Jessalyn Newton

Mixed Media / Lafayette, LA

Artist Statement

I love to make wearable art.

My passion is making beautiful handmade fantasy masks, crowns, jewelry and everyday wearable art pieces.

I get asked all the time why I'm so fascinated with masks. I love becoming something else when I wear a mask. When I'm making the mask I think of how this inanimate material becomes alive with every bead, lace, or wire that I add. I breath life into something that was only in my head. It's like science fiction coming to reality. The best part is when I get to wear the mask and become this new character. It's magical.


Here is my story:
I'm an artist, more specifically, I'm a wearable art maker. That's what I will call myself because I don't know what category I fall into in the art world.
Where did I get my inspiration to be a wearable art maker?
My passion for wearable art was sparked from my first memories of my father carving wooden signs. I loved to watch him take a blank slate and create beautiful art nouveau style carvings. As I grew up I found myself drawn to the art nouveau style especially the headdresses painted in Alphonse Mucha's posters and paintings. My fathers art in my eyes is perfection and I wanted to be like him but in my own style. But mostly, I wanted to wear his art but I didn't know how. So I became an artist to find my true art form.
I took art lessons all through grade school then college I found my calling in design and fine art, always drawing upon the art nouveau themes into my work. I acquired a degree in fine arts and a degree in architectural design but I still needed a career. So I did what came naturally... I made costumes. I experimented with every material I could find and made masks, headdresses, and costumes from found objects.
Free from the restrictions of college curriculum I started to make costume replicas of art nouveau artists, sort-of life imitating art. I found myself focusing on elaborate masks, headdress and garments because to me the accessories and attire were what made these images art nouveau and I wanted to wear them all.