q)Please introduce yourself.
a)My name is Jesse Balmer. I'm 22 years old,
and I was born in
q)Where do you live and work?
a)I've been living in
a little over a year and a half now, and
it's been treating me very well.
q)How would you describe your work
to someone who has never seen it?
a)My work changes pretty rapidly
as various influences come and go,
but right now I'm trying to explore
with which life fades in and out
of the physical universe and what the infinite void
surrounding it might look like.
I think the stars are clearer there.
q)How did you start in the arts?
How/when did you realize you were an artist?
a)In kindergarten everyone in the class
was drawing this crab from a book we'd just read...
and the teacher said that
she especially liked the detail in mine.
I must have put extra spines on the legs or something...
but that was the first
complement I remember receiving about
my drawing and I've been drawing instead
of paying attention to my obligations ever since.
q)What are your favorite art materials and why?
a)In my sketchbooks I use ballpoint pens and
Tombow brush pens almost exclusively.
Nothing feels better than drawing with
a brush pen on a smooth sheet of newsprint.
Highly recommended for releasing tension.
When I'm getting
serious with a piece, I use
gouache, ink, colored pencils and micron pens.
I like to keep things pretty simple.
q)What/who influences you most?
a)Nothing influences anybody more than
the vast number of things things they experience
on a day to day basis...and I'm no
different. Also, artists in this day and age are on
a quest to make the average zoned out
human being stop and think for a moment
about something other than themselves.
As far as the who goes...Dr. Seuss and
Shel Silverstein are two big ones.
The strong connection that exist
between their words and drawings is
something that I was shaped by as a
child and is something that I now really envy.
q)Describe a typical day of art making for you.
a)Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed,
find self unable to sleep due to idea
banging around in head, stay up until
4 executing idea on paper.
q)Do you have goals, specific things you want
to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?
a)I'd like to start writing and illustrating my own comics.
I do it on a small scale in my sketchbook,
but I've yet to create a world with the kind of continuity
that allows for a story to unfold. That world is finally starting
shape though, which is exciting.
q)What contemporary artists or developments
in art interest you?
a)When I was in high school that whole
Beautiful Losers thing happened, which got me
seriously thinking about making artwork
beyond what I did every day in my sketchbooks
which up until then was just a tool to keep
myself entertained in class or wherever
I was. And there are so many incredible artists that
I discover every single day that it'd take way too long
to list them all...
but the fact remains that I'm blown away all the time.
I've recently had the pleasure of seeing two of my
favorite artists working
in their element: Matt Furie and
Maxwell Loren Holyoke Hirsch. It's incredible
to see the work ethic of a working artist. I have
a long way to go.
q)How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
a)Somewhere between fifteen minutes and eight hours.
q)Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you
emotionally attached to them?
a)I am certainly attached to everything...
which has resulted in many drawers full of old
shitty drawings. I don't know if it's good or bad.
They'll need it for the retrospective they publish when I die,
right? No. I'll need it all to show my kids when
I'm forcing them to be artists like their dad.
As far as selling work goes,
if somebody likes a piece enough to hang it in
their home, parting with it becomes pretty easy.
q)Is music important to you? If so,
what are some things you're listening to now?
a)There are so many bands. Animal Collective
and Panda Bear are my favorite things to draw to.
a)Been reading a lot of comics lately.
Paul Pope is incredible. Alan Moore, of course...
and I'm a big huge batman fan. The best
novel I read recently was East of Eden by Steinbeck.
Holy shit. Mind expanding on so many levels.
Or maybe I just don't get out
q)What theories or beliefs do you have
regarding creativity or the creative process?
a)I think that the creative process is
something that's essential to the sane human mind.
And I don't just mean the traditional list
of creative outlets(music, writing, cooking, drawing etc).
I think there are many hundreds or thousands
of ways to release that energy...
but what's important is that it gets released.
If I didn't draw I don't know what I'd do.
I'd go nuts or I'd find another outlet.
I think there are a lot of
people in the world looking for the thing
that satisfies the creative side of their brain.
I think those are the people who don't
know what they want to be when they grow up.
I feel very lucky to have found something
that makes me so happy...and even luckier to
to have been born into one of the few places
where people have time to even think about art.
q)What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing)
when you're not creating?
a)Frisbee, reading comics, Super Smash Bros 64,
the bike, picnicking in golden gate park,
movies for free, and taking trips to Los
Angeles/Orange County to visit
my long lost friends and family.
q)Do you have any projects or
shows coming up that you are
particularly excited about?
a)I have a show with Bwana Spoons,
Martin Ontiveros and Grant Gilliland called
The Continuous Spectrum coming up at
Double Punch which is one of those trendy expensive vinyl
figure stores here in SF...and I have a collaborative show
in the works with another local artist who
works in three dimensions. It's
not totally fleshed out and we don't have dates
or anything so I don't want to get too into it,
but I'm very excited about that one.
q)Do you follow contemporary art scenes?
If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?
a)I browse FecalFace.com on a pretty regular
Both are very excellent places to go if you're looking for inspiration.
q)Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.
a)What do you think about artists who back themselves
into a stylistic corner in order to fit a certain interest group
specifically to make money? Art making should be about
doing what's satisfying to you and hoping
that people relate to it enough to want to make it a
part of their lives. It's a mistake to think too strongly
about the business end of things. As of now I have no idea
what it's like to make any sort of money via my art.
I just do it because I've always done it. But I'm certainly
at that point where I'd like to start working less and making
art more. If you're doing your own thing and you're good at it,
people will eventually recognize and appreciate
your work, which is when an artist starts to become successful.
q)Any advice for aspiring artists?
a)I think I just answered that question sort of...
but go get yourself a sketchbook and start developing
something all your own. Always keep it with you
and draw in that thing every day. You don't have to get
a degree but it's a good idea to at least take
classes at your local community college to keep
fresh thoughts and ideas running through your head.
q)Where can we see more of your work online?
a)On flickr or on myspace for the time being as
my website is currently "under construction."