Works Going to Birmingham for "Home" exhibit at the Old Print Works by jessica kirkpatrick

I am pleased to announce that I have some work going down to a show called Home down in Birmingham, open July 21st -August 3rd These are works out of my new series.  I am the M


No More Nostalgia: No More Nostalgia: This is another building from Marin County, however in this case its context rests in connection to a grandiose mythological narrative about patriarchal religion handing over the baton to feminine spirituality.  The characters to the left are appropriated out of a Giotto painting, and the feet are those of actress Blake Lively--Hollywood stars as our modern goddesses. This painting took on a life of its own as its meaning during the process of making, but I see the connection between the personal and the universal, and the individual life as an embodiment of universal themes. 



The Bank:  This piece depicts a bank in Marin county California--on the north of San Francisco Bay. Having spent my childhood here, I returned in 2014 to the area to live for a while.  I was struck by how certain buildings triggered memory and nostalgia, and something about this 1960's era building made me recall running around as a wild teenager, waiting outside convenient stores to ask someone to buy fags, or meeting friends just to hang about. I took a snap off my iPhone but also used google street view screenshots to make an amalgam image reference.  This means  the painting is largely informed by the textures and qualities of the images I worked from.  I glazed the painting and sanded and scraped it multiple times to give it a worn down, distressed look, somehow to show the tiredness of old memories that do not serve a purpose to your life in the present.


Looking Up: This piece is about longing for home. But she is on the outside looking in. Home and family represent both belonging and a fetishistic middle class consumerism and idealization of the family unit. The house looms, asserting itself as a symbol success behind a property line fence. The woman disappears into her role as mother--and they are but cartoons of real life. Of course much of this is based on my contradictory feelings of being home raising children and understanding my own desires for home,  and a sense of normalcy. I express this sentiment in art, but in real life am living it.   I think the main point of this painting is contradiction.


press release


The Old Print Works is proud to announce It’s first open-submission exhibition, HOME.

Featuring the work of fifteen, emerging contemporary artists.

While each practitioner retains the integrity of their vision, the work is linked through a

common thread, exploring the meaning of ‘home’.

Exhibiting a selection of painting’s from her series ‘The Connectivist’s Dilemma’, Jessica

Kirkpatrick explores the notion of home from both the real and the conceptual. Her ‘mashups’

of stereotypical suburban America and the Scottish landscape study the experience of

fragmentation during migration and the act of reconciling and assimilating oneself.

Through her work, Jessica explores the utopian desire for connection, community and

middle-class consumerism.

Whilst Matthew Humphreys, a filmmaker, photographer and the hearing child to two

profoundly deaf parents, draws on languages and communication embedded in social

relationships within his work, creating an installation based on his parent's living room, he

reconnects with his childhood experience.

Along with Sylvia Chan, who returned to her hometown in Hong Kong and captured the

juxtaposition of the cultures bustling, over-crowded streets and ingrained loneliness.

HOME investigates meaning through differing mediums, interpretations and ideologies.

Opening on the 21st July at 12 am in The Old Print Works, Upper Gallery, benefitting from

the factories classic, industrial architecture and vast, undisturbed natural light.

Surrounded by creative organisations, projects and in conjunction with ORT

Galleries ‘Schwarmerei Members Show’. Free entry and drinks.

For more information on selected artists featured, please visit the Old Print Works blog.

the wretched WHY by jessica kirkpatrick

art practice as inquiry

The human mind demands certainty; panic strikes when we don't know where we are--the first thing we ask a new acquaintance is what they 'do'.    We classify and name  everything, and when there are no words our brains go numb.   Artist statements, bio's and gallery talks--art college and the art market demand that an artist communicate with focus and clarity; and granted, conviction puts you on a creative straight and narrow.   But just for the sake of this blog...I want to honor that state of not knowing what the fuck you are doing, why or for what purpose, with no prospect of discovering such any time soon.    Because I believe uncertainty is the life blood of the creative act. Questions compel your research and nourish your innate curiosity,  so maybe the asking is more important than the answer.  This combination of simple questioning and allowing the answer to evolve as you do assists you in verbalizing your work, keeps you on track artistically,  all while nourishing a vibrant creative circulatory system. 

  • your why develops over the course of your career 
  • creativity is contingent upon uncertainty
  • your line of inquiry is your mission

At the retrospective of one of my favorite British Painters, Paul Nash, at Laing Gallery in New Castle, it was fascinating to see his work change during his lifetime.   As an official WWII artist, the young Nash depicted vast battle scenes in blasted landscapes, forecasting his sensibility for the surreal,  and use of  blocky shape and chalky color.  After the war, recovering from PTSD he settled into the Dorset countryside,  creating psychologically intense images, inserting what he called "imaginative events" into sparse scenes of fields or seashores. By the end of his life he made romantic and beckoning dreamscapes.  As I strolled the exhibit, I loved witnessing his expression move from political outrage, to psychic angst, to longing. Though his work always remained recognizable as his own, Nash's ideas and imagery changed as he did.  Artist's who's work show evolution and growth are the artist's our culture cherishes.  Living inside of inquiry is the key to that growth.  

