JAK Illustrations – Interview

Jessie Keane is a Berlin based artist. Born in South Australia, she now works as a freelance illustrator and street artist, with a main focus on surreal portraits of the female form and emotional expressions. KALTBLUT interviewed Jessie about her work, her inspirations and her painting materials.


KALTBLUT: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Jessie: I have only recently started seeing myself as an artist, as I have considered myself a curator for many years now and still do. However painting is becoming less of a hobby and more of a career as I continue to practice and develop my skills and technique. I would describe myself as a messy control freak who has a strange obsession for colour and a drug like addiction to intricate lines and details.

But every other day I don’t do anything extraordinary, mostly I’m working and working some more, doing human things, secretly watching reruns of Buffy and making myself walk more, being an observer to my own awkward behaviour and dreams.


KALTBLUT: How did you come to Painting?

Jessie: I have always been interested in creating, I was a very imaginative and inquisitive child. However I followed my desire to study film rather than art when I study back in Australia. Not knowing how much it would impact on my life later on as my goals for what I wanted out of life changed and shifted in a different direction. I began Curating for a well established local art gallery, while studying, and became quite attached to one specific style of work, which was watercolour.

After two years of consistent curating I decided to try my hand at painting, which I have no previous experience in. I taught myself and am still teaching myself, based on my interests and curiosity for new styles and techniques. I dont regret the choice to not study fine arts as I have had the opportunity to slowly learn through my own passion and drive how to paint and the techniques behind it that I have crafted to fit my own personal style and way of creating.

I like to think that the path I have chosen was just my way of stubbornly succeeding in my own different way, it doesn’t include any art schools or artistic ancestry, but does include a lot of curiosity and life lessons, sometimes tough and long ones.


KALTBLUT: Why did you choose to work specially with watercolour and Ink?

Jessie: There would be no reason to paint it if I could just explain it in words. If I had to, I would say they were two of the only mediums that moved, and the fact that they are so fluid while also being permanent once applied make it more interesting and exciting to see what my first instincts produce without being able to rub it away or paint over. With watercolour and ink based mediums you must learn to adapt and change. If you make a mistake you learn to see it as a new direction or room for a new idea instead of starting over.

As I have broadened my style and my interests through living in Berlin I would say my art could probably relate to surrealism but it’s just another word as any of classifications are. I have recently started street art work as a side project of mine which has influenced my work dramatically using spray paint with my two current mediums has been a new challenge and experience, which I am eager to continue and explore more possibilities.


KALTBLUT: Your focus is on human forms, do you plan to do anything besides that?

Jessie: I plan to incorporate animals and a lot more nature based attributes into my work during the coming year, but for now I quite enjoy learning more about the human form and expressions. However I have been working on a few pieces at the moment which are larger and a little outside of my usual style, I hope to continue creating larger pieces in this specific style also.


KALTBLUT: What kind of atmosphere are you looking for when you paint?

Jessie: I can paint almost anywhere if there is a flat surface available. The first piece I exhibited in berlin I created in the hallway of a busy hostel. However nowadays I prefer to paint in my home studio surrounded by my favorite artists work while listening to Courtney Barnett. The louder the music, the better.

And when It comes to live painting or street art I quite enjoy the opportunity to put on a performance for people while enjoying the music atmosphere.

Pretty Bleeder_mini

KALTBLUT: What inspires you the most?

Jessie: It is quite often that people, when discussing artistic creativity, refer to painting as something that comes from inspiration. As for me I draw most of my will to create from the need to expel or recreate dreams and ideas that form at spontaneous times during my everyday life.

But what inspires me as a person is my own and other people’s ambition, and the relationships and connections we can have and share as human beings.

Rebal star_mini

KALTBLUT: What are you working on at the moment?

Jessie: I am working on a few large pieces which I will be exhibiting in June and July this year. I also recently got back from a festival where I was live spray painting
in Prora. My mission for this year, is to get out there and interact with more people and learn more stories, and have more stories of my own to tell.

email: jakillustrations@gmail.com
facebook: JAKllustrations