Jess Cochrane’s exhibition “Study of a Woman Talking to Herself” is currently on display at Rhodes Contemporary Art and it’s a banger. The show sees Cochrane’s multimedia works in conversation with six by Francis Bacon: de-perfected figures seem to writhe under our gaze, and six works by Francis Bacon are also there.
Bacon’s and Cochrane’s pieces play beautifully off each other, highlighting motifs in each creator’s designs, and bringing beauty under scrutiny. Cochrane was kind enough to talk to us at ArtPlugged about her practice, her inspirations, and social media.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
A: Because it’s what i do best.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: My inspiration is probably the lived experience myself and other women have had growing up in a time where we are consuming extremely perfected visuals.
Q: What is your creative process when you’re creating?
A: There are several elements to my process. First being, my brain doesn’t work without coffee so that is the starting point of everything really. I shoot all of my own portraits so second to coffee is a photoshoot with the subject. I love this part as it’s really special getting to understand my subjects in such a vulnerable and intimate setting; getting to understand how or why they connect with what I do. I then edit and print the images before finally applying paint. Painting is always finished before i’d like it to be, due to the intentional immediacy of the markings. When I am finished, I take a deep breath, get a
coffee and start again.
Q: Which is your preferred surface for working on?
A: I only paint on glossy stock as the paper stock is an integral part of the work’s voice. I’ve always been influenced by magazines and the shiny allure of pop culture. So the paper quality holds a lot of meaning.
Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of an Artist?
A: Contemplation. I’ve always found that I need the days where i just sit with my work in the studio. I don’t necessarily know how to approach adding to the work every day. Sometimes I need to sit with it and let the work marinate a little. I will often find new lines of questioning and new ideas on my contemplation days.
Q: What artist inspires you the most?
A: There are so many! This is an unfair question as I absolutely could not just pick one. I admire and relate to the works of Rosenquist just as much as i do the works of Bacon. I’ve taken a more insightful fascination to Francis Bacon recently due to my current exhibition at Rhodes Contemporary gallery, which is in conversation with a selection of his works. But I am also really interested in other art forms and ways of creative thinking. I’m obsessed with Pharrell Williams – the work he does and his approach to creativity.
Q: What is the reason behind your use of consumerism and pop culture in your works?
A: I’ve always been influenced by both and both are an inescapable part of western culture. I’m constantly questioning what I know.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: When the different mediums feel balanced and the composition is doing its thing.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
A: I don’t like to play favourites with my works. they are all important to me! However I am particularly proud of my most recent work, titled ‘Muybridge Pose,’ which is a part of my latest exhibition ‘Study Of A Woman Talking To Herself.’ A series in conversation with the oeuvre of Francis Bacon.
Q: How did you feel when you did your first solo exhibition?
A: A little tipsy because, liquid courage. Also happy because it’s nice to see and hear the response of the audience.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
A: Connecting with others and creating conversation in a way that doesn’t require words. I’ve always found it hard to express myself verbally. I find theres something very peaceful yet impactful about visual expression.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
A: I’ve always found social media really beneficial as an artist. I think any visual social media platform will act in the same manner as a portfolio for artists and creatives. It’s a choice to approach it with a sense of professionalism.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for artists on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?
A: It’s entirely an individual choice how you choose to represent yourself on social media. My only advice is do what is authentic for you. People will always connect better if you’re portraying yourself honestly and being true to yourself.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
A: I think art and technology should overlap more. it’s statistically proven that art consumption can reduce anxiety and benefit your mental wellbeing, so i’m all for harnessing the speed and power of the internet/technology to make art more accessible.
All Rights Reserved © Copyright Jess Cochrane 2019
Verity Babbs is a History of Art graduate from the University of Oxford, art writer, and comedian. Her written work focuses on London’s contemporary art scene.