Jesse Blalock: August Artist of the Month

Quick background on how you came to be, please!

Well, this whole art vision found me in high school! One day, I asked my teacher to give me a week without assignments to work on something personal I had a dream about. Having an open minded art teacher - gave me a chance and I went to town on the nearest piece of paper! I was like a kid in a candy shop twisting and turning my page as I went about in a fluent way! Each expression was either something I've seen before or an internal expression I see in my imagination!

Since that week of production I immediately put my designs on apparel/shirts and began selling them in high school. It took off from there!

I kept it up and never doubted what I was doing - a story untold to unfold right before my eyes. I was just drawing with pen and ink then, but I started painting when I was 20 years of age.

I'm 24 now. My first mural was a wrap around design on a place called Mobile Marine on Washington Avenue. That was my first painting ever. I was unsure at first, but did my best and made the best of it. I'm a self taught artist by all means and have been growing ever since!

This year will make my 5th year of participating in the Peter Anderson Festival here in Ocean Springs. I have lived and sold art in New Orleans for 2 years as well. I am actively involve the community through door signings to support local art, and teach kids at our local museums and schools!

Art should always be a gift giving back! So, I've exercised, and not given up on, my dream and here I am. Plus, I just introduced videography to my art form. I have had great feedback with a documentary with John Reyes this year, where I painted a mural on the inside of Leo's Wood Fired Pizza! My apparel has progressed as well and I'm just doing what I do best with what little time we have on this planet!!! 

If we gave you a biscuit and asked you to use it as a canvas, what 4 colors would you use on it? What would you do to the biscuit? Feel free to send us a sketch.

I would use gold, purple, turquoise, and bright red! I would break it in half and create a splotchy background with all the colors then make faces out of what I see as art.

Here at the Greenhouse, we really love cats. Though when we look at your art, we think of far off tropical lands, with parrots and toucans. If you had a pet toucan, what would you name it?

My pet toucan would be Toucan the Man! 

Also… Do you have a cat? What is its name?

I dont have a cat - I'm a dog kinda guy and her name is Sheeeeva.

Has painting given you a stronger sense of where you want to go in life?

I think painting has brought me growth and confidence along with patience and finesse for the skill at hand! It's a well rounded form of art everyone should exercise for sure!

Public art seems really important to you. Can you talk about that a little?

Public art means the world to me! You don't have to know someone to inspire them for a lifetime! It's a beautiful thing to see everyone come together and express art! In a world where everything is mine and yours - for a second it's ours and that's beautiful to me! We need more of this influence right now! If we want to see a flourishing future with art without boundaries and ridicule!  I'll always be open to anyone wanting to let go and be free.

Is there a difference between murals and graffiti to you? I see you have done both. Are your intentions different with the two types of projects?

Yes! There's a difference between graffiti and murals. I'm more inclined to say murals are more artful because it involves more of a critic and brush work. But graffiti has its own form and light in the arts that I equally respect! I'm learning more about spray as I go along but I adhere to paint first!

What’s with the doors?

The doors are a natural canvas that is already framed in most cases! All of these doors are recycled by my hand, going out and finding them on the street! The doors are a great symbol to me because it teaches everyone that you don't have to just buy canvas to do art! Plus you can help the planet by reducing waste! It also serves the purpose of community door signings and opening up people's minds that may have never gotten the chance to freely express what they feel! It's an awesome thing in its own light.

You have done a lot of work for/with Blackwater Brass. You painted a tuba. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a painted tuba. Did they approach you to do that, or is that something you came up with? And you did the cover art for their new release? How does it feel to have your work on Spotify?

Gary Cooper, the drummer for BWB, approached me with his djembe hand drum first and asked if I would paint it for him . Of course I said yes!  Being that was my first instrument I've ever painted and it's a beauty for sure. Then the sousaphone player, Andrew Heston, asked me if I would paint his instrument as well , and out of the love for those guys and the spirit of music and art I do so as well! And last but not least I painted Zach Fellmans djembe as well so keep an eye out - I got mad love for Black Water Brass and the funk they bring to this world ! Great energy!

It's an honor to have done there cover art by all means! They bring the funk through music and I do so as well through art! We are a perfect match and I am glad it can be shared with the world! 

When you aren’t making art, which it seems like you always are, what do you do?

When I'm not making art, I'm usually cooking in an artful way! I love to cook and culinary art is my Jam!! I've always had an extreme liking for well prepared and good tasting food! And the best way to go about that is to cook it yourself! I also have been skateboarding for 11 years now and that is my bread and butter for sure. It's a huge fit of inspiration for me and a sense of being free to express my love for the sport! I love spending time outdoors with my dog Sheeva, Bruce and partner Kelsey Wishik! We enjoy traveling and learning holistic ways of life. Outside of that I like to find peace within my spirit and become one with the universe as well