To mark the launch of our new season shade Cobalt, we invited eight artists to join our Artist in Residence series and exhibit their cobalt-hued works in Assembly Label stores around Australia and New Zealand.
Jess Sellinger is unstoppable. In the space of two years, the interior architecture graduate has established herself as an emerging artist and to hear her tell it, it’s been just as much a personal journey as a professional one. “I remember the day I had to close all orders for the first time as I was at full capacity. That was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment,” says the Brisbane-based ceramic artist. “Every year is a huge transition from the last. Being a very early career artist I’m still learning a lot and changing and growing very quickly. However, each year there are less mistakes, more work, more opportunities.”
That Jess should find herself making ceramic sculptures and home furnishings full-time feels completely instinctual. As a child, Jess loved to make things with her hands, spending hours on end drawing and colouring. Years later, she would refine that innate creativity at university, and now, she says, “creativity and design are always at the forefront of any work that I do”.
Characterised by evocative curves, fabric-like folds and ruffled finishes, Jess’s ceramic works have a sensual quality, and are filled with joie de vivre. But, Jess says, it’s still too early to label her aesthetic. “Only recently I feel as though I’m becoming more known for particular pieces — previously it was a lot of experimenting and figuring out what pieces I felt represented me.” From the very beginning, Jess has admired designers and artists from varying fields, including Daniel Arsham, Eny Lee Parker, Misha Kahn, Simone Bodmer-Turner. “Looking at both past and current design always influences my personal style. Not only in the ceramics world, but sculpture and furniture as well.”
Creating cobalt-coloured vessels and objects for her Artist in Residence installation marks yet another moment of growth, says Jess. “Having a bespoke, cohesive style was my goal and this particular series of work represents my transition into this.” Her decision to start using cobalt happened, she adds, “while trying to pinpoint a certain colour palette that I wanted to work with and be known for, so I started experimenting with cobalt blue.” Reflecting on what makes cobalt so exciting to work with, Jess says, “it’s extremely striking. It creates a whole new language for a piece and the space it will reside in. The beauty of it is it can either be the hero of the design or subtly complement the space.”
Looking forward, Jess says, “Seeing how far I’ve come in the space of two years makes me so excited for where I’m going to be in another two years. I want people to see a piece and be like, ‘Oh, that’s Jess Sellinger’!”
Jess’s Artist in Residence works will be available to purchase through her website after the exhibition. For enquiries, contact https://www.jesssellingerceramics.com