Making great work lies within the limitations of transforming thought into materiality.  You  learn to direct  the chaotic forces of imperfect tools, imperfect studios and imperfect moods--frayed brushes, cheap paints, dull blades and hangovers  then work towards your artistic intentions.  The art making process is somatic; our emotion and thought packed bodies act upon elements and objects.    But this is the magic of art making; within the surrender of our minds to the circumstances and perimeters of stuff and life, our work reveals us to ourselves.  Once we are clear on a certain process, creativity craves new unknowns.  Being an artist is equally about receptivity and trust, as it is control and power. 

I've realized that if I fully apprehended my motives and purpose, I would probably walk out of the studio and shut the door forever.  Its the pondering, and ever deepening mystery of creating art objects that keeps me engaged. When I  take my idea into form, maybe only 100% of the time is my project different from its original conception.  Detaching from a specific outcome delimits possibility, which when used towards a larger question, funnels creativity into a coherent project without it becoming predictable or conceptually one dimensional.   By continuing to ask why you make the work you do and asking what is the next step? what now? Your work will tell you.  You just need to know what follows what, and the ultimate answer is your North Star. 





Nurking by jessica kirkpatrick

Nursing while Working

photos from photobooth on my macbook, taken when i am doin stuff  

photos from photobooth on my macbook, taken when i am doin stuff  

In summer 2016, three weeks post-partum, I walked to my painting studio down the road from my flat in Edinburgh—pushing a gleaming new pram, disoriented yet proud of my recently aquired status. Mother. I still had jelly belly, was wearing maternity pads and healing from an episiotomy, yet with hormones swirling I felt intoxicated by my fresh peach of a baby. For about twenty minutes, I sat in the chair of my work space, nursing, staring at unfinished paintings.  My creative control center was no longer hermetically sealed; myself and my activities were now in service to and prioritized around my son’s needs.  However, ‘maternity leave’—this break from the 9-5—provides the artistic mind with its most vital nutrient: time to space out. Mothering is a doing, but contains a quality of being—simply laying, nursing, cradling, playing is not so much an action but an exisitance.   I’ve found I could give my body (and love) to my baby and keep my mind to myself.  In this way, motherhood and art making can be quite complementary (on the days I get some sleep).

Up until my baby began walking, he accompanied me to the studio. I made art,  but not without instances of a guilt-laden cycle of frustration, snapping then crying (both of us).  Amid my fractured attention—one eye on my work and the other on my ink splattered son—I’d apprehend, brush in hand, the precarious moment to catch a fall, or the scissors with in hand’s reach. I made it work for myself; I painted in ink which I could set down quickly; I made video art, filming at home, editing footage after bedtime.  Looking back now I wonder if I proposed that exhibit at Patriot Hall Gallery just to prove something to myself?  That I was still an artist, that I was not going to succumb to this one dimensional identity of mum.   My son has certainly injected me with renewed ambition; I just hope its for the right reasons. 

Nowadays, I am back to painting in oil, going to my studio on his nursery day, bewildered by the silence and space of an 8 hour stretch to work.   Somehow in  cognitive dissonance, I feel like I want to paint more, even though I am there doing it.   That being said,  family living is seeping into my imagery, as I flip through holiday photos farming painting sources, conveying a surreal version of mid-life angst.

JK Rowling famously said she didn't do housework for four years in order to write Harry Potter.  I don't want to live in squalor, but I get it.  I am ok with putting my 20 month old in front of CBeebies while I mess around on Photoshop in another room.  I will let him walk to me, sit on my lap, pull down my shirt, and drink from the breast—all while I am typing away on grant proposals, blogging, or working on my website.  I will raise eyebrows at his using a bottle to create milk art on our dark blue carpet, or sit amongst a heap of gaudy toys, all underneath the contents of his wardrobe and nappy cupboard he’s determinedly strewn across the flat.

I believe being an artist prepares you for the lack of control that children wreak on our lives.  In making art, things rarely work according to plan.  Similarly, children have a way of obstructing your day’s scheme. You want to go to the shop?  Baby falls asleep.  You want to make a sandwhich?  Baby bumped their head.  As maddening as it is, both art and motherhood teach one to live with acceptance, connection and flow of circmstances, which can only make you a better person. These days I have settled into some systems and routines, and as long as I am physically proximal, emotionally semi-present, with low standards of tidyness, a willingness to tickle or soothe every ten minutes, I can get some projects slightly closer to completion alongside my magical son.  I aim to structure my life so that I can be less of a multi-tasker, however, right now I love our dance— the blending of maternal and creative passion.