Jessalyn Brooks

 

I came across Jesse on Instagram some time ago, and was so taken aback by her art! She invited me into her beautiful, light-filled loft in downtown where I was greeted by her playful warmth and 2 excited dogs. We went onto the roof and I took some videos of her dancing with the sun which was so ethereal and I will share them another day! 

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What do ya do?

Hi! I’m Jess. I paint. I sing jazz. I live in LA and ran a vintage clothing shop here for about 6 years. I like to dance, ride my bike and hang out in the sun with my pals (with spf, of course ;)



When did you know you wanted to pursue what you are doing?

It all sort of happened unexpectedly. I just started doodling one day and it sort of snowballed into a painting career. Whatever, I’m riding the wave.



What might you be doing if you hadn’t pursued this?

Well, I used to aspire to write music. I still do to some extent. That’s a whole thing. Ack. Maybe soon I’ll release some music. I’ve been sitting on it for years. It’s funny when you step outside of one passion and into another. All your hangups and insecurities sort of chill out.



Best advice you’ve received?

One time I was singing in a bar called Bert’s in Detroit. This place is so Detroit haha. I’m talking men in bright suits and hats and ladies in sequins. Really good friend chicken. Old school Detroit jazz scene. Anyways, this random guy cornered me once and said “you better get it, ‘cause no one is gonna give it to ya”. He might have been telling me I stunk haha I’m still not sure what he intention was, but it stuck with me. I never expect or ask for anything. I just work through it all till I make a noise- till something jumps out and I know it’s right.



When do you feel the most inspired / creative?

I feel most creative in the morning after a good night’s sleep. A clear mind.

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What is something most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know I’m still sort of a beginner. There was a big stretch of time, like 15 years, that I didn’t touch a brush. I painted in high school and my first year of college, then nada. So for anyone tinkering with the idea of getting back into something you were once passionate about, lemme be your inspiration. Do it. Do it now and don’t stop.

 

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m both introverted and extroverted depending on the situation. I’ve been known to hide in my loft for weeks and not come out. Other times I’m out 6 nights a week. I’m a god damn emotional yo-yo.

 

What's the strangest first date you've ever been on?

Honestly I haven’t been on that many dates! None of them seemed that weird. I have other weird stories, but there wasn’t any dinner, so I wouldn’t call them dates



If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or not) who would it be, and why?

I’d love to have dinner with Jon Stewart because I love him. That’s all.

 

Book everyone should read:

I wish I were a more avid reader. My fiancé reads two books a week. You should see our library, it’s literally a huge wall of books. I’m more into nonfiction/social science stuff. Anything Malcolm Gladwell, I guess. Haha I know, so basic. 

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Film everyone should see:

I just rewatched A Chorus Line the other day. I forgot how good that movie is! I cut my hair like one of the girls the next day. Really into that aesthetic rn ;)



Some painters you admire:

I mean, hard to only list a few. Okay: Francis Picabia, Paul Klee, Le Corbusier, Helen Frankenthaler, Picasso, and Braque.

 

Top 5 favorite albums. Go!

  1. Janet Jackson, The Velvet Rope
  2. Ellington & John Coltrane
  3. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderly (I like duet records, I guess)
  4. Joni Mitchell, Mingus
  5. Vince Guaraldi, Days of Wine and Roses
     

What kinds of restaurants do you enjoy going to? What do you usually order?

I like going to soup places. I love soup. Korean Cabbage soup. I’m really weird about my soup.
 


Favorite snacks?

My favorite snacks are Cheez-Its. It’s Game over for me if there’s a box of those things in the room.



Favorite beverages:

My favorite drink? Other than water, maybe V8. Not really a sweet drink person.

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Are there any foods you dislike?

I don’t dislike much food! I’m not crazy about fruity sweet things so like, I’ll pass on gummy candy stuff. Oh, I guess I don’t care for melons of any kind. Haha I like this questions.

 

Are you good at impressions? If so, who can you do?

I’m probably not good at impressions. I’ve never really tried!



Where do you like to shop?

I shop at the goodwill. Straight up haven’t been in a retail store in years.

 

Who / what do you think you were in a past life?

I was probably a peasant in my past life, if that exists. I probably carried water back to some Polish village somewhere. Ha. My cousins on my mom’s side said we come from some sort of witchcraft lineage. They could be making that up. I don’t know much about it.


Guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasure is going to rag houses and digging for hours. I love buried treasure.

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Do you like to cook? If so, what are some of your favorite things to make?

Yeah I like to cook! I used to bake a lot. Not so much anymore since I’m avoiding sugar. I make a good sauce. My Sicilian grandmother has a good recipe she shared with me. I also do this thing 5 nights a week called “jess dinners” where I cut up and bunch of vegetables, a can of beans and whatever herbs, throw it in this awesome vintage roasting pot, shake it up and roast it for 30 mins. Haha it’s a Jess Dinner!

 

What does your ideal day look like?

An ideal day is me waking up at 7, having my coffee, painting till 5, going to yoga or barre, coming home, going out with my friends. Luckily I do that most days!

 

Where are your happy places? Real or imaginary

My happy place is the goodwill. I keep talking about the goodwill.

 

Film you can watch over and over again?

I can watch Singin in the Rain over and over again. And I have.

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The last funny or interesting dream you remember having?

Dreams. I dunno, none of them ever make sense. They’re normally just a quilt of thoughts I have throughout the day all patched into one narrative.
 

What’s your love language?

My love language. Probably movement. Passion. It’s hard to define.



Do you believe in soulmates?

I’m not sure if I believe in soulmates. I like the idea of it, but I’m a skeptic. I know that some of us are more conscious than others. Some of us feel things more than others, and in that regard, we may recognize that and feel closer to someone.


What has been a force or drive of inspiration in your life?

The driving force in my life is authenticity. I like to connect with thoughts, movements, ideas, aesthetics all the way down to the bottom. Truth, fairness, reasoning: All very important in my decision making.

 

Are you messy or neat?

I’m ideally neat. I strive to be neat. In reality, I'm normally overwhelmed and kinda messy. Messy Jessie was my nickname growing up  I did not like that.
 


Do you have any irrational fears?

I have quite a few irrational fears. More like paranoias. Flying is pretty crippling for me. Fire is another one. I’m always paranoid that my place is burning down while I’m not there. Lol these are weird.


Are you a morning or night person?

Morning person

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Do you think everything happens for a reason?

I mean sure, maybe not in some master-plan, clandestine way, but certainly, timing is everything. Everything adds up to the present.
 

Something you’d like to learn:

French and Italian


Pet peeves:

Trends. Wastefulness.
 

Do you get nervous / anxious / stage fright? If so, how do you deal with it?

Stage fright. I do. Some say it’s part of my “charm” Ha! Great! I certainly get nervous whenever there’s a camera around. I don’t think that’s as charming however 


Any creative rituals?

Coffee.


Advice to younger self:

Don’t let the boys make you feel small. Don’t let the boys make you feel small. Don’t let the boys make you feel small.

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Anything you’d like to plug?

The Sight Unseen Offsite exhibition In NYC for Design Week :)



Where can people find you / see your work?

@JessalynBrooks

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