Born in Cranston, RI in 1973, Jessica Van Daam was determined to produce artwork at an early age as is evidenced in the following picture from the Evening Times (Pawtucket, RI).
She was encouraged in her youth by her parents, notorious for their home schooling practices, to explore all of her artistic horizons. After a career in equestrian sports was cut short by a tragic accident, she was forced to reevaluate her priorities. Choosing to sell her horse equipment in exchange for tuition for art classes, she was reunited with her passion for the arts. She studied drawing, painting, illustration, and the hand coloring of photography at Brown and RISD, in addition to classes in electrical circuit design.
While tending bar in Providence she met the people who would eventually lead her to the studio she called home for three years. Van Daam Studios was renovated in 1998 from an old mill in the outskirts of the city. Home to parties, showcases, love and tears, it provided her most importantly with a cocoon to shut the bland world of humanity out, that she might concentrate on her inner colors. Hers is a mind with an eternal fascination with color and image. She has been overheard giving directions on the phone using nothing but colors of landmarks, a testament of her obsession for color.
The ocean has always been a source of inspiration, though when confronted with the commonality of that statement she recoils in horror and decides that dirt and mud have equal appeal. All are currently displayed in her latest multi media offerings as she combines the rich turquoise and deep hues of the sea with green sand from south pacific beaches and rusted metal rescued from certain obscurity from the harsh streets of America.
To say that her paintings are only made of paint would be like saying a million-year-old fossil is only made of rock. In truth, many things are contained within the formation, as many things are now contained within Jessica's paintings. One may find gold leaf, enamel, varnish, scraps of paper or photos, relics of life, and many a vintage of wine within the construct of pigment and gesso. Yet all are carefully blended to form images of haunted passion, despair, heroism, triumph and tranquility yet always they remain to the artist, only Jessica.
Van Daam Studios was torn down in 2000 to make way for a new Home Depot, disrupting the nest in which so many explorations occurred. She has begun travelling the globe since in search of her next studio; the next place that she will come home to roost. Whether she lands back in Providence, or moves on to Boston, Amsterdam, or San Francisco, the visions of the world within and the world without will continue to manifest in her work.
"Who is Jessica Van Daam?
What does she dream of on dark and dismal nights?
To what lands does she journey full of fancy dancing naked in sunshine?
Where is she from, where is she going and when will she return?
These and many more questions are asked of her and, more importantly, she asks of herself.
To some there shall be answers...
...but not yet my child, not yet." -
The Rabid Skunk