Inspired by the not-so-nice stuff about being a woman.

Words by

Tabatha Turner

Welcome to a world where art and fashion editorial collide, where pretty and ugly meet, and where the beauty of the inside is revealed more than the outside. Welcome to the world of Sydney-based artist, Jess Cochrane.

Firstly, who are you and where did you come from?

I’m Jess. I came from the nation’s capital all the way to Sydney via Wollongong.

When did you discover your love of painting?

I discovered it at a young age. I was always drawing/ painting/making and dancing around when I was younger. I still like to dance around, but I take the painting thing a little more seriously these days.

How did the beautiful combination of magazine editorial and painting come about?

It evolved by drawing on my day-to-day rituals, such as reading fashion magazines (like this one hehe). Rather than trying to appropriate what is considered a ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful’ image of a woman, I use paint over the image to break down its composed appearance and transform it into a different kind of beauty. I’m allowing viewers to be open to the idea that it’s okay to have imperfections and indifferences, to embrace those qualities.

Have you always had a love of fashion? 

Yep! Since forever.

What is it about the female form and persona that inspires your work?

A lot of what inspires the work is the not-so-nice stuff about being a woman. Participating in a society that is constantly telling you that you need to look, or act, or dress this way or that way to be considered feminine, beautiful or sexual. Unfortunately, a lot of the time we are conditioned to feel like shit about ourselves. On the other hand, it’s the individual strength and character of every woman that inspires me to question why these standards exist and how they affect us.

Do you think you’ll ever delve into the male physique?

I think there are just as many issues surrounding men in today’s world, so yes. Definitely one day. But right now it’s all about the laidez.

Where do ideas for artworks stem from?

They stem from living life, relationships, being curious and reading lots of books, magazines and online articles.

Are you still at university? Do you find it limits or extends your work?

Yes and no. I will be heading back to complete and extend my studies in the near future, but for now I am taking a break. Studying absolutely extends your work. Art school is a paradise where you are encouraged to explore yourself and have support. I think it only limits your work if you treat it like it’s a high school math class. I.e. with disinterest.

Quick fire questions:

Coffee or tea?


Pen or pencil? 


Chicken or beef flavoured noodles? 

Vegetable flavoured noodles. 

Book or kindle? 


Summer or winter?

The end of spring. The start of autumn. 

Lipstick or eyeliner? 

Lipstick. Chanel’s Rouge Coco no.406 if we’re being precise. 

Country or city?

City. But also country. But also coast.

Can anyone purchase a piece of your work?

(hint hint…)

I am selling a selection of works through The Ladies Network online store!

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?

There are a few things brewing. My main focus at the moment is working towards my first solo exhibition being held at Brisbane Powerhouse from May, which I’m creating a large-scale body of work for. I hope you can make it.


This interview was originally published in Fashion Journal issue 156. You can read the full mag here.

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