Piano Portfolio is up!

So I didn't quite make it in time for Throw Back Thursday but the 2015 SFH Piano Portfolio/gallery is up! There are photos tracking the process from concept sketch to its time on the streets. I know several of you went to visit it so, if you have a favorite pic of you and the piano you'd like to share, please send it my way and I'll add it - dreamscapesink@gmail.com.  The gallery is in the Portfolios section or you can just look here:

I'm still trying to figure out how to use iMovie (perhaps not my forte).  As soon as I manage something vaguely watchable I'll post some video clips.  There were some great performances I'd like to share with you.  Stay tuned (hint: If one of ya'll have editing skills and want to help that would be awesome)! 

Have a Happy 4th of July and I'll talk to ya'll soon :)

Piano Countdown & New Links!

AAAGGGHHH!!!! I'm so excited! The pianos hit the streets in 2 DAYS!!! I can't wait :)

To add to the excitement, Sing for Hope just launched it's interactive Pianos website.  Which includes an interactive map showing where all the pianos are and who made them, offers directions through google maps and has links to each artist's info.  A link to my artist page is HERE.  You should totally go check it out.  I actually managed to write something coherent (which is impressive as it was 2 am after a bus ride back from VA on the day before it was due because yes, I have a slight procrastination problem when it comes to writing about my work). 

I also wanted to take this moment to request something of YOU my much loved supporters.  If you happen to go see my piano, please, please, please, take a pic of yourself with it and send it to me or post to Twitter or Instagram or whatever social media you use and @dreamscapesink me :) Sing for Hope would also love it if you tagged the images with #sfhpianos and/or #artforall.  I'm going to build a SFH Piano 2015 gallery in the Portfolios section of my website to house all the pics from the pianos' time on the streets so the more the merrier.  THANK YOU!!!!

Take care, enjoy your day and I look forward to seeing you on the streets!

Picture courtesy of Sing for Hope Piano Artist Zi Zi in the final days in the piano studio! I was frantically working on outlining.

PIANO!!! Location Announcement & More Pics!

This a bit belated but YAY!!! Sing for Hope announced where the pianos will be located this year and mine will be at the DUMBO Archway! Very cool :) More information about the DUMBO archway and surrounding area can be found HERE.  All of the piano locations are listed HERE so you can go see them all :)

Here are some pics of the finished  piano:

I also wanted you to be able to see a few pics of the front when the music desk is up (the top is screwed down while it's on the street so you won't be able to see it in person):

I'm working on setting up a few concerts at my piano.  Stay tuned for details. Hope to see you all at the DUMBO Archway soon!

Piano Progression in Pictures - 2 month catch up

To catch you up on the SFH piano creation process, here is a pictorial overview of everything - pics start to (almost) finish of the whole process.  TIME WARP!

   See you on the streets in a couple of weeks with the finished product :D

Hospitals, Pianos and Plays Oh My!

So I've been off the map for a long time now.  Nearly two months since my last posting.  Life happened with a vengeance at the end of March.  My dad was hospitalized for nearly a month and my family spent a lot of weeks in and out of the hospital.  Scary times.  It's amazing how everything else fades to relative unimportance when the life of someone you love is in danger.  I'm glad I was able to go home and be there for my family.  I know it's a cliche but it really made me look at my life and what was most important to me.  Things like this make you confront how precious and precarious and short our time here is.  How do you want to spend it?  My answer is being with the people I love and making art.  Nice to eat well, sleep well, and dance as often as possible,  but that's my main list.  I need to create and I need to love and they are pretty much the same thing for me - manifestations of love.  Love of the world as it is.  Love of the world as I'd like it to be.  Love of the process to get from one to the other.  

The past two months have been full of a lot of less than desirable things - hospitals, fear, sleepless nights and tears.  However, they have also been full of some amazing things - friends and neighbors offering help and support, time with dear friends and family, beautiful spring days and a heightened appreciation for every little thing I find beautiful and comforting.  New eyes and an intensely grateful soul.  

