I was in 7th grade when my art teacher presented all the students with a 12×12 inch copper plate. He explained to us that as soon as we pressed into the plate the lines would be permanent, so we were to give thought to what we wanted to create before starting. I loved it, all the students started with the same tools and resources, so I pressed my lines into the surface with no worries if they were right or wrong, but only that they were creating a bigger picture.
My relief shaped into a butterfly and it was one chosen to be exhibited at the state capitol. I ran home after school to give the good news to my parents who I knew would be steadfast in support of attending the debut. I could hear the drunk shouting and cursing from two houses down, my parents were fighting again. I went up to my bedroom and decided to wait until the next day to share my news.
It took a few days for the fighting to stop, at which point I received an excited congratulations and saw the hopeful glimmer in my parents eyes. It was then my mind opened to ideas of opportunity, confidence, and patience as I realized that like that copper plate, with the proper tools and resources, I could create my life.
For me, creating has always been a companion, allowing me to make sense of seemingly uncontrolled situations through controlled mediums. My late mother and father, tender and complex souls, have had the single most influence on my work.
My vision has always been to use art and design to advance opportunities, crack stereotypes and build bridges for empowerment. This goal has evolved into one of my long-term projects, Voice of Maasai music label, allowing me to stretch boundaries of possibilities, engage in meaningful work and push the creative potential of others forward.
I am motivated by incremental base-building approaches for improving life and increasing opportunities for social mobility. I find continued inspiration in diversity, natural landscapes and the strength, strife and dynamism of Maasailand and my team in East Africa.
Jessey Jansen is a contemporary artist living in Austin Texas with experience in fine arts, graphic design, project management and social entrepreneurship. Her diverse portfolio ranges between portraying whispering moments to challenging paradigms of social mobility. Translating everyday experiences through graphic depictions and mixed media, her work defines nuances and patterns within civil societies. Her central protagonist is predominately "a faceless or universal female figure" and pays homage to her late mother and women's empowerment.
Jessey has received numerous awards for her visionary work including nominee for Emerging Artist at Peninsula Art School in 2006, 2008 Selected Artist Residency at Alverno College, 2015 Brand Award from Green Festival LA, 2016 Best Jazz/World AMI Music Award from Artprize8 and 2018 American Package Design Winner from Graphic Design USA for her visionary Voice of Maasai music and media label.
Jessey earned her BA in Communications and the Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and Printmaking from the University of Green Bay Wisconsin and is the owner of Little Lady Studio publishing company. She was raised in Wautoma Wisconsin and currently shares her time between her home in Austin Texas and the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania, where she concentrates on building the Voice of Maasai brand.
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