Artist Spotlight: Jessie Zee’s Furry Tales

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Last month I finally got around to writing a small article on an artist based in my home town, who I happen to be a big fan of. I first encountered Jessie’s work a few years ago at a local music festival and ended up buying a large canvas painting of a girl wearing a squid on her head, that now resides in my partners study.

Her comic “Furry Tales” is really cute and sexy with a lot of humour and as with other recent comics such as the excellent Sex Criminals, it presents human sexuality in a playful manner. While it is predominantly very silly it was still refreshing to see a female character in such a role of promiscuity but looked upon through the lens of openness, and totally lacking in the judgement that usually attached to such presentations of self actualisation.

The original article written for Browse magazine can be found here, or can be read below.

Jessie Zee- Furry Tales

By Jason Karlson

Let me to tell you this outright: there was simply no way I could have passed up on this comic. I am programmed to, in certain situations, bypass the logical, frugal penny-pinching northern portion of my brain, and instead direct my hands deep into lint-lined pockets and start forking over the cash. Encountering a comic called “Furry Tales” – with a story entitled “Gertrude, the Pig Fucker” – is exactly one of those situations. The title alone was enough.

“Gertrude, The Pig Fucker.” Seriously, I’m convinced that if I hadn’t snatched it up right there and then it probably have materialised onto my bookshelves anyway, having worked its way inconspicuously between a couple of volumes of X-Men or betwixt the pages of Watchmen.

“I wanted something funny and smutty with nice colours and visuals!” explains Jezzy Zee, Illustrator, Designer, Live Painter and the general creative darling behind Furry tales and the world of Gertrude. A playful technicloured world, where pop culture staples run amok, free to squeeze and fondle and fuck. A legal department baiting creation where the boy who lived romps around a basement with horny ninja turtles, mutants and video game characters as Gertrude works to lift the spirits of a forlorn Catwoman. “To get technical, the comic was about a society of clones that awoke after the world has been destroyed,” says Jess. “Away from the influences of our society, the clones created their own, one that is very hedonistic”. The bawdy and flirtatious tone continues unabated as childhood playthings such as dress-me up-dolls and top trumps are transformed, in the spirit of a seaside postcard, into something far more titillating. “I am a very open person anyway, with any aspect of life. I guess that just reflects in my work,” Jess says of the comic and her work in general. “I didn’t really consider how people would react to my comic; I just did it because it was a laugh. The fact that I’ve sold many of them and people seem to like it is just a wonderful bonus. It makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing”

Although she recently moved to Cardiff for University, Jess remains active in the Hull arts scene; alongside other local art stalwarts such as Snapper, Hollypot and Hayley Hyuga whose work is featured alongside her own in Furry Tales, as well as live painting at Humber Street Sesh for the last two years and a regular fixture at Fruits Art and Beer nights. “There’s a big part of me that remains in Hull” says Jess of her hometown “with it being such a small city, you do tend to know who everyone is. Overall, I think the attitude from everyone is lovely and supportive, I think there’s a lot of major individuals that work towards bringing the community together, and I really hope that continues, and I can’t wait to be home for the summer!”

You can find more of Jess’ artwork at both jessyzeee.tumblr.com and facebook.com/JessyZeeCreative. The Furry Tails comic, as well as prints, are still on sale at jessyzee.bigcartel.com

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