Welcome to the very second Hearts and Crafts, where we talk to artists and crafters about their amazing work and they share a craft tutorial with us! It’s the best of every world.
Header by Rory Midhani
Jessica Buie is a printmaker, graphic designer and all-around incredible artist. Her work has primarily been shown in Texas and California, but just you wait. Her work is first, aesthetically interesting and complex, and beneath that, she adds in scientific concepts and cultural theory. The result of this intensity is simply stunning.
Jessica first found a love for art by going to museums with her Granny, who took her to contemporary shows along with the classic European art. Those visits made an impact on her, and when it came time for college, it seemed only natural to go into art. Basically Jessica is proof that we should be teaching kids the humanities from a young age.
She went an interesting route in college, choosing a B.A. over a B.F.A. She said,
I chose to go to a very small, liberal arts university in Austin, TX called St. Edward’s University, and getting the B.A from there really encompassed much more than just technical art skills. … I left there with the feeling that all of these ‘liberal arts’ studies were sort of informing the art I was making. Not that a B.F.A is a bad thing, at all! … The B.A works for those of us who started out a little shaky on our feet.
Jessica has also been venturing into awesome new territory with what she calls “Glitch Collages”:
Lately, I have been researching and working in a much more technological way, using the computer to create art, taking inspiration from internet culture, and these collages are just sort of the beginning processes of that. … These collages are part of a larger series exploring internet culture, and how the internet over the past 15 years or so has translated our most basic human emotions and needs into some very abstract experiences and images. For example, the ["this is a secure page"} collage is about how easy it is to lose yourself in this virtual world, and how emotions like jealousy and anger portray themselves in the virtual world. Things like the "Stab Buddy" and "Kill Buddy" AIM buddy icons are, to me, really shocking. It's so fascinating that this internet culture lets people express such violent sentiments without repercussion. ... It is such a fascinating culture to me, and my work is just trying to explore why and how the internet has brought us here.
As a graphic designer, Jessica’s likes to think that her design background differentiates her art from others, and I’m quick to agree. She originally pursued design because she, like every artist ever, began struggling to find out what type of art spoke to her and what kind of art she wanted to continue making. In Jessica’s words, design was something “I felt really confident doing, and the theories and concepts behind design started to speak to the art I was making. … For me, my experience in graphic design is a figurative little toolkit I keep in my back pocket that differentiates my art from others.”
Remember how I said her work involves a lot of scientific theories? Here’s the brilliant thought process behind that:
Everything in the series is an abstract translation of a scientific concept or theory. I predominately use theories found in conceptual physics, but I have also recently extended to abstract translations of non-science related experiences, such as a passage in a book, a particular piece of music, etc. The process begins with heavy research in the chosen theory/concept. Don’t be fooled though, I’m not like working with these theories and plugging numbers in and performing actual equations, I would love that, but it just isn’t in my ability. I am trying to learn as much about the concept as possible so that I would be able to explain it to someone else. Once I feel that I truly understand the function of these equations, then I start translating them into abstract, visual form. I use relief printmaking and drawing as my primary mediums. Essentially, I am interested in translation.
I want to explore the way in which a specific idea, emotion, experience, or definition can be translated into an abstract image. Some questions that my work gravitates toward are: can the translation be multi-channeled? Or, can a viewer look at an abstract image and understand it to be a representation of a particular experience/idea? Is there a direct formula that can be developed which takes the viewer from a concretely defined idea to an abstract image? Is the abstract image particular to the viewer? Can the viewer create this image themselves?
Go check out more of Jessica’s art!
Jessica is also going to show us how to make some awesome stickers using designs she created herself, because she’s just that incredible.
Super Easy Sticker Tutorial
+ Blank shipping label sheets
+ Blank paper
+ Copy machine
Level of Difficulty: Easier than science, that’s for sure.
Go to your local Staples/Office Max/Office supply store and purchase blank shipping labels. Make sure that they are 8.5 x 11 in sheets. These things usually go for about $12-13 depending on where you go. The price is definitely worth it because you can get a ton of stickers out of 25 pages.
Next, draw anything on the blank paper. Seriously. Anything. Draw to your heart’s content. Whatever image/text you can come up with that you would want on a sticker, draw it. It’s a good practice to start off with pencil first, then do an ink or marker layer. It’s up to you if you want to cut them out of the sheets, or leave them as is.
Here are some I designed for you!
Find a copy machine. If you’re not currently enrolled in school or have access to one at work, your local FedEx office should have a self-service printing area, and they are usually open 24/7. Place some blank label paper into the printer tray so that the copies that you make will print onto your sticker paper. If you don’t know how to open the printer tray, or what the hell the printer tray is, ask someone to help. Printers can be assholes.
Lay your mastercopy stickers sheet, or individual stickers, face down onto the copy machine. Make as many copies as you think you’ll want to have/give away/sell.
Have a lot of stickers! Now go put them everywhere and on everything.
Are you, or do you know, an awesome queer artist and crafter who should be featured in an upcoming Hearts and Crafts? Email hansen[at]autostraddle[dot]com!