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POW Chats: An In-Depth Talk With Artist and Musician Jessicka Addams


Jessicka Addams is a Los Angeles-based artist and vocalist of riot grrrl band Jack Off Jill whose no-holds-barred ethics is exhibited in her fashion, music and paintings. We recently had the pleasure of collaborating on a wood print with Addams utlizing her painting "Xanax Rainbow." We spoke with the artist to learn more about her process, her passions and everything in between. Get to know the artist, below.

Hey Jessicka. Can you describe what is was like for you growing up in your Florida hometown? 

Usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Florida is sunshine and amusement parks. The juxtaposition of that state is really quite bizarre. The state certainly has its fair share of madness — there’s the Miami cannibal attack of 2012, an alligator being thrown threw a fast food window and the majestic, mind blowing Coral Castle. Growing up there had its challenges, but it made me the person I am today; happily weird. Being an overweight teen goth, dressed in black, dripping with eyeliner and ill-fitting thrift shop boots isn't the worst thing in the world. I think it allowed me to create another universe in my head, one that I still use in my art today. It was not a good look, at least not for me. I definitely had some fun in Florida but I always knew that someway, somehow it would not be my permanent home.

What ideas or themes do you find yourself consistently revisiting in your work, if any?
My work explores issues of identity, vulnerability and loss of innocence while maintaining an element of absurdity, thus lightening the heaviness of the sculptures and paintings. Inspirations include Goth culture, religious iconography, the Easter Bunny, cats, decapitations, sea creatures, rainbows and all things John Waters.

Can you describe what your current work or studio space is like?
Right now it is a bit of a mess. I actually work in a round room that's located in the ground floor of my home. It's currently under construction. I have plenty of ideas for it, but right now it is in need of a good cleaning and a bathroom remodel as the filthy shower resides in the closet. I bet that paints a grim picture, but by this time next year, I am hoping it will be glorious.

Who are you aside from being an artist? What are the other adjectives or descriptive words that make up your character?
Eccentric, eclectic, self deprecating, cat lady, dictionarian, humanist, weirdo, feminist, witch, wife, riot goth, friend and survivor.

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What artists do you find yourself to be inspired by in this era of your life?

There's just way too many to list. I was lucky enough to attend Camille Rose Garcia's newest series of gothic-psychedelic nature paintings, titled “Phantasmacabre" at the Corey Helford Gallery and it was mind blowing; that woman is a force of nature.

As the frontwoman of a riot grrrl band, what would you say to young girls who may be feeling insecurities, particularly about their bodies and beauty? 

We only have so much control over our genetics, let's not spend our lives hating what we don't have or trying to lose what we do. Self-loathing only makes things more difficult. Try and take up as much space in the world as you can, because there are too many assholes who will if you don't. Support each other by supporting yourself. Remember what you see in magazines is not the norm, the standard or the prerequisite for beauty. What you see in the mirror is beautiful. Don't let anybody make you feel less than because they feel you don't fit a certain archetype. Who decides what is beautiful these days? In my humble opinion not magazines, stogy politicians or Internt trolls. Block out the noise and be the best version of yourself.

Everyone has personal insecurities I know I sure do and everyday it's an uphill battle to do my best to practice what I preach. I've definitely been guilty of having cocaine confidence and then the next day hate what I see in the mirror. Ask yourself: "What is the source of my self hatred?" If you think the source of the so-called flaws you see are based in prejudice then recognize that and don't give it credit it doesn't deserve.

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What individuals -- who are not artists -- are you inspired by in this era of your life?

I love John Waters.

Strange question, but do you dream? If so, do you remember any of your recent ones or any reoccurring dreams by chance?

I do dream often. I have been plagued by what some might consider nightmares, mostly stress related. The last really interesting dream I had was about a group of people who broke into our house only because they needs to use our toilets and iPhone chargers. I dream about my cat who passed away a lot. He's always chasing something or somebody that I can never see before I wake up.
Jessicka Addams (4)

What work/ creative projects do you have coming up that you're looking forward to in the coming months?

I just finished a panel and signing with some truly inspiring brave women who contributed to the zine I helped create with my friend Carrie Tucker called AFTER GRRRL at The Last Book Store in Downtown Los Angles. It was one of the most fulfilling nights of my life. A room full of love and healing. I'll be participating and helping curate with M Modern Gallery, "Crime on Canvas" group art exhibition in Las Vegas, September 23- 25. Some truly incredible artists are in the lineup, too many to list!!! I'll be more involved in GRLCVLT events. I'll also be doing an art collaboration with my friend Damien Echols in October. I'll also be adding new items to www.houseofaddams.com before the holiday season.

What projects and plans, completely aside from work obligations, are you looking forward to in the coming months?

I look forward to finishing the repairs on my studio and my home. I'd like to do some traveling outside the US and I'd like to see my 92 year grandma Josephine as soon as I can. She is my strength.