Q&A with Jessie Churchill

Jessie Churchill is a local artist and publisher. She kindly gave up a bit of her time to talk to me about her recent photographic publications ‘Perennial’ and ‘Croi’, and about where she draws her inspiration from.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m an artist and publisher born and living in Leeds. I come from a background of practical fine art including sculpture and painting, which I originally studied at both Central Saint Martins and The Estonian Academy of Art. As well as this I have now moved into design and photography. With this interest grew an interest in publishing. I begun publishing and designing books over 4 years ago and now hold it as one of my main practices and interests.

Where did your passion for your craft come from and what inspires you?

I think my intrigue in craft and making comes from my family, who have always been makers in whatever they decided to do, so this creators mindset rubbed off on me. As far as my inspiration goes, I can safely say it comes from anything and everything, it usually just strikes me when I’m out and about. Things around me or materials I find. I have always seen nature, natural forms and landscape as an inspiration, but recently with my show ‘Perennial’ this has become a current main focus in my practice. The shapes in flowers and natural forms inspire my painting and sculpture directly. And even more visually directly within my recent photographic publications ‘Croi’ and ‘Perennial’.

‘Perennial’ came about after a solo show I created for Set The Controls For The Heart of the sun in Leeds earlier this year, the show was directly inspired by natural forms and visuals. The works were made of stones, homemade paints, clays, natural papers and pressed flowers.

Tell us more about ‘Perennial’ and the inspiration behind this…

The exhibition’s supporting publication ‘Perennial’ is made up of high resolution scans of flowers and plants. They were originally displayed wall length as prints so the nuances and detail in their form could be seen close up, highlighting things like pollen and bugs. The book is the full body of this work. The idea is the flowers are not yet dried but also not alive, so the 3D element of the scan means they hover in between these two states.

How did the Looking At Painting journal first come about?

Looking at Painting is my most long running publication, it focuses on painting the expanded field, so sculptural and ephemeral painting. It came about as a result of a studio talk amongst some of my peers. We were all working with painting in a creative way, which I didn’t feel could be explained directly in 2D terms. So I wanted a resource for artists like us, also to have a place in which I could put together relevant essays and works of artists who i respected that worked in this way.

What advice can you give to others about independent publishing?

As for advice, I think independent publishing is a labour of love, you just have to carry on going with it. Also DIY is the key, smaller publications are fun and can be made instantly, theres something nice in having an idea and quickly been able to put it together. I like independent publishing as it’s usually the edit of the artist – straight from the source!

You can find out more about Jessie’s work here: www.jessiechurchill.com

‘Perennial’ solo exhibition, image courtesy of Set The Controls For The Heart of the sun



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