It’s no secret that Newcastle is a hyper-creative community: take a walk around our own Darby Street from our eagle’s nest at the Newcastle Art Gallery to the public art installations along the street (including the giant headphone sculpture), all the way to the Community Garden across the road from Villager Property A scene full of painting and design.
Villager caught up with local artist Jess Kellar to talk all things Newcastle art scene.
Jess runs Jess Kellar Art from studio 754 in Hunter Street. A large warehouse where a community of Newcastle creatives can each work their respective magic.
“The best thing about our studio,” says Jess, “is the view from the rooftop, where I am most of the time, working on my latest projects.”
Local girl Jess has always had a passion for creating and feels lucky to be a Novocastrian where such a passion could be nurtured.
She has had shows at Cooks Hill Gallery, exhibited at Lane Cove Gallery, The Royal, Muswellbrook Art Prize and recently performed and collaborated with Hannah Bertram at Newcastle Art Gallery for the 2016 Dust Project.
“Newcastle is a vibrant community for artists,” Jess tells us. “There are a lot of creatives here: from musicians to designers, architects and artists. We are all in a very supportive and understanding space where we all just give it a go.”
Through writing for the Newcastle Herald, Jess has been able to work closely with many musicians in Newcastle. She is also the resident “live artist” for Groovin’ The Moo.
Jess has worked with Arts Health for MS patients holding workshops and has also branched into “bio-art”, spending time with scientists at HMRI and producing collections from this experience which hung in the hallways of John Hunter Hospital.
Jess’s style is high energy. When painting she uses strong rich colour and high contrast. In her sketches of Newcastle, the deep charcoals contrast with pure whites.
“Neutral isn’t my specialty,” she laughs.
While already quite accomplished, Jess is finishing her Bachelor of Fine Art at Newcastle University and was recently the recipient of the 2016 William Fletcher Foundation Scholarship.
And in the true spirit of a Villager in our community she pays this forward by mentoring High School students in many of Newcastle’s public schools.
“There are no guarantees with art, life, business. None. But that consistently pushes me to get to the next step.”
The next step for Jess, working from her studio at 754, is to follow her passion in sketching and interpreting the city of Newcastle. The Rooftop Series is a timely project for the city and we are super excited to see the completed works.
To learn more about living in the creative community of Newcastle – contact Villager Property