Also on the good things front, when I was in New York I was lucky enough to be working as a studio assistant for a good friend and fellow artist, Tarra Bandet, who just opened her first solo show at The Richard J. Massey Foundation for Arts and Sciences in Chelsea.  Her work is beautiful and the show is stunning.  If you are in NYC over the next couple of months you should make an appointment and go see it.  I spent a lot of hours helping with the mosaic piece - tweezers and tiny pieces of glass - I'm an expert now ;)

I've also been working on my Sing For Hope Piano whenever possible.  Now that my Dad is doing better, I've been up in NYC working like a fiend to finish it up.  I'll be posting separately with more specific updates.  I hope all of you will come check it out when it's on the streets in June (June 5th - 20th to be exact).  Here's a pic of part of the almost finished top as a teaser:

Here's a pic of the almost finished top of my baby grand piano.  Glass and grout and FINALLY PAINT!!! Fianl pics will come when it's on the streets - maybe with you?!?!?!

 Also on the horizon is the first work in progress showing of a play I've been developing with some amazingly talented women - Tina Mitchell, Virginia Logan, Beth Ann Hopkins & Kelley Swindall.  An excerpt of The Graces is coming to the SOAK Festival June 5th and 6th at Leimay in Brooklyn.  Come check it out if you are in the area. 

So, like I said, a lot of amazing to go with the not so amazing.  Life - it keeps you juggling and balancing.  Now that my tightrope is broadening a bit, keep an eye out for more frequent postings.  Check out the Dreamcatcher over the next few days as I'll be updating it with a backlog of dream submissions and the Recycling Center should be seeing some action too. 

Take care, hug your loved ones early and often and I'll be talking to ya soon. 


First a big THANK YOU to those of you who have already donated to the Indigogo campaign. You guys are the best! You started things off with a bang :) Four days in and we're already half way to the goal!

Thanks to your contributions I got started that very day - Monday.  I bought a bunch of mirrors and some adhesive and went to work!  I sketched out a version of the design for the top of the piano that I liked in charcoal and then figured out mirror placement based on that.  Then it was time to glue! Here are some of the results:

The studio closed early that day so I packed it in while plotting my moves for Tuesday which were...PAPER MACHE!!! I'm going to take this moment to express how much I love paper - at the moment, paper in the form of Celluclay.  Ok, that was a moment.  Time for texture for those feathery bits. Here's the progression:

I won't be back in the studio until the weekend but I am plotting out the next steps - GLASS! Now folks, glass is gorgeous, but expensive.  So, if you like the way this is going and want to help me out, please consider donating to my Indiegogo campaign.  Click HERE to do so.  If you want to share the link, the short URL is http://igg.me/at/JessiPiano2015.  THANKS!

I'll be in touch this weekend with more progress!  Have a super week!



Hello Everyone!  I'm happy to announce I was selected to create another piano  for SING FOR HOPE PIANOS 2015!! Sing for Hope is an amazing nonprofit who's mission is to make art accessible to all. Sing for Hope rescues pianos that would otherwise be trashed, tunes and rehabilitates them, and then invites artists/partner groups/sponsors to paint or otherwise decorate them.  These gorgeous pianos are then placed in different locations around the 5 boroughs of NYC for two weeks in June for the public to view, play and generally enjoy.  The pianos that are still in good enough shape after their time on the streets are then donated to schools, hospitals and other organizations that would not otherwise be able to afford an instrument. All artists (yes, that includes me) work on a volunteer basis - it's a true labor of love. 

I'm super excited about the new piano. I'm working on a baby grand this year and I've already got her sanded and ready to go. Sing for Hope generously provides the piano, a wonderful workspace and basic paints and varnishes. However, any additional materials the artists wish to use must be provided by the artist.  As you may know from last time, paint is never enough for me (see my earlier blog posts here in Inkblots and Chickenscratch or check out my SFH Piano 2013 portfolio).  This year's piano is going to feature mirrors, glass and subtle sculptural forms made from paper-mache and other materials.  This is where you guys come in.  I need help raising money for the materials I need to realize my vision for this year's piano.  So, if you enjoyed my previous pianos, or other artistic endeavors, and would like to take an active role in supporting a new one, please consider donating. Every dollar makes a difference and will go to purchasing materials for the piano.  Please CLICK HERE to learn more and donate.  THANK YOU!!!


Here there and Everywhere - Part 2

Happy Tuesday!  It's gray outside but it's still reasonably warm so I am happy :) Spring is coming.

