Joshua Lang Sits Down With Visual Artist Dessie Jackson

Artist Showcase: Dessie Jackson 

Words & photos by Joshua Lang, Video by Austin Horton. 

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"I finally got the chance to catch up with the Philadelphia native in her cozy LA apartment/studio during my visit. I first heard about Dessie about 4-5 years ago through a mutual friend of ours. I was immediately blown away by what i was looking at and couldn't believe how real some of her portraits looked. The story telling behind her art is what really gave me the chills. Every piece has a meaning and she does an excellent job at making sure her audience knows where the inspiration came from." Get to know a little bit more about Dessie below. 

 

1. "As an artist, having a consistent morning routine can really make a positive impact on your work. Can you explain to us your routine?"

"Mornings are so important to me! I try and give myself an hour of just waking up before I dive into anything (even if this means setting the alarm a little earlier) — coffee, and breakfast always."

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2. "Do you see yourself sticking around LA or somewhere else? If yes, why and where?"

"For now, certainly! LA is excellent, I must admit. I wasn't a fan at first - it's just different from the East Coast, but I like it more the longer I stay. I like how people here see something bigger - chasing something. I appreciate that. I like that. I don't think I'll be in LA forever but I never really know.  No anchors."

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3. "If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? Can you also explain what the process is like?"

"The elevator pitch! I explore projected femininity, sexual identity, "beauty." I'm interested in the idea of a fake truth; think no-makeup, makeup tutorials. I like collecting images and information, especially ads - through magazines in particular. Normally I latch onto an image or a line and go from there."

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4. "What are you really excited about right now?"

"I'm starting a new series of personal paintings that I can't wait to share."

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5. "What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't an artist? Do you have any passion projects?"

"I've always been lucky in the sense where I've known what I wanted to do.  I dressed up as an artist for "What do you want to be when you grow up" day in kindergarten (beret and smock included). BUT if I wasn't a visual artist; I love to dance, violin, and I love theatre, so probably would pursue something in that corner."

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6. "What are you listening to right now?"

"SZA, Tigers Jaw, PUP, and Fazerdaze."

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7. "What are some upcoming or current project you are working on?"

"Over the past few months I've really been focused on some true self-care and self-love. With this, and what that means to me, I've been taking a lot of photos, just of my personal life and friends. I've been writing. I want to share more of this. Make honest work.  

BUT, a show is coming (winks)."

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8. "What artists or designers are you interested in right now?"

"I finally got to see Jerry James Marshall's retrospective in person and it was phenomenal. Diane Arbus, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye."