Saturday 30 April 2011

It Takes a Life (or, My Brother is an Artist)

(please note: I have yet to research how to do watermarks. if you love any of these images, contact my brother Jesse at for permission to use them)

There are a couple of people I know who are artists. Not on the side, not having pretensions to art, not as an aspiration to a lifestyle, not as a job. It is who they are, living and breathing.

My brother Jesse is one of them.

Jesse writing out the info for his works before the opening

Growing up, he always doodled, always sketched, but has come to painting only just recently, and it's where he's found his voice.

He started to paint a year and a half ago, and has no training other than practice, passion, an excellent eye for composition and colour, and the little local "working with oils" course I gave him as a Christmas present last year. When I dream about being rich (idly, unfortunately :) among other things, I dream about being able to give him a studio and supplies, and shoving him in there with the imperative to "go, paint". He brings beauty to the world.

from the opening at the OPIRGBrock Infoshop

He has a wonderful sense of place. There are some artists who create idea art and whose art can only exist in public places. I once saw, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, a large installation (a word I'm getting a little tired of, honestly) of cheesies under boulders. Pieces like that are most definitely art - I love the public opportunity for interaction that these provide. It provoked much discussion amongst the people I was with, it was a statement of the human impact on environment and how we interact with our surroundings, and I still think about it.

But it wouldn't fit in my living room and I didn't want to take it home with me.

pieces I would like to take home with me

We all have vertical spaces in our homes and we like to put things on them to look at. Some of them are prints, some are photos, some you can see the brushstrokes - the fingerprints of the person who did them. Mr. S. and I have things on our walls, from friends and strangers, that still take my breath away or make me smile every time I walk down the hall or sit in our living room, even though they've been up there for years. And that's the power of good art - art that speaks to you.

"The Dreamers"

That's what Jesse is good at. His work is humane. It is grounded in what he sees around him and how he sees it. When I asked him about a particular piece and why he did it that way, he said very simply "because that's what it looks like there". Here's the painting:

"Approaching Dusk" Rodman Hall, St. Catharines, Ontario

I love it.

There is a show of his work in a small community centre in St. Catharines, Ontario for the month of May. It's at the OPIRG Brock Infoshop, 10 Summer Street, St. Catharines, Ontario. They are open Monday to Thursday from 10am - 4pm.

"God's Love," a hailstorm, Stewart Road farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Thank you Milica, Kasia, and Lisa for helping organise and set up, and Safiya for being cute

The opening was last night. It was exciting and I'm excited for him, for this first opportunity for his work to be in one place, to be accessible. He is generous and has a sense of humour about the whole thing - two of the paintings actually were gifts to two friends, but they wanted to give them back to him to be hung with the others. So Jesse let them each set the prices on those two pieces (which of course they set really high 'cause they don't want anyone else to buy them :)

this painting is for sale, at a price set by Jesse, not covetous friends :)

If you're in the area, please drop by, take a look, and sign his book. Or, if you're interested in any of his work, please feel free to contact him:

Jesse Lepp

My brother, the artist.


Anonymous said...

Oh, everything about this post is lovely -- your brother's work (and your perspective too) is taking my breath away. His use of colour, the energy of it -- this is wonderful. I hope that he is able to stay motivated and centered about keeping painting, regardless of how many people make it out to the show... because he has something here, the juiciness that really speaks, if we can only be patient and listen. I will definitely try to make it down to the gallery to see in person.
Thanks for sharing this...

Secret Admirer said...

What a wonderful use of colours! I wish I was able to transport myself to your corner of the world for the opening. How supported he must feel, there is nothing like family to make or break you. I also love those tulips they add the perfect dash of colour to the whole set up.

debt relief said...

Great use of colors and design. I always appreciate creative ideas.Art is important because it allows us to be creative.Art should be an everyday activity.Making our art activities open-ended is very helpful.

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This is wonderful. I hope that he is able to stay motivated and centered about keeping painting, regardless of how many people make it out to the show. Thanks for sharing.

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It is just beautiful art. It is really important because it allows us to be creative. Thanks for sharing!