Last time I left off after my beach adventures so today I thought I'd do a 180 and focus on man made beauty - namely the amazing street art I saw in LA.  The concrete jungle is covered in amazing murals and graffiti! It seemed like there were paintings on buildings everywhere I looked and I loved it! The only downside was that most of what I saw whizzed past so fast (out the window of the car) that I couldn't get my camera up in time to capture the images. However, I did manage to snag a few and I thought I'd share them with you.  Here are a few pics I managed to take out of the car window (one of the few times I was grateful for the crazy slow traffic). I wish I could tell you where in LA to find these but I have no idea where I was when I took them other than from a car window somewhere in the urban sprawl...

My best mural day was when my aunt and I went to Downtown LA for two events.  One was to check out the West coast version of Artists and Fleas. The street we parked on was lined in murals.  One of them totally looked like it could be the skeleton of one of the Mystics from The Dark Crystal.  

This one was just delightful silliness.  Squirrel butt!

Of course there was also some random blah's:

Later that day we went on our second Downtown adventure - the LA arts district. Pretty much every building - from restaurants to parking structures - had it's own mural. Here are some of my favorites:

Fun and colorful and inspiring.  Makes me want to paint so that's exactly what I'm going to do! Take care, have fun and more will be coming soon :)

Here, there and everywhere - Part 1

Hi everyone!  I know it's been awhile.  I've been on a few adventures over the past two weeks and decided to just revel in them and write about them later.  Later is now :)  

One of the things that I have been doing with this gift of time is embarking on as many adventures - visual and otherwise - as possible to help "feed the well" of my creativity.  Seeing and doing new things really gets my juices flowing and helps to see things from different perspectives. Thanks to my fabulous aunt and her partner, I had the opportunity to go to LA for a week.  It was amazing! I got a break from the bitter NY cold, saw some amazing art and architecture (street and museum), saw some great performances by local dance troupes, reconnected with an old friend, ate way too much, and got to revel in some of Mother Nature's glory.  It was inspiring and rejuvenating and I am extremely grateful for the experience.  I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking but there will be some commentary too. So this isn't too epically long, I'm breaking down the trip into smaller bites.  For today, let's look at Mama Nature 'cause boy is she beautiful!  

It all started with the plane trip out west.  I got a window seat as per usual because I have never gotten over the joy of looking out the window of a plane and seeing our world from above - whether it's an earth landscape or a cloudscape - I am entranced every time.  I know I posted some of these pics in The Recycling Center but you are getting some of them again because GORGEOUS :)

After hours of beautiful, bird's-eye-views of all those stunning landscapes, I landed at LAX to flowers, palm trees, concrete and blissfully warm weather (good-bye puffy, sleeping bag coat! It was only in the 60s but after a month of sub-zero temps it felt amazing). First stop was Manhattan Beach because all I wanted was ocean and sand.  

Happiness is sunset on the beach.

My aunt and I stopped at for some nourishment and a grand view of the sunset at The Strand House.  It's right on the beach - whole wall of windows looking out over the ocean.  I highly recommend going if you are in the area.  Gorgeous place and amazing view. What did we have? House made donuts and frites - just because you're in California doesn't mean you have to eat healthy ;) I resisted the urge to take foodie pics - which felt virtuous at the time but I'm regretting it a bit now.  

Right, right, we're supposed to be focusing on Mama Nature.  So, the next day was supposed to be the nicest (warmest) day of the trip so I decided I needed to just spend it at the beach.  There's something incredibly soothing about walking on the beach, the sound of the wind and surf just clears/drowns everything else out - forced into the ever-present-now as waves curl around your ankles and sand squishes between your toes. There's miles of houses and concrete and people so close, then this ribbon of sand and then acres of ocean and blue haze.  Gorgeous, peaceful, invigorating and calming at once.  So much to absorb - colors and textures, light and reflections.

I also spent some time walking out on the piers.  Between long periods of gazing out to sea, I was struck by a number of things: the pigeons taking a shower on the fish cleaning sink, the beautifully pitted wood on the tops of the railings, and all the Warning signs cautioning people not to eat the fish and shellfish - long lists of what to avoid due to contamination in the water. Worrisome considering the number of people I saw out there with fishing rods...

