Jess Gilbert

Noticing Jess Gilbert’s highly proactive use of the space within the Manchester School of Art, we were intrigued to find out more about her practice. Uncertain of what specific discipline her creative works fall under, Jess comments, ‘I’ve learnt that I don’t have to fall into a pre-made category and that I can make my own. So I’ve started calling myself a visual artist, this allows my practice to be as versatile as it is.’

Through her work she highlights the material that makes up our everyday, she believes that it’s just her natural inquisitiveness that drives her to find the humour in the everyday. Jess likes to create visual discussions with those who work and learn in the art school. It is intended to provoke thought and engagement. We have often found simple yet ever so clever pieces of work made by Jess around the building. It is also such an adventure to find where the links lie. Her Instagram feed is full of comical remarks and posts which give a playful approach to everyday situations that often go unrecognised or are brushed off as fairly negative. Jess adds hints of tounge-in-cheek to even the most irritating of happenings.

The space I’m working in really affects my process, with my latest series featuring the Benzie Building a lot. I also think it’s important to use my studio space to document process and inspiration, this allows me to really delve into my work.

Not only does she push the boundaries of interaction between other disciplines and creatives within the institution, but Jess’ sketchbooks are a wonder to look at. Branching out from a typical spread, to a concertina of elaborate visuals that allow her to develop on ideas and push the flow of work to new levels.

Jess wishes to push her work to new environments, allowing her to engage with new audiences. Within her next project, she wants to initiate a collaboration that would allow her to work with both the spoken and the visual. Thinking further into the future, Jess has made decisions on teaching her style of work to the next generation. ‘Inspiring them to believe that they can be whatever they want and that art is really whatever you want it to be.

Fiona Finchett