We may be celebrating with some wine shortly,” laughs Jessica Gorlicky, Toronto-based artist and live painter, as she wraps up a phone call, and with it, clinches a new deal. Gorlicky is known increasingly under the moniker JessGo, a title fortuitously just as exuberant and optimistic as the person it represents.
Amidst canvases emblazoned with the bold iconography and sensuous colour-scheme that have done her so well over these past 15 years, Jess stands, rather dances around her studio with a combustive and contagious energy, a testament to pursuing one’s dreams.
Her own began to materialize in 2010 when she was contracted for the Olympic Torch relay and traveled across Canada, painting a new piece for each performance in just eight minutes. “It was instantaneously amazing. I did it for the first time in five minutes.”
She went on to paint for the Cirque du Soleil, generating 77 original pieces, a feat Jess counts among her most proud moments as an artist.
There is a lot that goes into creating a truly captivating experience when painting for an audience, explains Gorlicky. The final piece is only one of the components that comprise the full experience. “It’s really intuitive,” she explains, “You’ve got to feel the next moment and connect with the audience.” Gorlicky rarely has a complete image of what she will construct on stage before she goes out, preferring to let her intuition and her sense of the audience be her guide. “I’m all about energy and feeling what you are, where you are, with who you are with. I’m really random and I’m just instinctive that way. I think that’s when my work is best.” The prospect of staging one’s craft might likely terrify many of us who claim to have a creative bend in our bones. For Gorlicky, it’s all about the act of creating.
One of her projects, Art In Motion (AIM) foregrounds Gorlicky’s love affair with process. For it, she travelled to dozens of cities across the world, installed herself among the surrounding architecture and began to create using whatever materials were at her disposal. This prompted varied responses from a public unaccustomed to seeing art delivered in such an unpremeditated and transient way. Whether she was heralded by spectators for her impromptu creations or deemed a vandal by the occasional scowling passerby, Gorlicky succeeded in generating interest in her brand of art.
Gorlicky contradicts the archetypal image of “the Artist” many of us have been conditioned to figure in our minds. She is not shut away in a hermetic studio producing works that lament the descent of mankind, nor does she produce works for an exclusive crowd. Her recent exhibit “Saturday Mornings” carves out a space for spectators to simultaneously partake in a collective cultural memory and relive personal childhood nostalgias, through simple things like cereal boxes and cartoon characters. Gorlicky’s art strives to be about community and interactivity. Resisting any restrictive classification according to genre or audience, Gorlicky says, “I’m everywhere. I think it’s for everyone, for wherever.”
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