Meet Jacquelyn O’Brien

Meet Jacquelyn O’Brien

Jacquelyn O’Brien is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of January–February 2017 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and works in progress). We asked Jacquelyn a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Jacquelyn O'Brien in her residency studio
Jacquelyn O’Brien in her residency studio

Q: To start this off, tell us a little about your background.

A: I’ve always been a visual person and art appreciator. I’m in love with the visual world and the work it produces. I got my undergraduate degree at the University at Buffalo State College in Sculpture, did a residency in Belle, MO between degrees, and then went to graduate school at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a degree in Studio Arts Sculpture. I am the oldest of five children and grew up in a single parent home with my mom. I think this is what made me a feminist. Being my mothers daughter has made me the way I am, being raised by a strong, independent woman.

Jacquelyn O'Brien, "Glitter Queen", cedar, glitter, yarn, 3' x 4', 2016.
Jacquelyn O’Brien, “Glitter Queen”, cedar, glitter, yarn, 3′ x 4′, 2016.
Jacquelyn O'Brien, "Influence Each Other", 3' x 3', cedar, yarn, fiber, 2016.
Jacquelyn O’Brien, “Influence Each Other”, 3′ x 3′, cedar, yarn, fiber, 2016.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I would describe my work as being a blending and multiplicity of materials. I combine materials that are traditionally “masculine” or “feminine”, harkening to the mixing of gender identifications in our current culture. My work uses the influence of color, weight, scale, gesture, politics, and materiality.

Cunt Cushions by Jacquelyn O'Brien
Cunt Cushions by Jacquelyn O’Brien
Fabrics in Jacquelyn's residency studio
Fabrics in Jacquelyn’s residency studio
Materials for Jacquelyn's embroidered hoops
Materials for Jacquelyn’s embroidered hoops

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: My process varies depending on what I’m working on to fulfill the individual needs of each piece. If I’m casting concrete, my process requires more planning in the way of mold making, supplies, armatures, and calculating weight. As a result, I would sketch in a very detailed way, with schematics and details that would help me efficiently create a piece. If I’m making a fabric work, like an embroidery or cunt cushion, I can take more risks and employ more off-the-cuff choices. I always do a small, messy sketch of what I’m thinking about and where I want the work to go before any piece is made. I also like to pin samples of materials on my cork board to see them all together.

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn's residency studio
Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn’s residency studio
Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn's residency studio
Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 

A: My goal for this residency is to focus on the more time consuming, lighter work that contributes to my heavier, bigger work. I’m working on three large embroideries that have political content stitched upon them. I am in process of constructing a 4×4 foot embroidery that requires me to build out a custom hoop, so that will be an interesting new endeavor!

Jacquelyn at work in her residency studio
Jacquelyn at work in her residency studio

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m the founder of a group called the Politits Art Coalition and we have a lot coming up in the next few months. In March, the PAC is showing their work at Gallery Q on College Street in Rochester. Then we’re curating a Women’s Work show in the same month at The Yards Collaborative Art Space. We’re having a show at The Yards featuring work by the six members of the PAC in April as well. Also, I will have a solo show this summer! Stay tuned for dates and locations.

Jacquelyn and Carolina
Jacquelyn and her studio helper Carolina

Q: Where can we find you?

A: You can also find me on Facebook at Jacquelyn O’Brien : Art, and on Instagram @dogmomm. If you’re looking to see my work in person it is always up at Dichotomy Rochester, located at The Yards. There is a changing display with work for sale. You can email me at jacquelynmarieobrien@gmail.com.


Embroidered hoops by Jacquelyn O'Brien
Embroidered hoops by Jacquelyn O’Brien

Rude Embroidery Workshop with Jacquelyn O’Brien
Saturday, February 18th, 12pm–3pm | $35 per person

Create your own sassy embroideries with fiber artist Jacquelyn O’Brien! In this workshop you’ll play with colored embroidery floss, funky beads, fun fabrics, and fringe to make four-inch “rude embroideries”. 

No need to be polite in this workshop, your rude embroidery can say what you really want to say! Laugh and have a good time while stitching out your innermost thoughts and feelings. 


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