‘Kebler’ installed in The Coloradan. Photo credit: JC Buck.
Q + A
the voice of Jessica Loving
The fleeting simplicity of seasonal beauty is the basis of inspiration for artists across the globe — and the resulting work is exemplary of each individual’s relationship with the earth. For Jessica Loving, that relationship is embodied by large-scale interpretations of light and color informed by the seasons.
Since childhood, Jessica has been in a state of exploratory expression. From spending days outside in the foothills of Denver to studying fine art in college, Jessica delves into the experience of living and interprets those moments into renowned works of art. We sat down with Jessica to learn more about her calling, inspiration and style.
‘where the light goes’, 48″ x 48″, mixed media on cradled panel.
An image from my time working in Denver Art Museum’s studio space in early 2020
How did you find your calling in art? What drew you to it?
I suppose I’ve always been an artist — that part of me has been present in every bit of who I am from as long as I remember. Doodles on the wallpaper in my childhood home gave way to years of dance lessons, which taught me how to explore expression through movement. Creative writing was something that I enjoyed immensely too. And finally, in high school, I discovered painting. I went to college and explored fine art further, always knowing that I wanted to weave in some sort of professional studio practice. I never really strayed from that expressive place.
Today, I have two hemispheres to my creative work — I paint and I co-founded the branding and communication boutique, (in)spiregraphics, with my husband, Chris. Both satisfy something wholly unique and deeply meaningful.
You grew up in the mountains of Colorado but traveled extensively with your family as a child. How do those experiences show up in both your daily life and your work?
Those experiences are foundational to who I am and thus, it’s impossible to separate the threads from the whole.
Experiencing the vastness of the world during those formative years was such a profound gift — one that I constantly pull from. It embedded this insatiable wanderlust and desire to seek adventure outside of the confines of what is seen as “normal,” I suppose. It gave me an understanding of different cultures, peoples and ways of life, as well as the realization that the world isn’t that big after all.
Growing up in a somewhat rural area in the foothills of Denver gave me the spaciousness to explore the outdoors and really form a strong sense of identity. My brother and I would wander around outside in a world of our own making, often spending much of our free time in the woods. It was profoundly magical and has become a very important space from which I’ve grown. I find the vastness of the outdoors is a place I pull great inspiration; it is a place that grounds and nurtures me.
‘Kebler’, 96″ x 48″, mixed media on canvas
What project/series/piece are you most proud of and why?
I loved creating a large painting for the Coloradan here in Denver, a few years ago. It is called Kebler and was inspired by its namesake; a mountain pass outside of Crested Butte. I went out with my family and spent time in the aspen forest, believed to be one of the largest living organisms on the planet. I explored the way that shadows and light tangled on a leaf-covered forest floor. I gazed upwards into a Gothic cathedral ceiling of aspen branches. Being there in that space — and intentionally creating something from it was intensely special. The final painting is on display at The Coloradan in Denver — it is eight feet long by four feet tall.
Each body of work is special to me. Ideas and struggles nested amidst a composition — all personal, all tautly wound around that moment in time.
How would you describe your signature art style?
I am an abstract expressionist painter inspired by light. The seasons greatly inform my work. Summertime often inspires honeyed palettes dripping with incandescent light whereas winter, the absence of light, allows me to often explore an ongoing series of nocturnes. I swing between intense light and shadow each year, driven by the natural, cyclical seasons and the light that brings them.
My work is non-representational; it does not grasp imagery that is recognizable from the physical world but rather serves as a poem, a meditation, an echo. Each piece humbly explores the complexity of color and asks one to explore the memories that live in that limbic space. Color is so tightly formed around memory, so each person’s experience is completely unique. My paintings tend to be large enough that they can be explored much like an environment but small enough that they can be enjoyed in someone’s living room.
‘la luz’ installed in a collector’s home in Lyons, Colorado.
When creating a piece, do you start with organic inspiration — allowing the work to materialize as you are creating it — or do you have an idea where the piece is going before you start?
I’ve found that my process is purely intuitive. I am inspired by light and the feeling of realizing how small we are in an ever-unfolding, expansive universe. There are bodies of work that explore an idea or grapple with an issue — most often, greater concepts surrounding the environment and our place within it. These are driven conceptually but built intuitively.
I often build upon moments where I am in the outdoors, away from the ongoing buzz of traffic. It is in these moments that I find profound serenity and it is from these moments of exploration that I am able to work. My hope is that my work is able to carry forth a piece of that serenity and calm from which they’ve been created.
The use of color in your work feels intentional and meditative, yet layered in complexity. How does color tell a story in your artwork?
Color is so important in my work. Since I work in acrylic, I pay extra attention to making sure that the pigments I use are rich and vivid. I build up my underpainting and combine that with layers of colorful washes and pours to allow for rich depth and a sense of atmosphere. While I do not plan the final color, I intuitively build layers to support the colors and allow them to put off the complexity that I seek. I never use paint directly from the tube or bottle, but rather mix all of my pigments heavily before use.
To what or to whom do you attribute your success?
My husband, as he has lovingly supported me every single step of the way.
My parents and grandparents as they taught me from a young age that being an entrepreneur is nothing to be feared. My parents always nurtured my connection to art and never pushed me in a direction I did not want to go.
Eckerd College, which gave me a wonderful foundation of education and studio exploration from which I could build.
My high school art teacher, Andy Baird, for giving me the space and freedom to explore art.
The gallerists, with whom I have worked along the way.
And the collectors who have chosen to purchase a piece of work to have in their home. For all of these people, I carry so much gratitude.
‘gilded’ on display in Santa Fe’s Four Seasons Rancho Encantado.
Tell us about your home — is it a place of inspiration, rest, or perhaps both?
All of the above. My home is my sanctuary. It is a place for my family to be together. Our space is bright and colorful with lots of artwork on the walls by many artists. It is a space where we play and relax. I also work from my home-based studio, which is nice for my often late-night studio sessions.
Where do you find inspiration in your daily life? Do you have any recommended books, podcasts or publications?
Inspiration in my daily life comes from my family. My amazing hubby, 6-year old daughter and 18-month twin boys fill me up with so much joy. Bringing forth a sense of adventure and creative exploration with them is so important.
A few of my favorite books:
The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky by Ellen Meloy
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
To discover more of Jessica’s work, follow along at www.jessicaloving.com or www.inspire.graphics.