March 22nd, 2017
Jesse Gussow

Social media has given so many people access to so many artists, and vise versa. I’m glad because it makes finding artists a lot simpler. Jen Lightfoot is an artist whose work we featured on our Instagram page. I was drawn to the clean line-work of her pieces as well as the fantastic use of colour to enhance them as a whole, and the beauty of her characters. They look sexy and beautiful and yet are grotesque at the same time. It’s very much like a David Lynch film where everything appears beautiful but if you look at the details, nothing is as it seems.


Where are you from?

I grew up in New Jersey, lived in Philadelphia for about 11 years, and am now living in Upstate New York.



How did you get started on your artistic journey?

My love of drawing began when I was maybe 4 or 5. I would visit my Nana's house often and make paper dolls with her. She taught me how to draw people and how to make little paper outfits for them. I loved it! It was my first introduction to art and is one of my fondest childhood memories.



If you weren't an artist what would you be doing?

Probably singing! I love performing live, singing, and writing music. I used to perform as an acoustic singer-songwriter for many years in my early 20's and was even in a few punk and metal bands, including the Philadelphia thrash metal group Bitchslicer in which I played bass.



What shitty jobs have you had in the past?

Omg, so many! Where do I even begin! I would say the worst two were a customer service call center agent and a receptionist for a law office. The receptionist one doesn't sound like it would be bad, but trust me it was so weird! My boss was crazy. I think the office may have even closed a couple months after I stopped working there. It was super sketchy!



How would you describe your work?

I would describe my work as a surreal fantasy gone terribly wrong! The colors I tend to use imply a sort of peaceful, ethereal atmosphere and feeling… but the setting and narrative is usually disturbing and horrific. Though I do think that the women I draw often enjoy they pain they are enduring!



What messages does your work convey?

My work explores women's sexuality and our darkest desires through images depicting physical pain, bondage, and gore. I want to challenge people's perceptions about what is beautiful, what is pleasurable, and what is fantasy.



Star Trek or Star Wars? Or are you a weird Dune or Battlestar Galactica fan?

Hmmm… I would actually say that it would be X-Files for me! I could never get into Star Wars or Star Trek. The "Monster of the Week" X-File episodes were my favorites! I like my Sci-Fi to be a bit of a mystery, have horror influences, or feel dystopian.



How have you improved as an artist over time? What do you want to improve even further on?

Growing up I struggled to draw the face. It's something that did not come naturally to me and I've practiced it a lot. Now drawing faces is my favorite part of creating a piece! I've recently started incorporating color into my work and would love to explore and refine that further.



Do you listen to music while painting? If so, what do you typically listen to?

Yes! Music is such a huge part of my art making process. I love playing music when drawing. Some of my favorite musicians to listen to while working in the studio are Type O' Negative, Tori Amos, Veruca Salt, L7, Lacuna Coil, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Switchblade Symphony, The Sisters of Mercy, Rasputina, Lunachicks, and Garbage.



Who is your biggest influence?

My biggest influence would probably be the movie director David Lynch. I'm intrigued by the way he juxtaposes the every day mundane with feeling unsettled, uncomfortable, or frightened.



What do you think the job of an artist is in today's society?

I don't think there is one job necessarily. With my work, I want to tell a story and to create a sense of uncertainty and fear in the viewer. I want them to be intrigued by the grotesque narrative, but walk away with a million questions about who they are and what their desires might be.



What can we expect from you in the future?

Lots more creepy drawings of naked ladies! I do have a book coming out within the next couple of months. "Little Nightmares" will be the first book of my artwork. I'm super excited about it!



Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies? or some other taboo treat?

Oh, I do love Oreos… but my total guilty pleasure would be a huge bag of chips and French onion dip!

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