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Jessica Bell’s fantastic artwork can be found in Issue 4 of Vhcle Magazine.
2010: Jessica Bell
 
 
 
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2011
The Artwork of
JESSICA BELL
 
Onesee Project:
Bridge Form Group (1-3) 2010
Community Group (1-4) 2010
Development Group (c) Items Under Overpasses, 2009
Paper Group (c) Space with Sunlight, (e) Space with Movement, 2008
Forsythia Group
(a, b) Seeing Forsythia (2,3), 2010
strokestrokestrokestroke
Q&A with Jessica Bell
 
001
We'd love to know how you go about creating these unique and sophisticated art pieces. 
 
That's very kind, thank you. I think the starting point for the things I make on paper and otherwise are a direct result of a geography and of my life in it. It might be a bit of a stretch to say that Vancouver is my muse, but I am certainly enamored with it. And I am enamored with the idea of a city. As a city, Vancouver has a visual character that is very distinct; the climatic conditions are determined by geographical elements like a mountain range, and water in such close proximity. They manufacture atmospheric qualities that can change on an hourly basis. This place is at once a rugged landscape and the most densely populated city in Canada; that makes for an experience of city that can be a visual overload. I think of the things I am making as notes about this place – both the fleeting and the finite aspects of it. 
 
002
What is the inspiration behind your paper collages?
 
I started making the sewing collages with paper in late 2007. In my extended family are women like my grandmother, Jane, who are incredible sewing technicians. I lack her proficiency but I love the manner in which seemingly disparate material parts can be assembled together into a communicable whole. I also love the natural cohesion such a process has with a subject like the place I live. I live and work right in the middle of Vancouver, and like many other areas in the center of the city, it's difficult to find a horizon line. There are buildings, upon trees, upon buildings, upon bridges, upon skyscrapers, upon more bridges, upon mountains; the landscape elements are layered one on top of another and any matter of perspective or scale for me is secondary to the visual delight of shape and pattern upon shape and pattern. The paper collage work with and without the sewing allows me an ease of language to speak about these things. 
 
 
003
Your art pieces like the Bridgeform Group and the Community Group are beautifully created. What's the significance behind these?
 
Thank you again. Both of those groups of work are relatively recent and are very satisfying for me because both are exercises in restraint. In the past I've worked in a way that I would add more and more information to a piece and then edit out a lot of it to complete it. These works are different in that I managed to add minimal information to talk about two aspects of city. I made the Bridgeform Group after I walked home from my studio across the Granville Street Bridge to my apartment for a week in the fall. From my apartment I can see three bridges over one of the inlets into the Vancouver core and I started paying attention to all of the structural arms that were essentially holding up the means for movement within the city. Community Group also is a direct result of my neighbourhood. In the past six months or so, I have been mulling over what 'community' might look like in varying scale and consideration. My neighbourhood has some awful apartment buildings from various different stages in development history. Each are faulty because they lack all of the potential that good architecture can hold for its inhabitants or its surrounding community and yet they are here with a certain amount of permanence and are part of my experience of place. Community Group is an ode to them, I think. As a familiar form I see repeated in my surrounding landscape, and as a container for the more life giving aspects of what community is they have a certain amount of grace.
 
004
So your surroundings have a huge affect on your creativity then?
 
My surroundings are the crux. This is a challenging question because I'm in a constant state of trying to pin down what it is that engages me; some things I can articulate more successfully than others. For example I am sometimes surprised to go to really impressive places and walk away feeling rather flat with nothing I feel is worth mentioning in visual form from it. I'm equally surprised when I become obsessed with something characteristic of my surroundings that is pretty mundane and yet I can't seem to get away from it. I can't entirely explain it but it is place itself and my relationship to it that are in a continuous state of flux; it's what determines the things I make.
 
005
A question we like to ask everyone - favorite drink?
 
Winter or summer? In the summer I will never turn down a mojito. And in pretty much every other instance I am endeared to the four shot latté from Vancouver coffee roaster J.J. Bean. It is equal parts taste and ritual that make it my favourite. 
 
 
 
Jessica Bell was born in Montréal and currently living in Vancouver. She has a BA in Art History. She owns more books with pictures than words. She can’t throw out any of the security envelopes from her bank mail because of the patterns on the inside. A chronic walker, knitter and coffee drinker, and a sponge for the place she lives in.
 
 
 
 
The Artwork of Jessica Bell, 2010 Vhcle Magazine Issue 4, Art
*Art piece: Paper Group, (e) Space with Movement, 2008 9”x 8” Paper collage, metal, rayon mesh, and thread on linen paper