The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Interview with Jesse Peper

q) Introduce yourself first please?

a)My name is Jesse Peper. I was born on March 30, 1975, in Tucson, Arizona. As long as I can remember, I have always been drawn to many aspects of music and art. I mostly studied courses in printmaking, drawing, metal smithing, painting, anthropology, and psychology in college before exhausting my interest in the conventional learning aspects of school. I then pursued my own personal interests with freelance study and practice of many things that interested me. During, and after college, a handful of years were spent working with sound-related projects manipulating a variety of instruments and samples both electronic and organic. I have enjoyed performing and recording with musical projects such as Legerdemain and Not Breathing, as well as many other collaborative endeavors. Being raised in Tucson, some of my favorite childhood memories occurred in Mexico exploring the Sea of Cortez either boating or snorkeling. I spent most of my years in Tucson, then moved to Portland, Oregon for a while and then on to Denver, Colorado (where I presently reside). In order to “pay the bills” I have worked in everything from retail, dishwashing, prep-cook, gallery-work, bartending, and even spent some time working as a Tarot phone-psychic. I currently work full-time as an emergency dispatcher, and have done so for over six years now.

q) How did you get into art?

a)Drawing was an exercise I was encouraged to do at an early age. I was considered by my doctor to have poor hand/eye coordination. I remember enjoying drawing pictures as far back as when I was just a young child. My interest in this craft continued to grow into a facet to work out ideas, concepts, whimsy, emotions, dreams, my creative imagination, and much more.

q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?

a)Unfortunately, I don’t really spend time with other artists with any regularity enough to be influenced; not by choice, that is just the way it has worked out. Influencing me with both support and upstanding personal qualities though are my friends and family, who I admire very much.

q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only follow what comes in your mind?

a)Perhaps my tendencies would aim to reflect an improvement on the qualities of living on subjects that I consider with high regard. Often I move in spells. For example, I am currently working on a series oriented approach. This involves revolving subjects around an idea until there is enough resolve in my mind, or development on the subject, to move on to a new series. Every so often I try completely new things just to avoid any potential feelings of ill-stagnation. My intentions are to evolve and improve both technically as well as conceptually. I have to keep things interesting enough for myself to keep a good mind for the workings. If I have problems, I feel most comfortable working them out in a state of half-sleep when the mind is relaxed enough to dream, but not so asleep as to have a semblance of memorable focus. A self taught technique which I find very useful.

q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?

a)I prefer to work with graphite or ink when sketching in journals or on scrap paper. These sketches often contribute towards more completed works using water based paints and I have discovered that masonite agrees well with my painting style. I like using water as a basic element for environmental startings because of its natural effects.

q) How much does your environment have an effect on your pictures?

a)My environment has a large effect on my work. Although painting is partly a hermetic, reflective, process, the environmental aspects are sometimes commonly less material and deal more as a reflection of internal workings or creating external structures to effect an internal environment. I surround myself with paintings on the walls as well as other things which stimulate a momentum towards the desires and aims explored.

q) Tell us about your studio space. Where do you work? Do you listen to certain types of music while working?

a)I find that I can, and often do, work wherever I must to stay on top of my imagination. Ideally I try to keep my work environment as close to my bed as possible because I do a lot of formulation while sleeping. I don’t want too many obstacles between my bed and a comfortable work environment. The music I listen to always varies according to my mental state. For example, my moods might fluctuate from classical, eclectic, metal, jazz, electronic, or folk in an attempt to affect me appropriately to the most accommodating state of mind for whatever I may be working on. I am, however, very selective within each genre, extremely picky!

q) Who are your favorite artists?

a)Within visual art I would have to say: Austin Osman Spare, Salvador Dali, Henry Darger, Wesley Willis, Clive Barker, Pierre Molinier, Rosaline Norton, Preston Thomas, Suehiro Maruo, and Douglas Seaton. These are just a few examples that spring directly to my mind.

q )When have you started using the internet and what role does this form of communication play for you, personally, for your art, and for your business?

a)Although seeing original works in person at galleries can create an incomparable impression for viewers of true interest in such things, the internet allows the artists to reach a wider audience of interest than strictly showing in galleries. The internet is also an immediate library of vast information. I use the internet quite often for research, correspondence with friends, fans, galleries, promoting and selling my art, etc.

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a)There is quite a stack to list from but some choice selections include: various Austin Osman Spare, Kenneth Grant, Christopher Hyatt, Phd, “Lust of the Libertines”, Bizarre magazines, “Cows” & “High Life” by Matthew Stokoe, “Anarchy and Alchemy”, many of the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, various true crime volumes, a handful of titles by Creation and Feral House publications.

q) What's playing on your stereo?

a)A random mix of artists which I shift out every so often as my moods change. There is quite a large selection, but some of the music included is: COH, Vincent Gallo, Electric Wizard, Not Breathing, Bohren der club of Gore, Soriah, Coil, Crack W.A.R., “A Sonic Evening of Sordid Sorrows”, Aural Vampire, Ween, Jarboe, Lucifer Rising, Soft Cell, ADULT, various freestyle, 8-bit, Sacred Sounds of Santaria, some Turkish rock, and much more.

q) Any interesting "rituals" before you start creating?

a)Absolutely sterilizing my work space! I prefer cleaning every detail so that any glass or wooden surface shines and reflects, everything is disinfected, vacuumed, mopped, and I often burn incense (Copal, Benzoin, Pinon or resin mixtures for instance). I then lay out a time soiled towel and all the appropriate tools to begin my work.

q) What is your favourite colour?

a)Not one in particular, but I do seem to lean towards goldish earth tones, bloody colors, nightly hues, ivory, and licorice. Like I said though, I am not limited to any specific favorites.

q) What is the best time in the day for you to work on a project? Is there one, or is it more about the environment -- maybe the right mood?

a)I work best usually in the evenings until late into the night. Sometimes on days off I will start first thing in the morning and work until late at night. It can sometimes be exhausting, yet is very rewarding.

q) What projects mean a lot to you at the moment?

a)I have an upcoming show at "Last Rites Gallery" in New York City’ April of next year.
Also, I will have a solo show in March next year at the “Crude Things Gallery” in Portland, Oregon. In addition, I hope to release another very limited book of my artwork in the new year; over 89 pages of art will be featured.

q) Your contacts…

a)I am being currently represented by Perihelion Art Gallery (
I can also be reached via my personal webpage at Any feedback regarding my art is always valued and appreciated.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We used to live in Tucson a few years ago and were good friends with Joan Peper (Adobe)and wondered if you were her relitive as we have had nonews about her in a long time. we admiire your art and see deeper meanings in each piece. praydancer & skywatcher @

2:31 PM  

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