In the works of Jessica Lichtenstein the female form is imaged in endless positions. Jessica is placing female anime figures on trees, onto words, on couches. Everyday life objects are colored with her whimsical and lively imagery that is slightly pornographic, but in the softest and artistic manner possible. Her work is a perfect batch of art, sexuality, porn, surrealism and humor that she finds in our everyday lives. Jessica is usually playing with an idea of the power of social media, objectifying, selfies, narcissism and is often questioning herself – why and for whom are ‘we’ even doing that? Is it for men? Is it insecurity? Whatever it is, no one knows facts and reasons behind it (she is the first one that will tell you she doesn’t have any answers), but the truth is – more skin, more exposure, more likes, more judgment, more comments. Anyways, the fact is we like Jessica, we like the way she is portraying women and we like the way she is coping with modern society. To cut the crap, we like her work and we had a feeling you might like her work as well. So for the sake of all of us, we did a little interview with the artist herself where we talked Japanese porn, selfies, and Jeff Koons…
Did you ever struggle with an idea/reason for doing what you do?
No, pretty much the opposite. I have an idea. I like it or hate it. If the idea is still sitting in my brain a few months later, and I can’t get rid of it, then usually it’s an idea worth investigating.
How did an image you are now known for come alive?
I’ve been making these tree pieces the last few years where from far they look like regular trees but up close you see all the leaves are actually silhouettes of women. One day I was staring up at the trees blowing above my head, laying on the grass, and all of a sudden I had this idea that they weren’t leaves, that they were dancing and frolicking nymphs. That we are all going through our seasons.
What you love the most about Japanese erotic image?
I love the dichotomy between their innocence and their eroticism, it’s like the bridge between youth and maturity, with both sides equally present.
Are you confident doing what yo do?
I love what I do. I have fun with what I do. I’m inspired every day. Confidence, well that’s a different story. But a less important one, in my opinion.
Do you think your work is valuable?
To the people who look at my pieces, get a sense of escapism, laugh, smile, get embedded in the story, then yes.
Could you live without art?
Even if I wasn’t creating art as a living, I’d still see it everywhere. In the mundane way toothpaste spills out onto my toothbrush every morning.
Do you still like the same art as you liked ten, twenty years ago?
I always liked the classics, the master painters, the nudes in landscapes, so yes.
Your artworks play with the idea of narcissism and how, especially women, portray themselves in an erotic manner on photos to be more liked, adored, considered more attractive… But do you think when someone doesn’t like the way he/she looks on the photographs – that then makes him a narcissist?
I think we are all looking for approval, whether it be from others around us, or even approval of one’s self. And fortunately or unfortunately, we seek physical approval in the form of photos. We look for validation. There’s nothing wrong with it. It is what it is. But it’s always good to examine the reasons why we do certain things, and why emphasis is put on physical appearance, and the snap judgments we make about people based on their physical attributes.
What do you think makes a good artist?
Someone who examines the world around them, is curious, asks questions, and tries to present those questions in a manner that will elicit reactions.
If you could collaborate with anyone out there, who would that be?
I’d collaborate with writers or poets – maybe Jeanette Winterson.
Do you like Jeff Koons?
Like him or hate him, he’s the one that will be written into the art history books—and that’s worthy of respect.
What annoys you the most?
Judgmental people. I’m only judgmental about judgmental people.
Are you happy?
I think people who say YES too quickly to that question aren’t thinking about it enough.
What is your favorite color?
Your favorite feeling…
What is next for you?
3D printing. Excited to see my world come to life a bit more.
By Katja Horvat