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Artist Spotlight: Jess Nash

Jess Nash is an illustrator, lecturer and freelance workshop facilitator based in London whose work focuses on moments of relatability, connection and joy

Jess Nash is an illustrator, lecturer and freelance workshop facilitator based in London whose work focuses on moments of relatability, connection and joy.

How has your lived experience shaped your practice?
I’ve always been really interested in history, and when I went to uni I began to realise that actually I was more interested in other cultures. Coming from a Ghanaian / British heritage, I always want to make sure that I can celebrate as many cultures as I can when I draw.

What are some of your biggest influences and motivations in your work? What issues are you passionate about working on?
I think biggest influences in my work is the artist Jacob Lawrence, my work isn’t in any way like his (unfortunately) but the way he draws us into his paintings gets me in the chest every time. I love making work about social concerns, it sounds dry but I really love taking a difficult subject matter and turning it into something fun to uncover for the audience.

Can you tell us more about your focus on scenes of community? 
What I always want in my work is for people to feel like they connect with it in some way, no matter what the work is- that’s always the core aim. So for me, building a world when I create an illustration has always been about drawing people interacting with each other and I realise now that it’s actually a subconscious thing that I do to draw communities. I think for me celebrating people coming together, or just drawing people together is a big part of illustrating difficult or complex briefs.

Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you? 
I’m based just outside of London and so my creative community I’ve found to be at one of my jobs in the FE staff room. Because we’re all illustrators as well as teachers, in that staff room we’re always celebrating each other’s work, pushing each other to do that idea that we talked about last week and in general we’re just learning lot from looking at each other’s work which I think is really healthy- it’s like a little lunch break studio.

See more of Jess’s work HERE

My fantasies are clouding my judgement What is going on in Sudan? How the British Museum’s partnership with BP has shown the world its allegiance to imperialism at any cost Motherhood and activism: the perfect pair for change Hyper: Navigating the complexities of Kurdishness and capitalism Lessons on shame and vulnerability What is seed sovereignty? I don’t want to be a Taylor Swift fan anymore Who is the Fat Girl Best Friend? What is circularity?