September 19, 2021


Through Education Matters

A political science alumna speaks her brain on the art canvas > Information > USC Dornsife

Jessica Bellamy ’14, now a master’s degree prospect at USC Roski, employs paint and paintbrush to make feeling of the “dystopian utopia” of Los Angeles. [5 min read]

When she’s not rollerblading by the beach front, you can locate alumna Jessica Bellamy portray in her studio though listening to general public radio station KCRW. (Shots: Courtesy of Jessica Bellamy.)

Los Angeles’ most wonderful sunsets generally happen when a forest hearth is raging. The sky flares orange, very hot pink and lavender as smoke drifts throughout the L.A. basin. Instagram feeds fill with pictures of the neon sky as information reviews tally up the acres burnt.

These are the sunsets that Jessica Bellamy finds most inspiring. For Bellamy, who graduated from the USC Dornsife Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences in 2014 with a degree in political science, the wonderful sunset of a disastrous fireplace is aspect of the dystopian/utopian experience of living in L.A.

 Much of her function as she now pursues a master of wonderful arts degree at the USC Roski College of Art and Style explores the stress of living at the edge of a tenuous paradise. For instance, “fire followers” — the lush crops that prosper just after a fireplace sweeps through an area — make an overall look in a latest painting that also recorded a fire’s devasting march in actual time.

“I did a bunch of etching marks into the base panel of the portray for how many fires burned 1,000 acres throughout the time I worked on this,” claims Bellamy. “By the time I completed, I believe it was close to 100 marks.”

The art of politics

Bellamy enrolled as a political science big at USC Dornsife with the intent of ultimately getting to be a law firm. She experienced taken art courses given that she was a youngster, and each of her dad and mom like to do the job with their palms — her mother as a landscape designer and her father in building – so she determined to increase lessons from the USC Roski University of Artwork and Design to her agenda as nicely.

Her coursework at USC Dornsife assisted her get extra relaxed for the duration of the critiques transpiring in her artwork classes, in which learners give comments on their classmates’ artwork. She cites the course “European Thought II” (POSC 371) with Anthony Kammas, affiliate professor (training) of political science, as specifically helpful in obtaining her voice.

“Early on in school, I was a little bit shy and I would not discuss except if called on. But, as soon as I began taking lessons at Roski, all of those people political science discussions from his class genuinely came with a distinct relevance. I felt relaxed sharing and critiquing,” says Bellamy.

An internship with the Hammer Museum while an undergraduate solidified her realization that her spot was in the arts somewhat than legislation. She added a slight in fantastic arts painting to her political science degree. After graduation, she acquired a position as an arts partnership and gatherings coordinator at community radio station KCRW in Santa Monica, California.

A fashionable artist

Jessica Bellamy will graduate with an MFA from USC Roski in 2022.

Right after finishing her change at the radio station, Bellamy used her evenings portray. She worked at her kitchen area desk, where by obliging roommates would cook all around her, and marketed prints on line.

Bellamy picked up commissions from major manufacturers. She painted a mural live for Google Pixel at Coachella and painted customized sneakers for attendees at a bash hosted by Kenneth Cole. Inevitably, she tallied her income as an artist in a spreadsheet and understood her facet position, and the time invested on art jobs, was adding up significantly.

She also understood that she wanted more group: “You do not truly get that when you are doing the job full time and then seeking to also be associated in the artwork entire world,” claims Bellamy. “You don’t grow as rapidly on your very own.”

After these types of a positive USC expertise her initial time all-around, making use of for the master’s degree plan at USC Roski was a no-brainer. Her initially calendar year of school has been generally on the net due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she was presently very well-versed in the constructive side of digital connections: The gallery that signifies her discovered her on Instagram.

She’s upgraded from the kitchen desk, nonetheless, and with the easing of limitations, she’s now getting good friends and clients at her artwork studio.

USC Dornsife’s influence 

Even though she’s switched to a various university, USC Dornsife is nonetheless sparking inspiration. She not too long ago attended an function hosted by USC Dornsife’s 3rd LA project that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Reyner Banham’s influential book Los Angeles: The Architecture of 4 Ecologies. 

Banham’s 1971 guide described L.A. as built up of four unique parts: surfurbia (the beach front environs), Autopia (the city’s freeways), The Foothills (it is bordering hills), and the Plains of Id (the flatlands outside the core of the town). His function is a main inspiration for Bellamy who strategies to depict her possess interpretations of L.A.’s core identities as section of her master’s thesis.

“I’m trying to occur up with new ecologies based mostly on my personal experience in the town. I’m looking at the constructed and natural surroundings, but also at pollution, smog and gentle, kind of updating his eyesight,” suggests Bellamy.

She’s hoping to enroll this slide in a USC Dornsife course, “Los Angeles: A Polymathic Inquiry” (Core 450), to assist create her thesis further more.

Apocalypse now

Bellamy’s painted sunsets are also layered with L.A. iconography: palm trees, chain website link fences, a Lakers player dunking a basket. Clippings from the Los Angeles Times are a distinct obsession both of those as inspiration and as actual physical content. Its archives crank out a constant reminder of her work’s topic.

“Even when I’m browsing [the archives] for key terms like ‘immigration.’ it’ll demonstrate up upcoming to an op-ed that is about smog or what California needs to do in the potential to endure, as if we’re likely to have an apocalypse in this article every single 12 months,” suggests Bellamy. “By embedding clippings bodily into the artwork, I consider the politics lens is coming out in a diverse way.”

When Bellamy’s not in the studio or browsing the archives, she can normally be found in “surfurbia,” rollerblading together the Dockweiler Seaside route sidewalk — a pastime honed during the recent quarantine. Powering her gliding determine will possibly be a vivid, California sunset, a person she’ll possible lay down later on the canvas.