Jessi Dearborn is a shadowbox artist who grew up in Vermont with a love of picture books and art. This passion led to pursuing a degree in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating from RISD in 2011, Jessi moved to Nantucket where she enjoys sculpting, painting, collaging, and looking at picture books.
My work inhabits the world somewhere between 2-D and 3-D in layers built upon a substrate to create a tangible depth. It is inspired by the delight I find in nature, textures, and stories. My process involves creating separate handmade elements to incorporate into an assembled relief. Collage elements are often created by hand-painting sheets of watercolor paper with textures or patterns influenced by nature or everyday life, which are then used as stock paper to cut and apply to various works. This part of the process lends itself to freedom in exploration of color and the discovery of happy accidents without the pressure of making a finished piece. Sculptural segments are typically shaped out of Paperclay, which are then sanded and painted to create tactile details. While I begin each relief with a sketch and vision in mind, the nature of these works allows room for joyful experiment and play while arranging all of these elements into layers before fully committing to a final composition.