I attended Harriton High School, graduating in 2003. I graduated in 2007 from West Chester University with a B.A. in literature. After several very odd jobs I returned to West Chester to obtain my certification to teach middle school and high school. That went very well. After substitute teaching for about a year I got a sample of having my own middle school classroom when I became a long-term sub during an English teacher’s maternity leave. That, not so much. Kidding.
It was a great experience and it was inspiring at least half the time, but what I found was I wasn’t ready to lead a classroom full of impressionable middle school students (other adjectives implied with the term middle school). I work infinitely better in a peaceful environment of relative solitude. So, I got a job at a bustling retirement community! (Which I wholeheartedly enjoy).
Working in the community led to some fantastic changes in my life. I began cutting paper again when I was offered an opportunity to show at the art gallery in my workplace. Not long after that I began dating my now-husband, after having worked obliviously alongside of him for a couple years (and going to school with him k-12th). Hence the reason some of my artwork is signed Jessi Cooke, and the rest with my new name, Jessi Brown. He bought me the most incredible trestle work table with a built-in light-box, so he keeps me company and focused while I’m cutting. Unfortunately for him, that makes our living room my work space and for anyone who knows me, that it a scary and very messy notion. For my parents, as well, because the framing process takes place in their basement studio.
I have a very supportive family.
Before my first show I had been playing around with paper cutting since the early 2000s. Over the years I had accumulated a small number of pieces; just chipping away at the process. I took a serious interest in cutting several years ago when a showing was offered to me on a fluke when a scheduled artist cancelled a solo show. I decided to accept it as a challenge with a little more than three months to prepare. I worked day and night and was able to show both old and new work, filling the gallery space. I was very lucky to have a successful experience that encouraged me to continue working. I have since had my third solo show, and I am preparing for two more this year. In addition to showing solo, and having single pieces in group shows here and there, I am happy to also have an abundance of commissioned work.
This webpage is a first attempt at getting my work out into the universe. It will be a work in progress for a while, but I’m happy to have visitors!