Jessica Whittingham Artist Statement
When I consider this past year, this unreliable year, I understand in hindsight how my art practice helped me to navigate it. Looking back, a kind of trajectory becomes apparent to me. In March of 2020, my first “Covid” painting was a morose group of figures in a field - which I soon painted over. I then played with folk tale ideas, looking, I suppose, for some kind of meaning and a way to proceed. Children know this better than the rest of us : Imagination is reliable when the world is not.
Eventually, the beauty of our environment and community here in Victoria intrudes into the glummest situation. Soon, I was back in the park or down by the beach, and that became the thing I wanted to paint. For me, my art practice is my good medicine. My hope is that you will find a little good medicine in it too.
I would like to express immense gratitude to the businesses, galleries and private individuals, near and far, who have purchased and displayed my work over the years.
I don’t recall ever making a conscious decision to become an “Artist”. My father was a Painter, Architect and Scenic Designer. He worked primarily from home and I grew up surrounded by his projects and my projects, always underway and underfoot. My mom had a “real” office job, so most of my time was spent in my father’s care. Before my school years, I sat on stages with my dad and cut out leaves, painted bird wings, and consorted with all manner of “theatrical” people. My original home was California. Post-secondary, I ended up with the theatre again, working in the costume department. In the 70s I immigrated to Canada with my British husband. We spent 30 glorious years on Quadra Island, working and raising a family. My Quadra Island years were absorbed primarily with fiber arts – spinning and dying, weaving and quilting. I worked for a Gallery, became a chalk board artist, and always kept drawing and painting and learning. Upon arrival in Victoria in the early 2000s, I attended the diploma program at VCAD and began showing and selling my work in earnest.