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May 28, 2024
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JÜSS, Jess Gaillard art’s between Queerness and Childhood

The upcoming "Lovely Autonomy" exhibition in Geneva will feature the work of Jess Gaillard a.k.a. JÜSS, a 21-year-old non-binary artist whose creative journey and distinctive style have been shaped by a blend of personal experiences and the digital age.

Born in 2002 and influenced by their grandmother's watercolor paintings, they evolved from a child fascinated by drawing and painting into an artist whose work explores the intersections of queerness and strangeness through multiple mediums. Their artistic inclinations were evident from a young age. "I started painting and drawing a lot when I was a child, ». This early exposure to art set the foundation for a lifelong passion.

However, the real turning point in their artistic journey came at the age of thirteen when they joined Instagram. The platform became a virtual gallery for JÜSS, documenting their evolution as an artist over the past nine years. "It's fun to see the evolution, internet also motivated me to create more."

Growing up in rural Valais, where queer representation was sparse, the internet became a crucial outlet for them. "In Valais, there aren't many examples," they explain. "It was comforting to have this little bubble where you see people who resemble you." This digital exposure not only helped JÜSS find their community but also influenced their artistic style and identity.

JÜSS’s journey into the queer community and their exploration of identity have been organic. They describe it as a process of discovery, made up of small steps and constant experimentation. "At thirteen, I followed trends that weren't really me, like drawing cartoon characters ».Over time, JÜSS began to develop a more personal and authentic style.

Their work is characterized by its diversity in mediums and its central themes of queerness and strangeness. Initially focused on watercolor and drawing, their practice has expanded to include installations, performance, and video art. This eclectic approach allows JÜSS to explore how different mediums interact and enhance their expression of queer identity.

Childhood remains a recurring theme in JÜSS's work. "Children fascinate me," they admit. "They operate so differently from adults, and I think that's fantastic." This fascination is not just with the innocence and freedom of childhood but also with its inherent queerness. They see children as embodying a form of androgyny, both physically and mentally before societal norms impose gender roles.

In their project for the "Lovely Autonomy" exhibition, JÜSS explores the concept of identity through the lens of age. They depict various versions of themselves interacting across different timelines, highlighting how different stages of life can offer support and understanding of their own non-binary identity. This project will feature paintings on wood accompanied by text, providing personal reflections and testimonies.

JÜSS’s refusal to be confined to a single medium or identity is a testament to their commitment to artistic and personal growth. "I don’t want to confine myself to one medium," they assert. "Testing and trying new things helps us grow, and if it fails, that's okay. You learn what works for you."

Having recently moved out of their parent’s home, JÜSS is navigating the complexities of adult life while maintaining a strong connection to their inner child. This balance of maturity and childlike curiosity is reflected in their art, which continues to evolve as they do.

courtesy of the artist:

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