JESSICA DZIELINSKI
         
DOOM PAISLEY
THIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEARTHIS WILL BE OUR YEAR
GLURGE PAINTINGS
I once had a professor who would always say that the worst thing a painting could be was sentimental. He told us that our paintings of gardens and dolphins and people holding hands were a result othe distressing reality that until that moment, our scope of aesthetic viewership had been limited mostly to the designs on our pencil cases, self-help memes, blockbuster movies, music videos, and the mass-produced wall art featuring religious scenes, Jazz cafes, and ballet dancers that had hung in our childhood homes. ”From now on, such subjects should be avoided like the plague” he declared. We imbibed his words as we mixed our paints and chemicals uneasily.
Thinking back, all of my earliest drawings—made as a young child—were violent, scraggly, and unhinged. It wasn’t until I grew a bit older that my inward, primal fog began to shift into a slightly more coherent view of the concrete imagery and objects around me, which my drawings began to take on the characteristics of. I drew words and catchphrases, animals, angels, buildings, flowers, cars, crosses, swirls, hearts, food, and cartoon characters. The more skill I demonstrated, the more praise I seemed to receive from others. My relationship to making art would become progressively Pavlovian and goal-oriented as the years went on. Yet when I began to recognize that I was a sexual being, I seemed to revert to an earlier mode of consciousness and began to draw figures licking each other, melting together, or getting tangled up in each other’s limbs. I kept those a secret, hiding them or throwing them away out of fear of reproach. **All of these drawings had been produced in a scorched desert city which had been under the subjugation of a neo-fascist cowboy sheriff since 1993- the year of my birth. **

Childhood flowed into early adulthood, which was spent working an endless stream of disposable industry service jobs, taking drugs, making bad paintings, and learning how to time travel. Eventually, I decided to go to art school- after years of saying I would not. This is when I met the aforementioned professor, who insisted that it was the nature of lazy and provincial attitudes towards art and aesthetics that allowed political terror to reign. I began to combine my political ideals with under-developed art techniques to make earnest, yet misguided attempts at protest art (works he would refer to as “druggy Social Realism”). He recited Clement Greenberg to me and blew cigarette smoke into my face while I painted and cried slowly. On one occasion, I stated my belief that Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings were a “footnote to his newspaper cartoons”, which resulted in me being banished to the supply closet for the remainder of class so I could “think about the repercussions of my insolent words”. The professor eventually compiled a list of painting tropes that should be avoided, and carved them into a slab of wet stone that he erected in front of the flammable storage cabinet

SUNSETS, CLOUDS, THE MOON, RAINBOWS, RAIN, SNOW, BEACHES, WINDING ROADS, TRAIN TRACKS, CASTLES, CABINS, COTTAGES, FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHILDREN, SMILES, MOVIE STARS, ROCK STARS, SPORT STARS, SHOOTING STARS, ANY REFERENCE TO ANTIQUITY, EYES, HANDS, HEARTS, TEARDROPS, ANGELS, DEVILS, ALIENS, PATRIOTISM, ANYTHING HOLIDAY-RELATED, MERMAIDS, ANIME CHARACTERS, ALL SLEEPING ANIMALS, ANY TWO DIFFERENT SPECIES OF ANIMALS CAVORTING TOGETHER, BATS, EAGLES, HORSES, BUTTERFLIES, ALL SEA ANIMALS, BONGS, JOINTS, PIPES, SYRINGES, PILL BOTTLES, BEER BOTTLES, ANYTHING THAT SYMBOLIZES THE IRREVOCABLE PASSAGE OF TIME, FLAMING GUITARS, YOUR SHOES, LOVE LETTERS, SONG LYRICS, BUBBLES, THE USE OF GLITTER, THE USE OF PRIMARY COLORS, GUNS, KNIVES, CARS, (ESPECIALLY FAST ONES), FLOWERS (ESPECIALLY ROSES)

