Jessica Harris QLD
What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?
The COVID-19 pandemic affecting the global population has offered the opportunity to critically consider how we occupy and inhabit space. Inmost plays with an intimate scale relative to a singular user and encourages people to reflect upon their isolation experience through layers of fabric of different transparencies and light qualities. Windows and other similar thresholds are an important element during isolation and the fabric symbolises the curtain familiar to the domestic habitat.
Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?
A bit from column A and a bit from column B. The main structure is planned and drawn out before commencing and then the embellishments are more of a freestyled element according to what I think looks right.
Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?
It has been a side project of mine for quite some time. I usually would aim to exhibit once a year in an installation type format. Each year I learn new things, so perhaps it is more of a slow burn.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?
I am trained in architecture and so I don’t necessarily identify myself as an artist but find that the two are inextricably linked. The discipline of architecture is exciting to work within because it crosses so many boundaries and there are always opportunities to explore creative pursuits beyond practice using a similar skill set. For me, the pleasure is in the process of making by hand and the freedom that art can provide beyond client-driven functional or aesthetic needs.
Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?
Winter sun is shining and music is on. Dancing around in the workshop as I test out ideas whilst being distracted by my over-excited cattle dog.
Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?
My inspiration comes from art, architecture, fashion, landscape (and beyond) and so the influences are diverse. I would consider Tezontle Studio a muse as they are an amalgamation of art and architecture in their practice. Similarly, Case Design, based in Mumbai, work collaboratively across different mediums from architecture of all scales, furniture design and exhibition work. These hands-on practices are something to aspire to.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?
Intense, vivid, dreams.
Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?
I am a member of a research group out of Griffith University called the Architecture Et cetera Lab and we are currently curating an exhibition to be hosted at Brisbane Brickworks design studio in November. The proposed exhibition, COVID Retrospect: A Reconsidered Habitat, aims to encourage change by inviting a number of Australian architects to test constructed residential environments using their new pandemic lens and develop alternative conceptualisations to the home in a speculative design project. The Architecture Et cetera Lab will contribute to the exhibition by creating an artistic response which supports the creative works of the exhibition.
What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?
I’m excited to exhibit in a public realm and tell a story in (hopefully) an interesting and accessible manner.
Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your practice?
Like life, artistic practice will always continue to develop with experience. I am formally educated in architecture but self-taught in artistic practice, although there are many overlapping skills. These self-teachings probably begun when I was a young child, I always needed to have some kind of tool or instrument in my hand.
If you were to go on a holiday, would you venture to the ocean or the mountains?
There are so many places that have both but if I had to choose one or the other, the ocean will always have my heart.
Gourmet restaurant or home-cooked meal?
Gourmet restaurant on a Saturday and home-cooked meal on a Sunday.
How would you describe your taste in music?
Diverse depending on my mood.
Courtney Stephens is an emerging creative event producer based in Tweed Heads. After a successful career as a Practice Manager, her passion for the creative arts industry has led her to study a Bachelor of Business in Convention and Event Management. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create community based events.