Artist Spotlight: Jessica Thornton Murphy

HAND“I used to scribble in magazines with crayons then sniff them, violently shake my hands through the pages [to] hear them rustle, and [then] get really excited when I was about three.”

      And thus begun the career of San Diego based artist Jessica Thronton Murphy…but in all seriousness, Murphy is a truly talented local artist who works within multiple mediums, most recently collage [or what she prefers to call rearticulated landscapes]. Her current work involves a process that many would consider borderline compulsive, but that’s what makes it so fantastic.

Each “rearticulated landscape” is composed entirely of inch long oval paper pieces cut out of magazines. These pieces are then layered together on top of canvas, creating works ranging from small to large. Murphy began this series after her father died as a way to repurpose his collection of Surfer magazines. Each piece is cut from a photo that featured a landscape, hence the title of the series.

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     When asked about the purpose behind this series, Murphy stated:

“With my collages I’m more interested in the relationship between two pieces that I’m laying down…in the transition of color, shape, texture, pattern and the spaces in between spaces in between spaces.”


     Murphy’s process behind the landscapes makes a lot of sense considering her training at NYU focused on conceptual art. In another similar landscape themed series titled “Wish You Were Here,” Murphy took vintage postcards and through hand stitching covered certain parts of the photo with thread and stitched facts or commentary about the postcard’s location into the card.

“I was thinking a lot about the idea of a postcard and sending somebody…this image that is supposed to represent [a] nostalgic period of time. Why do people pick that picture? Why are you gonna send someone a dumb picture of a cactus that says “Arizona” with a rainbow in the background? That’s not what Arizona is like…”

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      Self-labeled as a “reluctant human,” Murphy is more unassuming than overt and prefers to stay back, letting her pieces evoke personal responses in the viewer. Although she usually has an idea behind a specific piece or series, she’ stated:

“Art should be provoking. It should pull something out of the viewer. I like the idea that I could make something that could make people think, even if it’s just for a second.”

COUCH When asked about how she hopes to promote her work and gain viability she coolly responded: “Maybe if I sounded like a pretentious asshole more people would look at my stuff. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in the art world? …. But ultimately, I just want people to be inspired by my work … If I could [create things that lead to that every day,] that’s success to me.

   I have no doubt that Murphy will enjoy increasing visibility and success, without having to become an asshole. So come out and support her work. You’ll be inspired and the art world will retain at least a small portion of humility.Photo 2_600

Want to See Jessica’s Work in Person?

Come to the Blick’s Pop Up Art Show!

This Sunday (20 Oct 2013)


Blick in Little Italy

1844 India St.






7 responses to “Artist Spotlight: Jessica Thornton Murphy

  1. Very impressive. There is so much talent in this world it is mind -boggling! Quite a site you have here Kevin. Thanks for finding my blog and letting me know you were there. It allowed me to see what you are up to. Off to nose around some more. Cheers!


  2. Great post! A very well written post about a super talented artist! I’ll check the links for information about future shows! Thank you for sharing your awesome post!


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