molded & shaped me. My first job was on Sunset Blvd. at ChinChins, then Jerry’s Famous Deli on Ventura Blvd! I attended a Jewish school off Mulholland before graduating from Fairfax High art magnet on Melrose. I guess this all sounds a little like SNL’s Californians. My mover & shaker immigrant Israeli Dad and my patient & kind southern bell Mom from Tennessee made a family here. My great saba (grandfather) was a Rabbi and my other grandfather was a Preacher. My life is full of contrasts. LA is an alpha city with the kind of stories and artistic energy that’s just magical. For me, traveling through memories is like traveling the world and inspiration lives within each and every journey. I am 10 in Haifa (Israel) playing soccer at 2am with the neighborhood kids, 17 in France studying fine arts at Parsons Paris, on to San Francisco where I lived for 8 years and where I got my BFA from Academy of Art University, 23 and I am living in Italy studying fine arts at Lorenzo De Medici. Fast forward a bit, working & traveling the world with my husband, for a course of 3 years before returning home to LA. A whirlwind of experiences and exploration and my art allows me to do this.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a fine artist, I paint large-scale portraits with oil on canvas. I add materials such as clay, paper, gold, fabrics, glass, marbles to give a sense texture and lift the art from the canvas. The duality of life is a big part of my art. I love to paint beauty, but when I look at my paintings there is always a darkness that lives there. I try to peel away the layers of a person I am painting. The subjects in my paintings reveal what is within. They decide what emotions they want to show, they hold the power of their seductive beauty. I analyze their body, the slight tilt of the head, the gaze in their eyes, the placement of their intentions. At times I feel my art represents the unknown women who are objectified for their beauty. Judgements and the dualism of underserved + deserved love & power. My time spent painting and creating is sacred and precious. There is nothing I’d rather do than communicate to the world through my art
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?
For me, LA is about spending my days rising above the city and basking in nature and nights filled with magical conversation. Any friend of mine who is visiting needs to first come to my home so I can cook for them! We will eat, drink & be merry! But if we had a week, then here it goes. Day 1: El Matador Beach and explore the caves, have a picnic with food from Erewhon market. Day 2: Breakfast at Republique then a day at Lacma or The Getty. Day 3: Brunch at Gjusta, shop Abbot Kinney, go walk Venice beach, cappuccino at Intelligentsia, Dinner at Felix. Day 4: Lounge poolside with homemade Israeli food, dinner at Jitlada followed by a concert at Hollywood Bowl. Day 5: Hiking Will Rogers and go to Santa Monica Beach. Day 6: Brunch at URTH then go to Melrose Trading Post followed by a night of Comedy at The Comedy Store. Day 6: Los Angeles observatory by day, downtown arts district by night. Day 7: Malibu Café Play all day.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story has many characters who have all played a role in helping shape who I am today. I am grateful every day for these people, my family and countless others. My husband Aaron and my sister Stephanie are incredible forces in my life. Aaron is musical, artistic and together we love making music and art. He is my heart and he inspires me to create and love. OUR BEST collaboration by far is our red-headed son Ari. I adore my son & being a mother to my one & only is the absolute best thing in the world. I am the youngest of 5 children, and Stephanie – my oldest sister, has always been a mentor and a true friend growing up. She has always made me feel cared for and supported. The most beautiful person inside and out. She was my everything.