An Interview With the Elusive John John Jesse
It seems like an eternity but we finally managed to get John John to sit still for a few moments to answer some of our probing questions.
RD: Hey John John great to meet you at last, could you tell us where you're from and where you live now please Dude?
Hi Wayne...I was born in NYC and grew up in the Lower EAst Side. I moved here to New Hope, Pennsylvania 2 years ago. It;s a HUGE change of lifestyle here.
RD: Fill us in on what media you use and why you decided to stick to those particular materials?
It's mixed...It's a slab of pencils, inks, gouches, acrylics, spray paint and heavy varnish on huge thick birch wood panels. I made up this concoction of mediums due to the fact that I never went to art school(in fact I am a high school drop out) so you can say I just "winged-it". After years of mastering it, it became what it is today.
RD: So you're self-taught, did it come easy and when did you first think, yes I wanna do this?
Yes self schooled. Born with it rather, it's never been difficult, it is just something I was destined to do. I thought I was going to tour with crusty punk bands for the rest of my life but life set this path for me, thankfully.
I got clean off heroin and alcohol 11 years ago and to keep a little sane in between my Narcotic Anonymous meetings I started painting. Eventually it evolved onto my painting an autobiography, and then a career.
Kind of by accident...a happy accident!
RD: You have a lot of teenage females in your work, could you tell us the inspiration for this?
The models aren't really teenagers( he laughs) but I use them to portray me for my life story in the paintings. Because simply who doesn't like pretty girls? But do not ever call my work "erotica" because it simply is NOT.
RD: We noticed one of your graphics on a skateboard, do you do many skate designs and do you skate personally?
I've only done that "Clash" board for a huge skateboard deck exhibit in Arizona years back.
Funny that board caused a problem because of the content, so the printers of the catalogue refused to print them. I suppose they were Conservatives. It ended up being written up in the local paper about the censorship.
But no I don't normally do deck designs. And no I don't skate.
RD: What words of wisdom can you give to an aspiring artist's first solo show?
Wow, I still get serious anxiety before any exhibit I have. I'm the worst person to ask! I'm not a self promoter or social kiss ass so I can't say, but I guess the only thing is to never worry about the sales and the money and enjoy your moment and be nice to your admirers. Just love what you do with humility and honesty. The rest should follow.
RD: Amen Dude.
RD: Hat on or off the head?
Huh? I wear a hat anywhere I fucking want. AND a filthy stinkin one at that.
RD: Could you give us a run down on any new exhibition dates you have coming up?
I am exclusively with the Opera Gallery in Soho, NYC and I just had my first solo show with them a couple of months ago, so nothing right now.
Just painting and getting ready for whatever exhibit they may need me for in the future.
RD: Thanks for the brief snap shot into your life man...stay in touch☋
Go see more from John John...HERE.