Jessica C. White grew up in Taiwan where she learned to love storybooks, art, and traditional crafts, and is now a studio artist in Asheville, NC. Her work is both visually and textually inspired by children’s book images, medieval bestiaries, folk tales, and the daily news. Through her work, she explores fear and courage, blind optimism, naïveté, and wonder.
Jessica makes editioned artist books under the imprints Heroes & Criminals Press and Little Phoenix Letterpress. Her books are each hand printed on antique letterpress presses using a combination of printing materials including metal type, wood type, woodcuts and engravings, and photopolymer plates. The printed sheets are then individually bound into book structures that suit the content, such as traditional codex bindings or scrolls housed in custom boxes with cranking mechanisms. Along with printed books, Jessica makes blank books with unique decorative bindings. All books are made in-house from start to finish in her print shop and bindery nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Jessica creates humorous, but sincere, images that convey messages not through complex imagery, but in multiple layers of simplicity. Her images of animals and children tell stories in an attempt to make sense of uncertainties in our world today, similar to the way traditional folktales and ancient mythologies tried to explain the unknown. Anthropomorphism is her device for making moral and socio-political commentaries less overbearing and more accessible. Vintage children’s book illustrations, the daily news, and contemporary graphic novels inspire Jessica’s investigations both visually and textually. Much of her exploration revolves around fear and courage, blind optimism, naïveté, and wonder.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be seen in collections including Yale University, Stanford University, Lingnan University Hong Kong, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Fancy degrees she holds include an MFA and MA in Printmaking from the University of Iowa, a Graduate Certificate in Book Studies from the UIowa Center for the Book, a BFA in sculpture from East Carolina University, half of a pilot’s license and half of a sailing certificate. Feel free to contact her about prints or books, but no requests please for flying or sailing the high seas.
You can follow Jessica on Twitter and Instragram - @jessicacwhite.com