Jesse Edwards (artist)

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Jesse Edwards
Born Jesse Arthur Edwards
Alma mater Seattle Academy of Realist Art
Occupation Painter
Years active 1990 -
Home town Hayden Lake, Idaho

Jesse Edwards (born 1977) is a professional American fine art oil painter, graffiti artist, and ceramicist born in Hayden Lake, Idaho. He works and lives in Seattle and New York City. Edwards is a distinguished member of the Mystic Sons of Morris Graves.

Jesse's beginnings in art started with graffiti, which he began practicing as a youth growing up in Snohomish, WA. He has since traveled from Seattle to the East Coast and Spain, leaving his mark along the way.[1]

Edwards, who likes to refer to his graffiti as installation art, tends toward figurative representations of celebrities, friends, and self-portraits. “I like pictures,” says Edwards, “you don't have to be graffiti-literate to read pictures.[2]

In separate works, dead celebrities Anna Nicole Smith and rapper Tupac Shakur are depicted with children in tender embraces, evoking something like a streetwise Mary Cassatt. When asked how his work is perceived by other graffiti artists, Edwards boasts, “They love it. They flip.”[3]

Jesse graduated from Snohomish High School, after which he spent one year studying the art of the Old Masters in Seattle's public libraries. In 1999, he was accepted into Cornish College of the Arts on a Nellie Scholarship. Cornish later threw him out of school for verbally abusing a professor. About being kicked out of Cornish, Edwards said, “I knew they wouldn't like what I had to say, but I figured I would go out with a bang.”[2]

Edwards went on to study at the Gage Academy (then called the Seattle Academy of Realist Art), where he was offered a second chance in the form of another scholarship. Edwards stayed for four years.

Edwards' outwardly thuggish persona and high-profile antics are well-known attributes of his public image. In 2009, Edwards was considered for the BRAVO reality art TV show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.[4][5]

A prolific painter, Edwards uniformly composes his works using oils on stretched linen and employs techniques such as underpainting and extensive glazing to emulate the style of the old masters. His stylistic landscapes show influence from the Impressionist painters, especially Claude Monet.

Edwards' figurative work typically uses juxtaposition between style and subject matter and has been criticized for featuring pornography, illicit paraphernalia, and other controversial subjects.[6] He has cited contemporary painter John Currin as a major influence, whose work features similarly inflammatory themes.

Edwards is a close associate of master ceramicist Charles Wing Krafft. Krafft has been recognized internationally for his series of "Disasterware"[7] which manipulates aesthetic qualities of 16th century Dutch Delftware (or Delft pottery) while using themes that reflect modern realities.[7] It was Krafft who introduced Edwards to ceramics, instructing him through months of private study. Jesse’s ceramic art has since earned him gallery representation, critical acclaim, and attention from the New York Times, among others.

Jesse Edwards moved to New York City in 2011 and is represented by Vito Schnabel.


  1. ^ Krishman, Sonia (25 April 2010). "Art or eyesore? Painter knows his work upsets many". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Beal, Suzanne (1 March 2009). "Outside the Machine". CityArts. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Work of Art The Next Great Artist". Bravo TV. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Randy (19 July 2009). "Hundreds Try Out for Art-World Reality Show". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Hackett, Regina (11 October 2006). "Jesse Edwards breaks all art rules except one: He can paint". Seattle Pi. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Disasterware Delft". Retrieved 8 December 2011.