I also did a lot of covert people watching.  I always want to take pics of folks I see but I feel too weird taking pics of strangers - mostly because it's really hard to do it without people noticing and getting self-conscious - you lose the moment. However, I admit that if I had an unnoticeable mini-cam in my glasses/sunglasses I would totally use it.  That probably makes me a bit creepy but it's the truth.  Anyway, mental pics only of all the intriguing faces I saw.  There was a couple, both covered in a mix of beautiful and not-so-beautiful-to-me tattoos, sitting on one of the benches in an intimate tete-a-tete.   Two friends with a camera on a pole taking panoramic selfies of themselves.  Fisherman, sprinkled at intervals across the pier drinking beers and water.  Two teenage boys (probably hooking school) doing pull-ups on the struts underneath the pier and, later on, "sledding" down one of the sand dunes on a boogie board.  Sometimes when I'm out and about absorbing people and places, little fragments drop in - some are almost poetry, others are just...fragments.  Anyway, this one stopped by during one of my pier walks:

Ink my story on my skin

Lessons learned the hard way

Pain and blood


                                           I gave myself

 Temporary gifts

                                  For long term understanding.


There is none.

We strive for it

                             but everything fades


becomes unrecognizable.

Time and distance

                                    Sags and curls






Out of shape and reason.

Time tethers us and sets us free.


On that note, I''m signing off for today as time is telling me I have other things to attend to.  Back soon with Part !!. 


The Never-ending Process of Progress or Another New Beginning

Hello and welcome!  For those of you who don't know me, I'm Jessi.  I'm a multidisciplinary artist and pretty much everything I do revolves around connection and isolation, the masks we wear, and our desire and fear of being seen.  

Like most artists, I have cobbled together a living through various means at various times.  Due to a generous gift from my family, I have some time to focus solely on my art.  I'm "taking the donuts" (if you don't know what I mean go get yourself a copy of "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer ASAP- you'll be glad you did) .   I'm using this time to make new work and get a few projects I've been dreaming about for years off the ground (go check out the Recycled Dreams section of the website, it's the first one!).   I'm also using it to write this blog.  I've been writing Morning Pages for over six years now (if you don't know what those are - check out "The Artists Way" ) but I have a bone deep terror of writing for public consumption.  I'm trying to get over that.  I'm looking for strategies of getting out of my own way and holding myself accountable - accountable for following my own dreams despite my fears.  I've been realizing I'm afraid of a lot of things.  Afraid of failure.  Afraid of success.  Afraid of what other people will think of me.  Afraid of what I think of me.  I have a really vicious inner critic.  I think most of us do.  However, I've also realized that, internet trolls aside, most folks will give you a lot more leeway than you give yourself. That's what I'm banking on anyway.   So, this will be my daily blog about this ever evolving art/life process.

Speaking of process, I want to do my best to document process as much as product.  I'm a process junkie.  I love seeing process.  Seeing/experiencing completed artwork (whether it's visual art, theater, music - whatever) is fantastic but part of the joy, for me, is trying to figure out how the artist/s got there.  I want to know how.  I want to see the technique.  I want to see the "mistakes."  I want to see the brains, the mess, the "ah-ha!" moments, the hair-tearing, the page flips and the belly-flops.  The things that changed, that didn't make it in, the possibilities for next time. I want to see how people got there.  How-to videos and books are wonderful things in my universe.  Classes with teachers that demonstrate are the best.  Open studios where artists are actually practicing in front of you make my heart sing.  The rehearsal process for a play...man I wish more people could get in on those. The work, the practice, the process - I sometimes think they are more important than the product.  It's where you learn so many things - persistence, what does and does not work for you, where you realize "mistakes" can be genius, where failure to do what you intended can lead to glory.  It's where you are allowed to fail spectacularly.  We're so afraid of failure in our society.  So image conscious, so afraid to have people see us messy and disheveled and in pieces.  But we are all that way at some point and it's the mess we usually can relate to.   We rarely find anything worth having without fucking up a few times along the way.  So this blog - and the ones  for the projects - are to document process, attempts, the struggle to get things out and make things work.  I expect a lot won't work.  There will be fragments and pieces and days of blah.  But hopefully there will also be magic and successes and ways through.  I'm going to try to get out of my own way, past the fear of judgement (mine and yours) and put it all out there anyway.  If we can't support failure, we can't support success either because you don't have one without the other. If we want an open, creative, accepting society - and I do - then we have to let ourselves be seen, and trust each other with the mess and the success.  So this is me, trusting you and I hope you come to trust me too and share your stories along the way.  Thanks for reading and we'll talk tomorrow. 

