The COVID-19 pandemic forced almost all facets of life to go virtual this year.
Even art has had to go online. Salado artist Jessica Mall had to make that decision for her new art show called “Pieced Together,” which is presented by her business, J.Genevieve.
“Going mainly virtual with my work was half based in necessity, half based in a conscious choice, given all things COVID-19,” Mall said. “I know the ability to wear or not wear pants at will in Zoom meetings is a nice option to have and all, but on the other hand, we’re also all so, so tired of screens — myself included.”
“Regardless of how I feel though, virtual life really is a lifeline in this moment in so many ways. I’m lucky to be able to utilize it the way I am,” she added.
“Pieced Together” is a collection of Mall’s photography from this year. The virtual art show is free. Visit https://jgenevieve.com/portfolio/art/ to view “Pieced Together.” It is available through Dec. 31, according to J.Genevieve.
Mall said the gallery is about, “looking at the fragments, sensing what’s there versus getting caught up in what’s not, beginning to piece together something new and see a new way come to the surface that you wouldn’t have seen before.”
Although Mall had to shift her show online, she has some suggestions for people to get a richer experience while looking at her art. And the suggestions all are focused on people’s other senses: taste, texture, scent and sounds.
Mall has curated a playlist on Apple Music for people to play as they peruse through “Pieced Together.”
She has a suggested cocktail — a grapefruit mimosa that is heavier on the champagne than the juice.
It is “in honor of my Grandma Char who passed this year. While we didn’t have a particularly deep connection, there was, of course, love for each other. I always remember her sparkling whether it was the twinkle in her eye, the gleam off her latest Cadillac or the bounce in her step. And grapefruit. For some reason, there was always grapefruit,” Mall states in “Pieced Together.” “Enjoy a cocktail with me to honor her and because, why not?!”
The suggested texture is the feel of a new Moleskine journal, and the ideal scent is shea moisture raw shea butter hydrating body lotion with frankincense and myrrh.
“Is this the same as presenting work or working with people in person? No, there are so many nuances that are lost,” Mall said. “Do I want to get back to hanging an actual show in a literal space? Absolutely. And that dynamic will come back. But I’m also a single mother with a new business that was barely off the ground when the dumpster fire that is 2020 hit.”
J.Genevieve, a creative brand and gallery, opened last June. In the pre-coronavirus era, Mall offered photo sessions, hosted events and more at her headquarters in Salado.
Mall, who has 20 years of photography experience, has described her style as “artistic photojournalism.”
The photographer has shifted most of her business online to Patreon, a platform that enables artists and content creators to offer monthly subscriptions to their work and other services. She offers virtual, interactive art practice and exclusive looks into how she crafts her long-term projects and other art. Memberships start at $5 a month.
“There’s a lot more to consider when you add the dynamics of motherhood on top of owning a business, and an art-based business at that,” Mall said. “If there’s a way that maximizes my efforts so that I can preserve every dollar to keep food on the table for my kids and roof over our heads, create an adaptable business structure and at the same time not neglect the social responsibility to our collective health, I’m going to go with that.”