May 2014 / Catch A Wave

Jessica Eastburn

“My work centers around the parallel rise and evolution of technological advancement and consumer culture in contemporary American society and the effects these influences have had on the culture of the United States and the rest of Western civilization.  Having witnessed the consumeristic excess of the end of the 20th century as well as the evolution of the rapidly advancing digital technology which has come to dominate and define contemporary life, my work responds to and expands upon, conceptually and technically, technology and consumerism in the form of non-linear narrative paintings which appropriate the visual language of advertising, comics, and pop culture.

The advent of ever-evolving digital technology has inundated people with information, most of it unimportant, trivial, or outright useless.  My paintings mimic this contemporary digital overload by illustrating arbitrary and incongruous information, which takes the form of swatches and snippets of patterns and motifs, and layers of pop culture iconography that all overlap and overshadow one another to create a sort of pastiche.  The information presented in the works is often disparate and random, akin to stream of consciousness writing, allowing the viewer to concoct their own narrative with the given images.

The process of creating the paintings is the antithesis of “drag and drop” digital technology, since they are created wholly by hand using “antiquated” technology such as the ruler and compass to map out the works, and gouache (an opaque watercolor), cel-vinyl (for inking cartoons), airbrush and spray paint to fill in the drawings and make sweet gradations.  In using these materials, my work harkens back to a pre-digital time when clicking a button to apply a color fill was not an option, and instead artists had to carefully and skillfully apply pen and paint by hand.  Yet the aesthetic of the work aims to so convincingly approach digitally produced work that the viewer isn’t aware of the process until they are up close to the piece.  It is my hope that this moment of realization for the viewer about how the work was created will provide an opening point for consideration on craft, technology, and design that might not otherwise be possible”.