Artist Profile: Jessie Cave

‘You’ve wasted your twenties trying to be cool’

‘What else was I meant to do? Make a difference?’

Ever since following Jessie Cave on Instagram (@jessiecave) I look forward to her daily illustrations of funny and awkward moments between her quirky characters. She often depicts the fears we all experience at some point in daily interactions with friends and strangers, and often displays conversations that are brutally honest and frank. With an original and appealing style, Cave illustrates situations surrounding love and relationships including unsatisfying first dates and arguments about texting. Often her work is a response to the modern world, such as the increasing use of smartphones and a growing obsession with social media, and how these developments have an impact on our relationships with other people.

However, Cave’s work is not limited to depicting relationships; she also explores self-doubt and personal insecurities. This might sound quite disheartening to see, but Cave’s style has a comfort and reassurance which allows the viewer to feel okay with feeling lost and embarrassed. Through vibrant and child-like drawings, Cave makes adult situations of uncertainty feel acceptable. Daily problems reduced to quaint quips shows an understanding which makes the viewer feel less alone – there is an appreciation for their feelings even if your problems could be considered trivial. Cave’s work shows an awareness for the concerns of our generation which makes her art relevant and approachable.

Many people may recognise Cave from her role as Lavender Brown in the Harry Potter film franchise. Cave still pursues her acting, and in August 2015 while at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh I saw her wonderful one-woman show I Loved Her. She explored relationships and motherhood following the birth of her son, Donnie, in December 2014. Cave is open about the fact that her pregnancy followed a one night stand with her now boyfriend, the comedian Alfie Brown. In Cave’s own words to The Independent “we could have ended up hating one another, but we’ve ended up loving one another”. The show was creative and refreshing, using large cardboard cut outs of the characters from her illustrations, to inform the audience about her experience as a mother and her insecurities surrounding Alfie’s past romantic relationships. The honesty and sensitivity in Cave’s drawings came through in her performance, and the interactive element of using her artwork brought a whole new level to her creations; you felt immersed into her world of colourful cartoons. It is clear that motherhood has had an impact on Cave’s artwork in her drawings of babies discussing politics, with another telling their mum that they need some time alone. Like for most, being a mother is natural to Cave but also comes with its obstacles, which she displays brilliantly in both her live performances and illustrations.

Cave provides a strikingly realistic voice for our generation, in particular for those who feel out of place or confused. She is relatable for both young people and parents, by truthfully exploring daily difficulties and embarrassments, as well as the more sensitive topics of sex and vapid relationships.

If you like these illustrations, you can own a collection of Jessie Cave’s work in her book Love Sick, and follow her on Instagram for daily drawings and news on her show dates and YouTube channel uploads.

(all photos taken from Jessie Cave’s Instagram: @jessiecave)

Connie Adams

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