G1RL5 by Jessica Lichtenstein
Jessica recently showed me a photo of her art piece G1RL5 at dinner in the West Village when I absolutely fell in love with this wall piece and story behind it. Jessica was a competitive distance swimmer for a long long time and went to Yale to study literature and art history. She spent 2 years afterwards as a copywriter for an advertising agency and then sold out, went to law school and has been seeking to regain her creative side ever since. How did you get involved in art? My grandmother was very artistic and she taught me how to paint when I was about 10. My first painting was of a sailboat under a rainbow and I cried because I made the rainbow with Red, Orange, Green then Yellow. But my grandma told me that you can fix things with paint by erasing it and starting all over again. Thanks Gram:) Inspirations and how would you describe your art? When I took art history classes in college, I was always obsessed with the female form--from Botticelli's rotund girls, to Fragonard's flirty overly ornate women, to Ingres's elongated Odalisque, to Picasso's abstract shapely patterns. I was always amazed at how these women's sexuality emerged from the canvas. In my pieces, each girl uses her sexuality in a way that tells a story--her story, your story, every girl's story in some way. You have the self-reflective stripper staring at herself in a mirror wondering why she is still stuck in the same place, the woman who tends her garden everyday and one day decides to disrobe and stomp all over the roses she had grown, the woman who cooked dinner and waited naked for her husband to come home (but he is late again). Some figures are sad, some happy, but overall i wanted there to be a sense of empowerment in each of them.
Favorite art galleries? Gallery Nine5 in soho has amazing contemporary artists (Fabrizio del Rincon, Gonzalo Papantonakis) & Max Lang Gallery (Chiho Aoshima, Hye Rim Lee, Mrzyk & Moriceau). Other artists you admire and why? The artists I mentioned above. I am really into art that has a comic-book, grafitti-esque, ironic child-like quality to it. Like taking all the images you held sacred as a child and distorting it a bit (if you have ever watched Robot Chicken or Family Guy on television, you know what I am talking about). Challenges of starting life as an artist after having established a career in law? I guess I never found it challenging. Whenever I have this overwhelming urge to create something, I just create it. How does NY inspire you as a person? Every nook, corner, crevice of NY is a piece of art, even the people. I literally walk around with a camera taking pictures of graffiti walls, weird colored puddles in the middle of the streets, construction sites, skyscrapers, happy people, sad people. Seriously, it's the biggest museum in the world. Favorite NYC neighborhoods? I used to say anything below 14th street, but now I live in the 20's so I guess anything below 26th street. Soho is my favorite, but the villages are a strong second.
Plans for the future? Yeah right.
Favorite websites pingg.com (much better way to send online/print invitations than evite). I've been planning lots of get togethers recently and think the site is very art-friendly. And ninunina cause it rocks. ( Thank you Jess, we love you)
3 things you cant live without?
sex, music and all the time in between. 3 must have items you always carry in your purse?
I am downsizing my purse and going back to the stuff-in-your-pockets philosophy.
Contact Jessica for more information on G1RL5 Jessicalichtenstein@hotmail.com