Jessica b Watson

Exploring the themes of identity and environment.

'Somewhere between a pencil and a fine needle lies the mediative and cathartic process of art making...'

Conversations are fundamental to my art-making. I am interested in the stimulus and symbolic meaning of colour and pattern and use them within my drawing, printmaking and textile-based artworks to explore the idea of identity and environment –whether it be a person, culture or place. I am also intrigued by the idea of the ‘double-take’, drawing in the viewer to explore more nuanced subtexts. The preoccupation with identity emerged and developed while I was living in Sweden between 1996 and 2011 – initially as a foreigner and then as a naturalized Swede.

Jessica b Watson is Australian-by-birth and Swedish-by-choice and is presently based in Sydney, Australia. Her work is held in public and private collections in Australia, Sweden, Malaysia and the UK.



Weekend of 15th & 16th December 2018

Daily 10am - 4pm 

Studio in Avalon Beach, NSW

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Grants & Awards

Jessica has been the recipient of The Gothenburg City Arts' Grant for her contribution to the Arts in Gothenburg, Sweden as well as a one year Working Artists Grant from the National Swedish Arts Committee. Her Artistic journeys have been subsidized by a number of  travel grants and scholarships.

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Artworks for sale

Artworks can be purchased by contacting me via email or telephone.

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Artist residencies

Read about my Eramboo exploration, Malaysian journey, Rio de Janeiro adventures and Snowy Mountain meditations...

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Featured Works

Sketches from Rio

The series Sketches from Rio is an unusual tribute to the hawkers of Rio de Janeiro’s beaches; textile art and the ‘Fine Art’ technique of en plein air (in the open air) sketching. I created 31 stitched artworks after being captivated by the hawkers who, with panache and perseverance walk the beaches selling their produce and wares to sunbathing Cariocas (locals) and tourists. I was particularly fascinated by the physical details of the hawkers and their interactions –or lack thereof- with beach goers. What appear at first glance to be seemingly quickly executed sketches are in fact laboriously stitched artworks. I deliberately chose to make the works look like sketches -something we generally create and peruse briefly (like we look at hawkers, uniformed workers or the homeless). I wanted the viewer to glance, then to take a deeper look at the artwork and ask themselves, is that merely a sketch or is there much more ‘work’ to this work? Just as when we meet another person –does their identity lie solely on the surface, defined by what they ‘do’ or is there more to them.

From Left to Right:
Watermelon man, 2008, 40x30cm, Silk and cotton stitching on hemp, Framed with light timber (think Scandinavian Birch), $625

Pineapple man, 2008, 40x30cm, Silk and cotton stitching on hemp, Framed with light timber (think Scandinavian Birch), $625

Fairy floss Dreams, 2008, 40x30cm, Silk and cotton stitching on hemp, Framed with light timber (think Scandinavian Birch), $625

Embroidered sketches
Embroidered sketches Embroidered sketches

See Oh Too

As global warming radically changes our planet we are facing an over production of CO2, a gas found naturally on our planet, and a vital part of the eco system as a whole. Our problem is now the over production of the gas, oceans are absorbing more co2 than they can tolerate and they are slowly acidifying.

The artwork, Sea Oh too, reflects on this problem and how we as individuals, communities, councils, states, countries, continents and planet are addressing the problem (or not).

During three days I will be cutting up atlases and books, specifically I will be cutting out fish shapes which I will then weave into a sculptural loom.

Books and fish are both symbolically charged – biblically, scientifically, West and East.

Fish represent food, nourishment and faith in Christianity. Their health is a reflection of the water in which they live. Books are knowledge and must be preserved and cherished -never leave books on the floor where someone could step on them, never put a cup or glass on a book, no books at the dinner/breakfast table, turn the pages from the corner -not close to the spine.

And never cut out a picture from a book.

So many rules on how to look after a book, yet we totally disrespect our greatest asset, nature.



Dreams & demons

Dreams & demons

– An Interactive Installation

“Dreams & demons is an invitation for the community to share its dreams and demons, hopes and fears. This interactive installation is a platform where dreams can be revealed to inspire others; a platform where demons can be voiced and released.” –Jessica b Watson

Dreams & demons is my first interactive artwork in Australia and I am inviting you to participate. Each dream or demon will remain anonymous and be hand embroidered onto strips of fabric. The artwork will develop as each strip of embroidered text is ceremoniously woven into the artwork.

I have chosen the inaugural Avalon Art Carnival to instigate this project as it is the place where I grew up. After 15 years based in Gothenburg, Sweden I returned to Avalon four years ago and found the return to be challenging -stirring up a multitude of thoughts, demons and forgotten dreams. Through conversations with friends, family and strangers I have found I am not alone in the thoughts of what has been, what is to come, and what is truly important on the grand scale of life - thus Dreams & demons emerged.