I was walking down Madison Ave with my friend Elizabeth talking about needing to finish this website and start my blog when we saw this.  Sometimes the universe backs you up in the best ways.  Who would have thought the Barney's Christmas windows would be a motivating force? Thanks Baz Luhrmann!


Superbowl XLVII - PIANO 2014

FINALLY! I get to talk about THIS!!!! 

Yes my friends - if you read that article, you read it right - a piano I designed & painted, along with high school students from Sing for Hope's educational programs, will be at THE SUPER BOWL!!!!


I designed the top & front around Times Square.  The piano lurking in the background was designed and painted by Jessie Jo Warner and her parents, Kurt & Brenda Warner (yes, NFL  Kurt Warner  and no, I did't get to meet him)

I designed the top & front around Times Square.  The piano lurking in the background was designed and painted by Jessie Jo Warner and her parents, Kurt & Brenda Warner (yes, NFL Kurt Warner and no, I did't get to meet him)

I worked with 11 students from Sing for Hope's arts education classes. The NFL requested a New York themed piano so I had each of them tell me what their favorite part of NYC was and why. Using source images of the places they chose, they designed (singly & in teams) compositions of those places, transferred them to the sides of the piano & painted them (most of them in under 4 hours).   I connected all of their pieces with silhouettes I added of people going about their lives.  The NY masses! People watching was an activity mentioned by a good half of the students and, as it's one of my favorite activities, it seemed appropriate to have the piano crawling with people.  Here's some pics of their work (click on the images for a full view):

Since all of them were such rock stars, I decided they all needed to have their faces on billboards in Times Square - or at least on my piano version of Times Square.  So I painted all of their portraits on the top of the piano.  I painted 13 portraits in TWO DAYS! That's a personal record for me.  Here are some detail shots (click to expand photos):

The piano has already been moved to the IZOD center (where the NFL pre-game party/concerts will be held) .  For all of ya'll who are actually going to the Superbowl, it will be right at the front entrance of the IZOD Center so, go say hi, take your pic next to the piano and send it to me!!!! I'll post them here on the Superbowl Piano page.

Stay tuned for more updates!  Thanks as always for checking in :)

Sing For Hope Time Warp #4

Hi All.  Very belatedly, here are finished piano pics along with pictures from it's time on the streets.  It was in Greeley Square for two weeks and then on Lincoln Center Plaza for the closing day festivities.  It was wonderful to see so many people playing the piano and interacting with it and with each other.  There were impromptu concerts, sing-a-longs and swing dancing.  I met a bunch of wonderful people and it was really lovely so see so many kids and adults enjoying the piece.  This entire experience has been wonderful and it's great to know the piano will have a life after this as well.

Now enough of me talking - here are the pics:

Sing For Hope Piano Time Warp #3: COLOR!

This is the second post today.  What can I say - I'm a feast or famine type-o-gal. So about half an hour ago I left you hanging with the piano primed ina ghostly all white state.  Finally the really fun part - adding color!  That first brush stroke is always the hardest.  Where to begin?  Right smack dab in the center of course!

Sunset colors and a beating hand/heart
I eventually got rid of that green fingernail but it was fun for a hot second.

Then I needed some connectors - part wave, part vine, part tree branches/roots (you'll see as it evolves)

Some of these lines became hair too - multi-purpose - I like it.  It's all in how you look at it.

I was thinking of the arms as waves.  There were a lot of nature elements to this - a real feeling of the timelessness and cycles of growing things and the ebb and tide of water - endless ocean.  I was listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine.


So the back alone took about a week but it was totally worth it :)

Now the next challenge - pulling everything around the sides. I started here:


I knew it needed more work but wasn't sure what came next so I started on the fornt to give my subconscious sometime to work it out and/or to see if I just needed another part to be done for it to fall into place.

That little face profile ended up disappearing - didn't belong.

Remember how I mentioned tree feelings? This is what started happening on the front:


I added some color to the top too at this point.  Starting to feel the time crunch so was trying to work multiple bits at once.


