Preview: Jes Hooper at Artists Open Houses Festival

Pointillism octopus on oak

When we think of burning logs, we would not usually associate it with intricately detailed artwork. This is no ordinary wood burning though, this is Pyrography, an artistic method where hot wire is used to burn the surface cells of timber, producing lasting coloration of the wood without application of paint or varnish.

Jes Hooper, photo credit to Thom UndrellJes Hooper manages to create spectacularly designed pieces usingĀ this method, and her first ever exhibit, titled ‘Ocean Oak’ is not to be missed during this year’s festival.

Ocean OakĀ is a pyrography pointillism collection of sea animals burned into oak that has been locally sourced in Sussex. The exhibition was inspired by the natural materials found within the local landscape of the South Downs, with the ocean creatures representative of Brighton’s coastal roots.

“Ocean Oak” will be on display on Saturdays and Sundays throughout May at the Oriental Hotel, 9 Oriental Place, on the Brunswick trail of the Artists Open Houses Festival. Jes will be holding demonstrations of her wood burning process at the Oriental Hotel on the 14th and 21st May.

Pointillism green sea turtle on oak

Jes is a self-taught artist with qualifications in Animal Science BSc, and Primate Conservation MSc. Specialising in monkey rehabilitation, Jes worked as a volunteer primate behaviourist at a not-for-profit monkey sanctuary in Mexico in the summers of 2013 and 2014 before returning to her home town of Brighton in seek of paid employment in the UK animal sector. Like many graduates, Jes struggled to secure a job in her chosen field, contending with zero hour contracts and competitive application procedures throughout an 18 month period. During this time, with no art training, Jes began pyrography as a hobby when she was given a hobby tool as a gift. After posting her work on social media and receiving an encouraging response, Jes became a self-employed pyrographer in February of this year. Jes’ work focuses on the animal kingdom, to which she applies millions of burned dots to create complex pointillism images of different species, incorporating the way in which each animal moves and interacts with its environment.

“I started pyrography as a way to relax and focus on animals again. I now feel very lucky that I have been able to make my own career, one that seems to strike a chord with many people. I am thrilled to be showing my work as a guest artist at the Artists Open Houses exhibition, my next goal is to be showing my work throughout the year in Brighton art galleries “. – Jes Hooper

We look forward to seeing much more of Jes’ work in the future and thoroughly recommend going to see the Ocean Oak project.