Artist Jessie Peek showcases her spirited animals and humans in “Natura” at NOMA Gallery
Artist Jessie Peek completed her apprenticeship at Alchemy Fine Art and Tattoo around a year and a half ago, and she has taken to an ink gun with the same gusto as her marker and paintbrush.
Some of her latest works off-skin can be viewed in “Natura,” on exhibit this month at NOMA Gallery, along with mixed media works by Alchemy owner Naomi Shanti and wildlife photography by Shanti’s son, Preston Ballard. The gallery is located at 939 N. Magnolia Ave., Ocala.
Words like “intimate” and “visceral” come to mind viewing the works by all three of the artists.
They share an abiding love of nature, which can be experienced in the titular collage “Natura,” which comprises imagery created by all three of them.
“We decided that a collaboration of our different styles from different perspectives would a be really exciting thing to do,” Peek said.
The 33-year-old artist lives in Ocala with her partner of 12 years, David Hamilton, and her 7-year-old son, Liam.
Peek said she has been creating art since she was old enough to hold a crayon.
“My aunt drew a unicorn and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” she reminisced. I thought, “Wow, that’s what I’m gonna do forever (adding a laugh).”
Though resolute from the start, she admits to having felt overwhelmed by the more left-brained business and technological aspects of professional art when she started.
Peek grew up in Denver and made her way east to attend the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. After earning her bachelor’s degree in visual arts and graphic design, she moved to Ocala to be near Hamilton’s family.
Thankfully, she has retained a visceral fascination with her subjects, getting at some of the more primal aspects of nature in her painted, stylized illustrations.
Inspired by fierce animals and people, Peek illustrates and paints her subjects with precision and imagination, drawing emphasis with steep contrasts, vivid colors and gray undertones, complemented by crisp lines — a style NOMA’s website describes as “stylized realism.”
Peek’s human-and-beast works convey conflicting, intense emotions. Both fear and power can be seen in the gaze of her sea creatures, tigers, snakes and owls.
“I love predatory animals, and I think they are very much a part of our ecosystem,” she said. “We need each other, and that’s why I like to present both together.”
In contrast to her vividly depicted creatures, Peek illustrates humans in black and gray in a gesture to downplay our importance.
“We always put ourselves front and center,” she said, “and, sometimes, we forget about everything else around us.”
To inquire about Jessie Peek’s fine art and tattoos, email email@example.com or text (352) 399-8388. Check out more of her works at instagram.com/abstract_jessie.
All proceeds from sales of the works in NOMA Gallery’s ‘Natura’ will go to the Alachua Conservation Trust (alachuaconservationtrust.org). Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The show concludes with a live tattoo art party titled “Ink and Art” from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, inviting patrons to get inked by all three artists while enjoying a last glimpse of their imaginative fauna. Visit Facebook.com/nomagalleryocala for updates.