On June 13 and 14, from noon – 6 pm, InLiquid presents Art for the Cash Poor 16. This year, Go Mad for Art as the three-day event includes all the elements that drive us crazy-in-love with Philadelphia’s creative sector. Over 100 arts vendors will be twisting every medium imaginable into jewelry, photography, printmaking, graphic art, painting, sculpture, and more.
Jesse Lentz‘s sculpture lives in an adorably wacky world of caricatured cats, miniature houses, and glass-jarred trees. AFTCP16 will be the final local event you can find her work, before she goes off to grad school in Minneapolis.
Could you tell me a bit about your arts background?
I started out primarily as a watercolor painter when I entered Bucks County Community College. On my first day of college, I had two sculpture classes with an amazing man, Jon Burns, who has basically taught me everything I know about craft and the importance of art. I studied bronze casting and honed my craft for two years. I transferred to Moore College of Art and Design where they did not have a bronze program, but I was excited to work with other women in the arts and learn new materials. I primarily think of myself as a found object artist.
Do you have any upcoming exhibits or projects?
I have been showing my work in Off the Wall Gallery inside of Dirty Franks. I also have a permanent collection in The Library Company of Philadelphia’s print room; where I participated in their Visual Culture Program. I am about to move out to Minnesota to attend graduate school at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, but my heart will always be in Philadelphia.
Currently, I have a piece in the City Hall Gallery through the end of May which is my biggest venue and crazy important to me! I am working with Jerks Production, a local horror production company, right now doing small shows at Tattooed Moms. And I will have a show in September at Harcum College for their 100 year anniversary which is called Bears and Squares!
You participated in InLiquid’s Benefit in February, during which one of your cat sculptures (starting bid of $20) ended up in a bidding war and selling for over $200. Were you surprised at the frenzy over your piece? (Trivia tidbit: I was one-half of that two person bidding war!)
I honestly can’t believe how much people liked my cats! I was actually at another event that night selling other pieces from that collection and no one bought any! They are also on sale at VIX Emporium, but still not much in the way of sales. And while people always pick them up and say how cute they are and that I must sell tons I just haven’t found the right market. I also don’t think I’m a very good sales person, but I’m trying!
Your artist statement is very much about finding yourself as a person and not just as an artist. Do you think this honesty translates into the away people perceive your sculptures?
I like to think that my honesty translates. I love art more then anything in my life. My heart races and my face gets flush when I talk about art. I throw everything about me into my work. But I am also the first to admit that I can be wicked lazy. Someday I hope to write “The Lazy Girl Guide to Sculpture”. But my work is real and material and lives in its space with presence, even when I’m working in very small scale. I like to think that comes through.
Can you tell me a little about the work you will have for sale at Art for the Cash Poor 16? (More specifically can we expect more cats?)
I am pumped for Art for Cash the Poor! I participated last year and had a blast.People were so nice to me and I found some really great connections. I will be selling some of the same from last year. Resin cast necklaces of miniature houses, my plaster cast “Charcoal Levittown” that sold at the benefit last year. But I can tell you I have lots of cats to sell! As well as other tiny animals. I participated in Philly Fun a Day this January so I made 5 to 10 animals a day for the entirety of January. I also have jarred trees that I hope to sell as well. I have a lot of material pieces that are tactile and I hope people enjoy!
Have you participated previously in AFTCP? If so what was your impression?
AFTCP is going to be my last big event in Philly before I leave for graduate school. Sort of a last hurrah. But I’m so looking forward to it. Inliquid has helped me throughout my entire time in Philadelphia getting my career started. I wouldn’t be the same person or the same artist without the opportunities I was afforded because of the website, as well as the connections I made. Organizations like InLiquid are indispensable to emerging, as well as established artists. I tell everyone I know who is getting into showing in Philly to use the website. It’s where I found my first show ever! And where I found pretty much every show and opportunity I have had for years.