Inside the Studio
Jessica Eichman creates intuitive abstract works
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
My paintings are unplanned, so they are very much about showing up and being present. There are recurring themes – the same ones that appear in my daily life – that concern my observations about my surroundings, and how I relate to them. I love abstract work because it is so subjective. People can find their own meaning within someone else’s story. I’m always fascinated to learn what others see in my work, and how they interpret it. If my work allows someone to access his or her own story, then that is a success.
If there is an overarching theme to my work, then it is about letting go; letting go of expectations, rules, desire, control, and fear. This ties into my meditation practice. Each canvas for me is a leap of faith. You have to believe that the simple act of mixing paint and slathering it onto a canvas will eventually turn into something that is meaningful, or something that touches truth.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Be yourself. Trust your artistic voice. Allow yourself to be guided by the process.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Music – always music.
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I absolutely adore Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series. My other favorite artists include Joan Miro, Mark Rothko, Paul Klee, and Helen Frankenthaler. But if I could only have one piece, then I would choose something by my brother, Noah Saterstrom. He made a series of paintings based on photos from our childhood, and they are very meaningful to me.
Who are your favorite writers?
I just finished Anna Karenina. I admire how Tolstoy created realistic characters and dealt with themes that are startlingly relevant to modern life. Another favorite writer is F. Scott Fitzgerald. His beautifully crafted sentences capture so much emotion. Southern writers like Harper Lee and Eudora Welty hold a special place in my heart. There is nothing better than getting lost in a great story.