This past year I attended the glamorous Tribeca Ball benefiting the New York Academy of Art. What a fabulous evening and how amazing it was to see so much talent and brilliance. Among the select artists’ works there, Jesse Stern’s gorgeous portraits really struck me. I was so taken, in fact, that I quite promptly commissioned him to do a portrait of me! We’re rather pleased with the results, to say the least, and are thrilled to share said portrait with you!
Stern tells us he’s had a life-long interest in art and drawing, with his earliest inspirations being found in comic strips and adventure/fantasy books. In high school he started to draw self-portraits and he realized, through what he calls his “clumsy attempts,” that there was great possibility in the graphite medium. Stern moved to Brooklyn in 2004 (he’d drifted a bit after college where he’d started to write fiction), and seemingly out of the blue, a friend who worked in marketing, (and knew that Stern had had a gift for drawing), asked him to do some illustration and promotional postcards. Stern was paid $500 for an illustration—and as one might imagine, this planted the thought in the young Stern’s mind that there was some money in this somewhat neglected talent of his. He also knew that he had to hone his skills as an artist to move forward, and so he signed up for some art classes. It wasn’t until meeting a young self-supporting artist (several years Stern’s junior) by chance at a pool hall, however, that Stern really committed to his craft, pledging to give up his somewhat wayward life for a solid year of intensive artistic work.
With some effort, he felt he had improved and thus applied to the School of Visual Arts in NYC, only to be rejected from their masters program in illustration. Stern’s initial sense of disappointment gave way to the realization that the fine arts program at the New York Academy of Art was a better fit, and so it was there, in 2012, that he completed his MFA in painting.
Stern’s current passion lies in portraiture and still life drawing, and we’re thrilled to see that his career is off to a spectacular start—he’s already completed illustrating a children’s book, and is receiving commissions for his fine art. We here at WIJW are thrilled to share some of his brilliance with our global audience—and trust you’ll make him a resource for beautiful drawings and portraits.