Jess Hutch is a lovely person. She has participated in Plush You since it began and I am pleased as punch that she is still going strong with her plush making. I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with Jess last year and it was great to be able to sit down with her and chat about her work and to get to know the woman behind these amazing creations. I can't wait until Friday when I will be able to hang out with Jess again as she will be showing her work at Schmancy. In a few hours you can visit our new Schmancy Gallery site to see what will be at the show and to purchase any work before it is up this Friday. Until then, read a little more about Jess.
S- When we met about a year ago you mentioned that you might like to stop blogging. This Jan. you made the plunge and said good bye to the blogging world. How has it helped your creative process? Is it everything you hoped it would be?
JH- It's been great in a lot of ways... using my blog and flickr to show my work to the world was hugely, hugely important for me while I was trying to work out my aesthetic and my creative direction. However, I got to the point where the number of comments or hits I got had an effect on the projects I chose to work on. I felt that as I was creating things, it was almost like I had a hundred people in the room with me. So I decided to step back a bit and create in a more silent, personal space. It's been great. However... I've also found that it's kind of hard to work without the encouragement of other people, artists and people who like my work and pay attention to it. Like I need their support to keep my motivation going. So it's mixed! But I think it's been useful and a good experiment.
S- Looking through your work, you seem to have gone through some phases. From knitting more, embroidery, screen printing and now more painted stuffed toys. Do you just go with your flow or do you dabble in everything all the time?
JH- I get bored pretty easily, at least with various media. I seem to always stay within a pretty narrow range with what I represent (usually weird serene little animal/human hybrid characters) but I am always, always thinking about different ways to go about it. I even want to try wood carving, I'm not even kidding. I think I just want to explore everything... just different ways of depicting what's in my head. Comic books, oil painting, etc. There's so much out there, and I just kind of follow my bliss with it.
S- I noticed that a lot of your work has little stories involving ghosts and spirits. Are you really into ghost stories and mystical beings?
JH- Yes. What I really love is the idea that our normal world, the one that we can study and observe, is just a shell. That unusual beings and strange occurrences occasionally present themselves, and we just have to be open and aware. I'm not sure I really believe any of this, but I'm open to it and love to contemplate the possibilities.
S- One thing I really love about your work is the color palette. It varies but seems to stay within certain families. Where do you get a lot of inspiration for your work and color combinations?
Well, my stuff is very modern and graphic. Super simple. I am always concerned that the cartooniness of what I do, coupled with really bright colors, would just completely shove it out of reality. So I like to use more natural, muted colors, because I think it brings it back a bit. It's a little more relatable (which is always what I'm try to achieve). Rust, grey-green, ocean blue, brown, etc.
Read the full interview here