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York College alum finds her voice as an artist inspiring others

Jess Currier and her artwork

Painter Jess Currier ’14, found at York College of Pennsylvania not only a Fine Arts degree, but also a broader perspective on life.

In the vast world of art, there are individuals who leave an indelible mark, capturing our attention and stirring our souls. One such artist is Jess Currier, majored in Fine Art and minored in Creative Writing at York College of Pennsylvania. Her journey from a young aspiring artist to an accomplished painter has been nothing short of inspiring.

With her unique blend of double exposure figurative paintings overlaid with vibrant floral patterns, Currier has carved a niche for herself in the art world, captivating audiences with her thought-provoking creations.

‘The tactile connection of brush to canvas’

Born and raised in California, Currier's creative journey took her on a whirlwind adventure across various artistic mediums. Photography, design, and other expressive forms beckoned her, but it was the act of painting, the tactile connection of brush to canvas, that truly ignited her spirit. Recognizing the potential of pursuing her passion, after earning her undergraduate degree, Currier made the decision to set aside a photography business and focus on painting.

Reflecting on her decision to choose York College, Currier shares, "It seemed like the perfect chance for me to attend an art program in person. York College offered that opportunity, and I am grateful I took the risk to study fine arts. It has proven to be a viable career choice."

As Currier immersed herself in her studies, she realized that turning her passion into a successful career required more than just artistic skill—it demanded a business mindset. She delved into learning the business side of art. She embarked on a journey of trial and error, constantly educating herself and adapting to the evolving art world.

“If you have the opportunity to combine your passion with entrepreneurship, go for it,” Currier says.

An artistic evolution

In the years following her graduation, Currier juggled various roles, working as an art consultant and designer while steadily pursuing her passion for painting. Slowly but surely, her efforts began to bear fruit. Currier started selling her original artwork, prints, and even teaching workshops. Leveraging the power of social media, she expanded her online presence and embraced the digital realm to reach a broader audience. With each brushstroke, Currier painted a path to success, meticulously honing her skills and dedicating herself to her craft.

Currier's artistic evolution took a significant leap forward in 2020 when she completed her Master of Fine Arts degree. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, she found herself well-positioned, having already established an online presence and cultivated a loyal following. Building on her achievements, she rented studio spaces and transformed her own garage into a creative haven. The path to success may have been slow and winding, but for Currier, it was undeniably worth the journey.

Now, on the brink of another exciting chapter in her career, Currier is preparing to launch a new website and introduce prints of her artwork for the first time. This expansion will allow her to pursue larger and more complex pieces while providing her community with more accessible artworks. With her characteristic style, she aims to evoke emotional responses, asking viewers to contemplate the complexities of life and the interplay between hope and despair.

Art as archeology

Looking back on her experience at York College and its influence on her artistic journey, Currier expresses profound gratitude. She credits the College for exposing her to a diverse range of thoughts and beliefs, shattering the insularity of her conservative upbringing. At York College, she discovered a place that encouraged exploration and dialogue, where different perspectives were embraced rather than dismissed. This newfound exposure to diverse thinking expanded her horizons and ultimately shaped her approach to art.

“York College broke open my world. It expanded my perspective,” she says. “I'm so grateful for that. It cultivated an openness in me, a sense of humility, and an awareness of how little I knew. That mindset has undoubtedly influenced my work."

To Jess, art is akin to archeology—an exploration of the human experience and the quest for meaning. Her evocative paintings, with their double exposure figurative elements intertwined with delicate floral motifs, serve as visual metaphors for the human journey. Just as flowers symbolize life's joys and sorrows, Currier overlays them onto her portraits, exploring the profound questions of hope, despair, and the pursuit of beauty. Her artwork becomes a reflection of her own path, as she finds hope and purpose through the act of painting itself.

As her career continues to flourish, Currier envisions an exciting future ahead. With the recent launch of prints and plans to create larger-scale double exposure paintings, she aims to showcase her work in galleries and establish an in-person arts collective. Drawing inspiration from the shared studio space at York College, Jess hopes to create a collaborative environment where artists can come together, fostering creativity and community.

When people encounter Currier's art and learn her story, she hopes they take away the conviction that their dreams are worth pursuing. She serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding others that dedication, hard work, and bravery are essential ingredients in transforming dreams into reality. She urges aspiring artists not to succumb to feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm but to embrace the process and dive headfirst into their creative endeavors. Answers lie within the work itself, she says, waiting to be discovered through practice and perseverance.

Creativity is a profound act of choosing life, and with every stroke of the brush, Currier paints a vivid reminder that dreams are worth chasing.