Living With Art: A Conversation with Jessica Arb

In this recurring blog series, Living with Art Light Work will feature the homes of interesting people, locally and nationally, who curate and create interesting spaces in their homes, their office, or their studios. What inspires them, infuriates them and excites them about living with art?

This week we speak to Jessica Arb, Syracuse transplant and creator of Ocean Violet. Explorer, creative-type, with a sixth-sense for what’s next.

Of all the art in your home, which piece is your most favorite? (Why?)

This would be like choosing your favorite child! I suppose playing favorites is human nature. Let’s see, If I had to choose, I’d say an original mixed-media by French artist, Max Papart titled “Day and Night.” Centered is a silhouette of person with the sun and the moon on either side and when I look at it, it reminds me of my past, present and future. My grandmother was also one of the premier collectors of Papart’s work and I remember as a child trying to find new details within his works in her home. A soaring bird, a hidden word, or a medium (like a pen or pencil) I hadn’t noticed the last time I looked.

How did it find its way into your home?

My fiance surprised me with it as an anniversary gift last year. He got homemade key-lime pie. I think we both won.

Tell us about your Light Work piece and its entry into your collection.

Rather serendipitously. I was first introduced to Carrie Mae Weems through her “Obama Video Series” but ultimately fell in love with her Kitchen Table Series. After moving from New York City to Syracuse in August, I found out Weems was a past artist-in-residence at Light Work which is how I came to know about the organization. I attended the 40th Anniversary gallery opening where Weems’ limited edition print was going to be available for purchase. That morning it was announced she had won the McArthur Genius award, and all signs just pointed to yes – I knew I had to have one of her Kitchen Table Series pieces for my collection.

How did the shape of your home shape your art collection?

I never buy art to fit my home. If I’m drawn to it, I will find a place.

Where and when do you find the best light in your home?

Late afternoons, after lunch when the sun is a little more golden than yellow. Most of my art hangs in the front room where the sun shines best.

You need one very special piece of art to make your collection complete, what is it?

Easy. A Nick Cave soundsuit to greet friends and family as they enter our home. Who needs a welcome mat?

Why do you collect art?

Simply, I love looking at art, travelling to find new artists and learning about their inspirations behind each piece. I learn as much as I can about the artist and try to understand their path, that way my home becomes more of a story as well.

Stayed tuned for our next feature, each week following someone living with great art.

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