This post is getting epically long.  Then again it was a pretty epic process so I guess that fits.  I'm going to leave you with a pic of the mostly finished top and expanded front:


Next post - the final side and finished product pics!

Sing for Hope Time Warp #2

Ok, ok, I know, bad blogger. Here we are into week two of my piano on the street and I still haven't finished my time warp! Which is bad because I have so many new things to show you about this week on the street and the amazing people I've met at my piano. So this post is mostly going to be pics of the piano evolving so we can get up to present day ASAP. So we left off with Amanda's face on the right side of the piano and a need for more body parts ;) Here's the evolution from that point on in pictures:

I added three more faces.

I added some hands to the top front

Decided there needd to be more faces on the other side.

Then I did a bunch of priming - FYI priming sucks. That stuff sticks to everything and stinks like you wouldn't believe. Also, it's a real pain to get out of brushes. However it is necessary and made the piano nice and spooky white. Take a look:

Back primed

Right side primed

Then, after doing a late night casting session with Sonia (THANK YOU SONIA) it was time to deal with the top of the piano. Enter the dreamers:

Dreamer one

Dreamer 2

Then more priming and gessoing (I used the super thick Liquitex gesso on all the plaster pieces - that stuff is awesome).

Primed front

Primed & Gesso-ed back & top

Primed & gesso-ed Left Side

And then it was finally time for paint! Next post = COLOR :)

Sing For Hope Piano - Time Warp Part 1

Hello All! So about two months ago I started telling you about my Piano adventure with Sing for Hope.  I then got so busy making the piano I had no time to write about it!  However, I did document the piano's evolution in pictures.  As we lead up to the public unveiling of all 88 pianos I thought I'd bring you all up to speed by going back in time and tracking the piano's evolution.  So, where did I leave off...oh yes - the back of the piano.  As of my last post, all that was on was the central face and my heart/hands and I was about to have a plastering party!

Easter Sunday I had a plastering party (the invites might have read something like come and get plastered while you get plastered).  Many thanks to all who came out and let me cover them in vaseline and plaster gauze :) Here's a pic - sorry I don't have more.  If any of you who were there want to send me the ones I know you have on your phones - please do so!

Me being Vanna White while Sonia patiently waits for the plaster to dry.

After my plastering party it was back to the piano studio! Here is how the rest of the piano evolved over the next week.

First there was one arm (Al's arm to be precise):

IMG_3586Then there were 2 (that's either Tina or Virginia - tragically I have forgotten - swiss cheese for brains sometimes):

IMG_3587Then came third (that one is Sonia):


Here's another angle because it looks cool:

IMG_3589Then I added a 4th arm and a bunch of faces - Obviously I neglected to document in the middle - probably due to plaster covered hands and my nightly race against the clock:

IMG_3594Just FYI we are up to Wednesday, April 3rd.  I said I'd get you to the end of the week right? Right.  So I did this Thursday night:

IMG_3599And then I needed more body parts so I took Friday night off.  Stay tuned for what happened the following week!

Sing For Hope Piano - It Begins!

As some of you may know, I submitted a proposal to be one of the artists for Sing For Hope's annual Sing for Hope Piano Project and I was accepted!!!  I am essentially creating a bas-relief on the piano using plaster and papier-mache casts of a whole bunch of people from all over NYC.  Aiming for a 3D variation of my Black & White and Color work on a  PIANO :)  So exciting!

Last week was my first week in the piano studio working on my piano.  Here is a pic of me & my piano at he beginning aka the BEFORE PICTURE:

Me & My Piano BEFORE PIC

I mentioned I'm casting a lot of people right?  This includes some fabulous young people from Still Waters in a Storm. Check out some pics from our casting session:

Kid Casting 2_3_27_2013 Kid Casting 3_27_2013

Fun right?!?!

So I went straight from that casting session to the piano studio.  So then the piano looked like this:


And then like this:

Piano_Arm & 1 Face copy

Then this:

Piano_Arm & 2 Faces 2 copy

Then it was late  and I had to leave.  But I went back the next night and did this:

Piano_Arm & 3 faces copy

Then I thought I should work on the back a bit:

Piano_Back with Face & Heart Hands copy

Then I realized I needed more/different body part casts.  So I'm throwing a plastering part this weekend.  Stay tuned for updates :)

Enjoy your weekend!