Jess Johnson interview

Behind the scenes

After the installation of Jess Johnson's latest exhibition Wurm Whorl Narthex at 209 Tuam Street, Justin Paton caught up with Jess for a talk about her practice, the exhibition, Hell, and where she's off to next.

Wurm Whorl Narthex and Camp Blood can be seen at 209 Tuam Street until 23 June 2013.


Jess Johnson: Wurm Whorl Narthex

Jess Johnson: Wurm Whorl Narthex

New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist Jess Johnson makes intricate drawings and painted environments that evoke other worlds and parallel realities.

Boston Visionary Cell
Jess Johnson Boston Visionary Cell

“I’ve drawn for as long as I remember”, says Jess Johnson, a New Zealand artist now living in New York, whose work blends science fiction, popular culture and technology, creating speculative worlds in architectural settings. “Elements of my drawings now aren’t very different from what I drew as a kid. I always used lots of repetitive pattern and I would just work the page until I’d filled it to the edges. There’s something about the labour involved in drawing that suits my psychology. It means I get to spend long hours in the studio thinking my own thoughts.”“What comes out of my drawings is a result of what I put in. The books that I read. The things that scare me”, she says. “To be able to imagine different possibilities, that’s the first step to being able to change your own reality. To be able to imagine a different one.”

(We do this, 12 May 2018 - 26 May 2019)