Australian artist Jessica Watts celebrates all things feminine in her series of colorful paintings. She uses a distinct collage style to fuse depictions of the female figure with vibrant blooms, botanical wallpaper designs, and scenes from nature.
Before she became a painter, Watts worked as an advertising art director in Sydney and New York for nearly 20 years. During this time, she collected an array of paraphernalia with exquisite design, including vintage rubber stamps, wallpaper, and typography manuals. Later, when Watts decided to make painting her full-time career, she used her memorabilia as the inspiration for her first creative series.
“My paintings investigate gender clichés and focus on the positive and the beautiful,” Watts tells My Modern Met. “My collection of 1940s wallpaper was the inspiration for my series, Wallflower, a large group of works that depict the female body immersed in both nature and a common household decoration—wallpaper,” she continues. “Both of these themes speak to the feminine, in a beautiful and powerful way.” Her other series, In the Raw, features the same flower-female-portrait mash-ups painted in oil and acrylic on hand-made Australian hardwood timber with custom frames.
Not only does Watts celebrate feminine expression in her work, but she also gives it a power that it does not normally have. “Whereas the traditional idea of a wallflower is a shy girl waiting to be chosen, these women are center stage; they are self-possessed, confident, and strong,” she explains. “I play with pattern and brightly colored blooms and birds to accentuate the connection with nature. Similarly, by cloaking the figures in flowers, I strive to capture them in a way that shows that beauty is more about the hidden than the revealed.”