In order to avoid these subjects, we worked tirelessly to make art that would suggest anything, but declare nothing. After enough time had passed of us desperately producing ready-made assemblages and video art, the professor irately produced another slab that would act as an addendum to the first- this time encompassing a wider range of actions, objects, and concepts he wanted us to eschew. SCULPTURES OF GENITALIA, PLASTIC TAKEOUT BAGS, SCREENSHOTS OF TEXT MESSAGES, ASTRO TURF, DEAD ANIMALS, NEON LIGHTS, THE USE OF MENSTRUAL BLOOD, SEWING UNDERGARMENTS TOGETHER, MANNEQUINS, MATTRESSES, VIDEOS OF EMPTY PLACES, DANCE PERFORMANCES ON TIKTOK, WRITING ON CARDBOARD, TEXTILE WORK WHICH REFERENCES DOMESTICITY, USING THE PHRASE “QUEERING OF SPACE” , MASTURBATION AS PERFORMANCE, EATING/ COOKING AS PERFORMANCE, CRUEL SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS AS PERFORMANCE, SELF-MUTILATION AS PERFORMANCE, RADICAL NAPPING
~Only incentivized to keep making art by the fear of dying as hackneyed artists, we trudged on listlessly.
I think we all wished we could be sponges who actively absorbed history and its manifold layers of inherited knowledge, which our bodies would then synthesize into pure energy. We would become progressively lucid and powerful until we were timeless, like bright, burning angels. Our work would be too informed to ever be reeled into feedback loops of conceptual and aesthetic limitations. We would join in an ecstatic union with intellect, which would supersede the animal urges, sentiments and sensuality which governed our sad, scared, sweaty, hungry, horny, sleepy, petty, basic lives. The problem was, we didn't recognize the parameters we had placed on our minds and bodies because we were anxiously trying to eat our own teeth. What if we’d all just been taught to yearn wildly and call it detachment? What if God was not a book?
WHERE DID SELF DECEPTION END & ART BEGIN?
After I graduated art school, I moved to the midwest and found a job designing didactic materials for a small group of animal-worshipping neopagan farmers. They paid me a meager wage but provided me with unlimited black market raw milk and butter, reversing the effects of an undiagnosed calcium deficiency that had terrorized my body since childhood. The members of the group told me that their livestock possessed special powers and that their milk did, too. It may have all been a placebo effect, but I began to feel that I was every chicken, cow, barrel of snakes, kernel of corn, drop of milk, pasture, pond, shovel, and boot. I was also smoke pluming out of a cigarette, a half-hearted conversation, people coughing into each other's mouths, and the fear of being wrong. It wasn’t that everything was the same, it was that everything was patched together & not always asking to be distinguished. To distinguish was to do a job, sometimes I worked and other times I was worked on. Sometimes I did nothing at all and would disappear entirely, sometimes “I” seemed like the wrong word. The sound of my neighbors fucking was indiscernable from the cacophony of fellow chickens, which could be arousing or irritating or fear-inducing. At times I could feel the cold sweat between my feathers, or the warm dust in between the straws of hay that were sometimes a shelter, sometimes food, sometimes me. I continued to make paintings and drawings as an act of compulsion- an evacuation of secrets, observations, and fantasies. The innate desire to make marks on things, to make confessions, to make things up. To make a painting felt like puking after enjoying too much alcohol or sugar. That is to say, it often felt messy, disorienting, and unpredictable. In it I could either find amusement, euphoria, or a certain kind of sadness. It contained what was both inside and outside of me. It was a mistake I’d make over and over again. It was a special place.

One day I got word that my former professor was in critical condition at the hospital. The health issues incurred by his unwavering habit of smoking 4 and half packs of cigarettes per day had caught up to him. I returned to the desert to visit him, foregoing the cliche of bringing flowers and instead bringing a small painting I had made of me cutting off my own head with a pair of garden shears. Once at the hospital, I rushed to his side. He was awake, but lying in bed quiet and motionless. He didn’t smile at me, yet his eyes seemed to glimmer at the recognition of my presence. I explained that despite the pivotal role he had played in me becoming a psychic masochist, I felt somehow indebted to him for showing me “tough love”, or something.
I handed him the painting, which he looked at intently before saying “It’s beautiful. Absolutely wondrous.” I was shocked to hear him speak these words. He lit a cigarette, taking a long, wistful drag and exhaling a cloud of smoke in the opposite direction of my face before he continued:

“I haven’t disclosed this to many people, but my artistic career began as an illustrator for the Psychological Warfare Branch of the U.S. Office of War Information. During this time, I worked frantically day and night to produce images of afflicted children, proud soldiers, and distraught mothers: ciphers the viewer could project themself upon, having highly legible experiences which violently resisted logical analysis. Everything had to be dichotomous—a clearly delineated “juxtaposition”— scarcity and abundance, war and peace, good and evil, life and death. When the work was not convincing enough—which was often—my pay would be viciously docked. It became clear to me that I was using my love of creating to garner support for acts of terrorism, but hunger had ravaged my mind and body into a weakened state. When I eventually did leave that job, I devoted my life to the ostensible rejection of cliche and vulgar appeals to emotion in all forms. But the truth is, it was as if all of it still latched onto me like a demon, a haunting I could never move away from. It was as though inside me there was this full spectrum of light being held hostage by it’s malicious doppelgänger. It’s only now, in the throes of death, that I’ve realized something, and I have an urgent message for you. I recently met God, and it told me this:”

I held my breath in anticipation. His eyes fluttered and closed. I’ll never know exactly what my former professor was going to say in those last few moments of his life.

It might have been something important, though?
   
   
PALEGIC LOVE DRONE
Original music and video created with found footage and digital manipulations
2021


THREE SHAPESHIFTERS
Original music, filmed footage, hand drawn animations, and digital manipulations
2021







LIFE IS OUT THERE
A mysterious note offers hope of an alternate reality free from monotony, uncertainty, and failure.

Short film produced during the summer of 2021.