His work has been compared to Abstract Expressionists Wassily Kandinsky, Sam Francis, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Francis Bacon. While comparisons are flattering, Jess Black continues to pave his own path in the contemporary Los Angeles art scene.
Born in a small Scandinavian town in Iowa, Jess was recognized for his artistic ability at an early age. By his teen years he was considered a prodigy and became locally known as a muralist. By the age of 15 he was commissioned to do work in Des Moines, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas. Those works were published in Better Homes and Gardens and Builder Architect.
After high school, Jess left Iowa and moved to New York City where he was signed by the famed Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. He booked jobs that took him all around the world. The people of New York and the experiences of world travel reignited his interest in creating art. He started slowly and developed a growing list of private art clients. It was art that was his passion. After two successful exhibitions, Black was committed to making art his career.
In 2010, Jess longed for open space and moved to California. Within a month he had booked his first solo show in Downtown Los Angeles. In December of the same year Black was identified by a juried panel of college art professors as an emerging artist and one to watch in 2011. The group exhibition in February 2011 continued Jess's trend of being the top-selling artist at group shows.
In February 2012, Black debuted a collection of work that explored his upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness. Titled, "Leather Bound in Black or Red," an exhibition of work on this subject matter had never before been done. Turning down several gallery offers to host the exhibit, Black elected to debut it online in a virtual gallery. The virtual show opening resulted in 1,179 people from 17 countries visiting the website while Black participated in the live chat. After the two-week online exhibition closed, the final tally revealed that the virtual gallery received visits from six continents, 25 countries, and 312 cities.
Black's work has been commissioned for corporate and hospitality collections including The Hotel Figueroa - Los Angeles, Montage - Beverly Hills, and FOX's Hell's Kitchen. It has been featured in national publications, including Juxtapoz Magazine, Paper Magazine, Avenue Insider, and Art World News. Some of his notable collectors include The Point Foundation CEO Jorge Valencia, Actress and Designer Kristin Cavallari, Radio and Music Personality Elvis Duran, Celebrity Designer Kari Whitman, Television Personality Brooke Burke-Charvet, Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler, and Television Personality Kris Jenner.
Black continues to exhibit his works in one to two shows per year. Most of his time is now spent creating art for private clients and corporate partners.
Jess' favorite charities are those that help with animal rescue and P.E.T.A.