Jessica Brilli Painter

As we are all coping with COVID and being isolated.  You have been painting.  Comment on, ‘The Neighbor’s House’.

Neighbor’s House, 9 x 12 inches, Acrylic on Panel

About the inspiration.

Being immersed in my neighborhood has opened my eyes to surroundings I previously overlooked. Along with painting, I’ve been using photography as a creative outlet — capturing the warm glow of windows on my evening walks. I find myself exploring local streets like William Eggleston might — inspecting vignettes that I would have rushed past pre-COVID.

Why you need to paint during this time?

I always need to paint, so that hasn’t really changed for me.


How has the lockdown affected you personally and your art?

The lockdown has giving me more time spend with art, since my studio is at home. This aspect of lockdown has been wonderful, but I wish the global pandemic wasn’t the reason for it.

Discuss your use of minimalism, using the ‘Road to Nowhere’.

I like to leave room for the viewer to create their own story. There are numerous possible scenarios, and I like to give the viewer the opportunity to interpret what’s happening based on their own experiences.  (Note: the composition is the center of the white background)

Road to Nowhere,  9.5″ x 28″ Acrylic and Oil on wood panel

You do lots of painting using pools as the focus, discuss this aspect of your work.

Concrete Beach, 16” x 20” Oil on Canvas

I’ve always loved swimming and spending time near pools, I find it peaceful, and it’s often where I like to be on vacations.

Visiting from New York, 15” x 19” Print, Signed and numbered edition of 20


Discuss your use of dramatic shadows and bright light.

Caddy in Carport ,36″ x 48″ Oil on Canvas

Scenes with dramatic light/shadows are generally more interesting to me. They are much more dynamic than scenes without a strong light source.

Take two car paintings and explain the necessity for accuracy in these works.

JoAnne, 50″ x 72″ Oil on Canvas


I like to be accurate in general when it comes to painting, but it’s especially important when painting cars, because fans of the specific car in the painting will know if it’s inaccurate, and that can take away from their enjoyment of the piece.

Heading East, 24″ x 30″ Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

You use both oil on wood and oil on canvas.  What makes you choose one material over the other?

Usually I paint larger pieces on canvas and smaller ones on wood panel. Larger paintings on wood can get quite heavy.

Long Division, 16″ x 16″ Oil on Panel

Much of your work is a retake of the past discuss.

I prefer the aesthetic of the past to current scenes. I don’t feel the need to paint current scenes, because I’m experiencing these times first hand. Scenes from the past feel a bit more mysterious, and dreamlike.

January 67, 24 x 24″” Oil on Canvas

How has your personal environment influenced your art?

I think so. The pool scenes definitely echo experiences from my childhood, and the suburban scenes are rooted in my upbringing on Long Island, NY. My father was in the car business, so cars were discussed a lot in our household.

Impala, 40″ x 40″ Oil on Canvas

You comment, ‘using 35mm Kodachrome slides …. we insert our own lives into these scenes’, discuss.

The images that I draw inspiration from are common to many of us. In looking through thousands of slides and photos you see themes that are present in many American lives. From birthday parties to family vacations, many of us have these shared experiences, and strongly relate to imagery of these scenes.

Rose, 24″ x 18″, Oil on Wood Panel


Jessica Brilli

Jessica Brilli <

Deborah Blakeley, Melbourne, Australia

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, May 2020