John John Jesse- white punks on art
“…punk rock was the world in which I entered at 14 years old because I didn’t fit in anywhere, not at school, not with friends, and not with my family. Back in the 80’s we were all serious misfits who didn’t belong, and together we were REALLY united. We all came from broken homes, we were victims of child abuse, we were angry, political, idealistic, drunk and proud. Basically punk rock music goes beyond the realms of just being a music scene. It’s a lifestyle and commitment. It’s my world, and honestly it’s all I know and it’s where I fit.”
Born in New York City’s then crime ridden and drug infested Lower East Side, John John first gained notoriety as the founding member and bassist of the legendary influential political punk band Nausea. Nausea toured the D.I.Y. punk circuit all over the United States, Canada and Europe in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and released LPs and various 7″ singles. Though since disbanded in 1992, to this day they still maintain a huge loyal following, and have influenced the next generation of the political punk rock genre. (Their Punk Terrorist anthology CDs are now released on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacle Records).
Jesse left school and home at 15 years old. With no formal art training, he began doing posters, flyer art, and record sleeves for bands like Agnostic Front, Destroy, and the Squat or Rot record label, as well as Nausea while squatting in the Lower East Side. Those works can now be seen in the follow up book by Feral House “Fucked Up and Photocopied” called “Punk Is Dead Is Everything” which exhibits a number of John John’s punk and hardcore flyer works as well as him being a contributing writer.
His unique style during this “Black & White” period has been recognized on everything from Downtown New York light poles and t-shirts, to “Baby Demonica”, his first published work of pen and ink drawings with Sirius in 2002 with limericks by Jesse, and former Danzig/DGeneration bassist Howie Pyro.
Declaring his work as an autobiography, John John gives us more than the anarchy of youth. A portrayal of class war struggle, street anarchism, and his past teenage destructive punk rock lifestyle of heroin addiction, alcoholism, love, heartbreak, crime, teen suicide and triumph. It is the flight from the gutter of the streets of the 80’s Lower East Side, to the triumph of post-addicted street youth.
John John Jesse has exhibited with: Fuse Gallery, Art At Large, CBGB 313 Gallery, Bullet Space, Williamsburg Historical Arts Center, Museum of Sex, Last Rites, MF Gallery, Kustom Kulture all in New York;
Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, Wild Seduction in Miami, Perihelion Arts in Phoenix, mModern Gallery, Copro/Nason in Culver City California, Art Basel in Miami, Gallery Bink in Oregon, and Outre in Australia.
John John Jesse is currently represented by Opera Gallery in New York City’s Soho. To purchase original John John Jesse paintings contact www.operagallery.com
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