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23rd Key


Jess began her foray into art in 2005, first exhibiting her work in 2008, and has spent most of her time toiling over a table ever since. Under the pseudonym 23rd Key, she creates photo-realistic stencils, taking no shortcuts and cutting everything by hand. With a background in Printmaking, Graphic Design, Audio Engineering and Architecture, she brings the knowledge from each of these into her unmistakable photo-realistic style.

Why is Locker Room Talk important to you?

I think the idea of challenging the notion of locker room talk is a really powerful and empowering concept. I think that it promotes the potential for us to have important conversations around topics that some of us have varying degrees of experience in and sharing those with other people, which I've always found to be really educational and validating.

How can we, both as individuals and as asociety, help encourage body positivity?

I think we've seen a lot more progress with things like this in recent times and that it will hopefully only get better, however I've always found it really remarkable the way we as a society tend to set these unachievable benchmarks for ourselves. I had a conversation with my nephews recently who are both under 10 years of age about mindfulness and it filled me with a real sense that the generations to come will hopefully be raised with more of the tools that myself and a lot of my friends growing up struggled with in both mental and emotional development and self-care. I guess the easy answer is to try to go about everything we do with more kindness and open mindedness.

If you had the chance, what’s something you’d like to tell your 16 year-old self?

If I had the many things. I don't know if this is across the board for most people, but I feel like the amount of things that I had to unlearn from my teens almost outweighs the amount I've learned since being a teenager. I don't know if it would have helped to tell myself anything though or if those are just growing pains, since telling myself anything probably wouldn't have made much of a difference and it's all just part of the path we need to walk toward self discovery.

How does your job fit into your life - does it feel like a 9-5, or maybe it’s more of a calling?

I've worked a lot of different jobs over the years, however, I've never worked a traditional 9-5. I've never been able to bring myself to work within that sort of mold, I sleep 'strange' hours and just find that for me working 9-5 hours doesnt lead to me being able to maintain a work life balance I'd be happy with. Being a creative, I've always balanced part-time non-creative jobs in order to maintain financial freedom that allows a sense of curation over what creative jobs I do decide to take, making it possible for me to toe a line between working a job and doing what I love creatively. I also find working part time jobs on the side means I have enough time to be creative without burning out.

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