Artist Interview: Jessica Valoris

Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
My name is Jessica Valoris. I’m a visual artist as well as a performing artist, poet, and educator. I work full time as a Dream Director at Theodore Roosevelt High School, and part time as the Assistant Director of City at Peace DC; both of which allow me to spend my time creatively engaging young people in social justice and community-building work! I have always been a creative person, and started taking my visual art more seriously about 5 years ago.

"The Xigga Projeck" by Jessical Valoris

“The Xigga Projeck” by Jessical Valoris

What medium(s) do you work in & why?
My visual art practice began when I was a child. As a doodler, I loved to draw on any surface from post-its, to notebooks, sometimes drawing on my own skin. I love sharpies and inky pens. I enjoy working with paper and magazines, and I also work with acrylic paint and canvas.

What is your creative process like?
Often I draw when I am in a space of learning… a meeting, or a conference, or a lecture. Doodling helps me to absorb and synthesize information and ideas. So my creative process is ongoing. I often draw from my doodles to make larger pieces of work on paper and canvas. Sometimes my creative process is more of a meditation, focusing in on the lines and shapes and curves, the motion of my hands. Other times my creative process is more structured, I go in with a clear idea of a word I want to explore or a doodle that I want to transform.

"Universe of Words" by Jessica Valoris

“Universe of Words” by Jessica Valoris

What is the best art-related advice you’ve received?
Do you. Don’t compare yourself to other artists. There is not comparison. Whatever you are meant to create is unique to your position in this great universe. So share your gift without judging its worth or purpose.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
As an emerging artist, I find a challenge in seeking places to both show and sell my work. It can be hard to sustain a creative practice that calls to you, but doesn’t always pay for itself. I definitely make an investment of time and money into creating my art, and am looking for ways to make it self-sustaining.

Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece:

"A Beginning" by Jessica Valoris

“A Beginning” by Jessica Valoris

Our thoughts and the words we speak create powerful vibrations in our bodies, spirits, and in the environments we are a part of. What words is your universe made out of? What words are affirming your courage? Nurturing your wellness? Enlivening your purpose? Expanding your love?

This piece is called “A Beginning”. It is part of a larger series of word art that is inspired by the xiggaProjeck. The xiggaProjeck affirms the power of words in constructing our realities. Drawing language and sound bites directly from the xigga afro.philo.cosmology, each drawing and painting creates a small universe out of words and ideas.

This particular piece reflects on the cyclical nature of life and how we navigate our complex identities and experiences. We are on a constant journey, so everything is a beginning. This piece serves as a reminder of all our possibilities, and as an affirmation of our resilience and creativity.

What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
I love the grandness of Artomatic. It can be overwhelming to enter a space full of so many different ways of seeing and engaging in the world. I love it. It’s inspiring to me to see so many creative expressions alive in a concentrated space for all to enjoy.

What is your website (or other method of contact):

You can see more of Jessica’s work on display at Artomatic 2015 on the first floor, space 1-008.