q)Please introduce yourself.
a)My name is Jessica Laurel Louise Dalva.
q) Where do you live and work?
a)I live and work in
q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
a)My work has a lot of variety, it is sculptural and painted and drawn. I go for a sort of Victorian-in-the-woods on their way to the circus kind of feel. There are lots of natural elements and strange animals and curvy girls with worried expressions and dainty fingers.
q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?
a)My family is very artistic, we were always encouraged to make things and play with art. We always were making things; I couldn’t really say when I started. My mom was probably giving me chunks of clay to squish while she was working when I was a baby, I don’t know if that counts. I don’t really like saying I’m an “artist” so much as that I like to make things.
q) What are your favorite art materials and why?
a)I like a lot of things, and I am always trying new materials, probably mostly because I get tired of things really fast. I’ve been into sculpting with Sculpey polymer clay for a while. I love tiny pens, like the Micron pens, they make really teensy pretty little lines. I love oil paints, gouache, ink, sewing things, cutting things up, gluing things together. Everything is an art material in my book
q) What/who influences you most?
a)I have an amazing group of friends and family, who are always making art and inspiring me. Also I’m a big fan of just going to thrift stores or looking in dumpsters and seeing what I can find and make things out of that. I am sort of obsessed with circus/gypsy kinds of things, broken stuff, and those creepy portraits from the 1800s. But mostly, the people around me start me off on ideas.
q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.
a)It really depends on what I am working on, but I tend to make things best late at night, and usually make a couple of cups of tea and put on a movie or music and set things out, make a big mess, and go to sleep after I’ve either finished some portion of the piece or broken something. I often make things that don’t work out at all, and will start over completely, or cut something up and use it a different way. But also some days I will spend all day on the boring, construction-type projects, just to get something to a place where I can start adding fun parts, details, lacy bits. Some days I will work on things with friends, which turns is the best way to make things, I think, because they help you see what’s wrong and keep you working.
q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?
a)I really just want to make things. I don’t really care where, how, or for whom. It’s probably not much of a goal, but I think as long as I have some notion of artistic freedom, I will be happy to make anything. Also I want to be able to have a house with a yard and a dog.
q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?
a)As I said before, my friends and family are amazing artists, in a lot of different ways, and I’m always interested in them and what they will do next (most of them have links on my blog- check them out!) I like that a lot of people are working in materials that have previously considered “crafty” and making them into real fine art, and that the storytelling aspect of art is becoming more important again.
q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
a)I like working on a number of things at a time, as lots of my work takes a lot of drying, baking, and clamping. Sometimes I will be able to finish something in a night or two, but I’ve also had pieces I’ve worked on for weeks. I don’t like spending a ton of time in preparation, though, which sometimes is disastrous, but it keeps me interested.
q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?
a)I am so happy that anyone would want to by something I made, even if I like them right now and am sad to see them go, I know in a short time I would find lots of problems with them and not want to look at them anymore. The idea that someone would want to have something I made in their house makes me much happier, and hopefully they will enjoy it for a long time.
q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?
a)Yes, I think music is one of the best things about humans. I love lots of songs, things by Andrew Bird, the Pharcyde, Pixies, Cowboy Junkies…also I love silly rap songs and have an abnormally large collection of Disney songs for a 22 year old. I’ve had lots of people say I have a lot of “bad” music but I think it’s funny.
a)I should read more. Can that be my answer? I like history books though, I think random factoids about the past are my favorite things to read about.
q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?
a)Going to art school really made me see that there is no one way to make art, and that people can be creative in ways that I just cannot imagine. Everyone is creative. Look at how many ways there are to make a sandwich. That’s creativity. Sandwiches.
q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?
a)Look for a real job… I like exploring. Eating. Baking things, having friends to go on adventures with and then coming home and eating what we made. I like collecting things from the ground. I have lots of collections.
q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?
a)Right now (until August 30th) I am part of a four-person show at
q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?
a)Although not religiously, I go to lots of the LA galleries, especially the Culver City group. There is a lot of really good art, and a nice wide variety of it, that goes on there. I really like art-Booooooom for online collections of art, and I spend lots of time browsing design blogs, especially ones of the crafty set.
q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.
a)What do you want for lunch?
I think I want a toasty sandwich, maybe with some pickles.
q) Any advice for aspiring artists?
a)Just keep making things and asking other people how they do what they do, even if they aren’t “artists,” because you never know what will help. And don’t take all the advice you hear. Do things how you do them, and make them the best you can.
q) Where can we see more of your work online?
And visit the