On the Couch with Jessica Wilson

Jessica-Wilson-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Jessica Wilson?
I am an independent artist based in Naarm / Melbourne. Born on a vast cattle station in Queensland, I have always forged my own path. I love new ideas that involve places, people and art.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
One of the joys of my work is that I have moved a lot and have been able to make friends with wonderful people all over the world. The downside to this is that I don’t live in close proximity to the people that are dear to me. I’d like to walk to the shop and wave to all my friends on the way!

Who inspires you and why?
My 13 year-old daughter who is so grounded and kind, and who celebrates all weirdness – even mine.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Plant more trees. I once calculated the amount of C02 that all my jet travel has produced and was horrified. It was many many tonnes just for my single seat on those flights. Then I worked out how many trees would be a proper off-set and it was in the many thousands – it was a small forest! I think the least I can do to be a good human, is clean up my own mess and often attend local planting sessions down on the Yarra, but need to do more.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love a road trip. As a small family, we are at our best when we make an obscure detour and find ourselves in the most unusual situations. Our last big holiday was in Portugal, and my best memories are of the people we met and places we found that would never have happened if we had booked ahead.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Parts of the Yarra / Birrarung around Heidelberg really feel like being in the bush. It’s great for a bike ride or a walk and when international folks come to visit I take them to see the kangaroos down there. I also love the Northcote strip including the music venues there.

What are you currently reading?
I found Anna Funder’s All That I Am on a book-share shelf and am re-reading it. I love novels that draw you into a relationship with complex characters, whom you find yourself missing once the book is done.

What are you currently listening to?
Archie Roach because I have so much admiration for who he was as an artist and a human. And in contrast, my daughter’s fem-rock favs which are usually playing in our house – A Woman’s World by Little Mix and Boys Will Be Boy’ by Duo Lupa.

Happiness is?
A picnic with close friends in the sunshine, with delicious food and white wine.

What does the future hold for you?
I never look too far ahead (I guess that’s how I have managed to ride a long career as an artist). However, in 2023 I am excited to keep experimenting with digital tools to reach bigger and broader audiences and collaborate with artists across continents. I am working on projects next year in Brazil, Scotland and Ireland.

Jessica is the Lead Artist for Child Nation – a collection of fun and subversive digital journeys at Abbotsford Convent on-demand for the whole month of January 2023. Jessica is also the Producer and Director of The Wayfinders – which will be presented at Abbotsford Convent: 24 – 26 February 2023.

For more information about Jessica’s work, visit: www.jessicawilson.com.au for details.

Image: Jessica Wilson – photo by Olive Michailidis