WWJD? BROWN FOR ARTIST (COLLECT #5)

Jennifer Young, Gallery Assistant, Yellow Peril Gallery

Dusk is located near Federal Hill in Olneyville, around the corner from the Steel Yard and next door to Ajay Land, one of Providence’s raw mills used for artist studios. On Tuesday nights, Dusk is the Campaign Headquarters for the Providence Art Campaign, spearheaded by Tom West. The venue is a dynamic place to gather at the wrap around bar and talk to friends (or strangers) and hear about plans and ambitions in Providence’s art and small business community. The space showcases works from local artists, including jewelry designers, videographers and DJs.

BROWN for Artist

The vision of the Providence Artist 2012 Campaign is for artists to compete, debate, and smear campaign against one another to be elected Artist by the people of Providence.

“Their approach will mimic that of the average campaigning politician, but focusing on creativity, ingenuity and a dose of subversion,” declares Tom.

It is a satirical game of shameless self-promotion and a clever way to stimulate our Creative Capitol and bring our artists out of hiding.

In each subsequent issue of COLLECT, we will update you on the whereabouts of debate events as well as feature one of the Artists-in-running. This month we will hear the ideals and values of Jess Brown, a woman of many trades and talents. You can view her work at jessbrowndesign.com.

What is your campaign slogan, and why should we care?

WWJD? What would Jess Do? I picked that as a play off of the popular 90s saying “What would Jesus Do?” Not to compare myself with the one who could walk on water, but it just seemed right. Since through this campaign, we trying to make change and bring awareness, every time my constituents hear about an issue happening in the city, I want them to ask, “What would Jess Do?” Just know that I would do it better. Plus, I can buy a lot of the bracelets wholesale on the cheap and use them for campaign SWAG.

What bothers you about the Providence Art scene, and why did you choose to live and make art here?

I think the lack of an art scene and the lack of support for the city itself is what pisses me off.

When I talk to artists and designers here, we have some really awesome and sound ideas about how to make this place run better, but it always seems to fall on deaf ears. They’ll give 78 f-ing million dollars to a rich douche who doesn’t even live here, but won’t support us (I’m not talking about you, RISCA).

Instead, they could have taken a chance on the people who live here and are actually invested in this town by giving out at least 1,000 micro loans of $78,000 for that same amount of money. Seriously. But they don’t think that way, now do they.

“Why do I live here and make art here? I got stuck here after school and haven’t left yet. I’m just now starting to come on the scene and make some art. Watch out y’all.”

What inspires you to make art?

Mostly the need to work out my angst in a nondestructive way. Also, the movement and pulse of the city heavily influence my work.

Seeing the rad stuff that flows out of places like the Steel Yard, RISD, and AS220 makes me want to stay on my toes. Or maybe it’s my desire to be a part of the “cool kids.”

If you were rich and powerful like Bill Gates or Oprah, what single thing would change about The Creative Capitol?

Shit, we don’t have enough paper or time. I’d either change the name “The Creative Capitol” (since I feel insulted every time I hear it) or really throw my money behind trying to make us live up to the name.

I’d like to get rid of all the politicians who waste my time and money and get a fresh start- one’s that would move us into this century.

I’d subsidize housing for recent grads and folks starting out, especially if they are trying to start business or really effect change in the city.

We lose way too many brilliant minds because of the lack of opportunity.

I’d make parking cheaper, and turn a lot of the pave areas into food truck courts. I (heart) delicious cheap cuisine.

Providence – I mean Brownvidence – would look clean and poppy, like Austin or Montreal.

Any artist with the “guts” to stand our and make some noise, feel free to contact westforartist@gmail.com.  This article by Jennifer Young originally appeared in COLLECT #5.  You can read the magazine online »