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Beach Meets: Jessica Warby

Peckham based artist Jesse Warby explores popular culture and openly confronts social taboos, and femininity through digital embroidery. A mix of Simpsons, Trump and the odd free nipple, we got the chance to talk to her off the back of her most recent exhibition ‘TV SHOW” at the Chopping Block gallery in Peckham Springs last week.

Hi Jesse, what’s an average day like for you in your studio?

I need a lot of stimulation when I’m in my studio to keep me in there. Usually, I will have music, a sitcom or a podcast on in the background. My digital embroidery machine will be busting out the orders and I will be drawing, sewing or cooking something up beneath all the chaos. As you can imagine my neighbours love me.

You’ve just shown in a couple of group shows – one being Lazy Oaf’s ‘Take A Break’ – how were they, what did you show?

The shows have been liberating. I have loved having the opportunity to make larger and more experimental pieces. In both exhibitions, I made rugs, which is my new found obsession. I really enjoyed watching people interact with them and give in to their urge to give them a feel. I encourage that! (unless they have just had a greasy mcdons) I always want to touch artwork in galleries but got told off a lot so have to resist these days.

Do you have any plans for a solo show anytime soon?

I think a solo show will be one of my next moves in 2019. It will 100% feature some large-scale rugs and I also want to make some sculptures.

Tell us about your process – how you think of ideas for pieces?

I always carry a really cheap sketchbook and pencil/biro around with me. I usually come up with ideas when I am at my job or on public transport. I think a lot comes from observing people, escaping reality and finding the world a bit strange. I like translating all of this into brightly coloured and chaotic compositions. I guess my work is an extension of how my mind works.

What 5 things in your studio inspire you?

This tends to change but at the moment…

1. Music is always giving me snippets of lyrics which I run with for a patch idea usually
2. Clarice Cliff – The Bizarre Affair – my go-to book when I’m stuck on composition
3. Past work hanging up inspires me to get off my ass and make new work, as I usually go off pieces within a month.
4. I keep scraps of fabric that I cut up with my huge collection of scissors to play around with shape and colour when I am lacking in inspiration
5. Food – snacks are very inspiring when creating work as they allow you time to chomp over things.

Also, the packaging can help you think of ideas. Pom bears helped me out a lot last week.

Tell us about textiles – it’s a slightly unusual medium for an illustrator, what makes it so good to work with?

My process of making is very sporadic and on the spot. Fabrics, embroidery, and wool enable me to work out what works through actively doing, there doesn’t have to be too much planning beforehand.

I also love the limitations textiles give and think the naiveties add to my aesthetic – you get, away with more! Lastly, the literal fact that the work can come to life and play a part in the physical world really excites me. I love the idea that it could pop up anywhere at any time, for example, last week I saw somebody on the tube wearing one of my patches and It made my day way less shitty.

Check out more of Jesse’s work here or take a look at her collection on the Beach London shop!