Formerly known as Jessica Ward, Jessica Perner is an American artist who works primarily in graphite to create powerful drawings that possess a strong sociological voice. In Agana, Guam on May 14th 1982 Jessica Diane (Hewer) Perner was born. Growing up she traveled and lived in many places around the world because her father was an Officer in the USAF. She attended Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan and received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art - Drawing with a minor in Illustration. She continued to study at Kendall for a Master's in Fine Art - Drawing until moving to Los Angeles, California instead to break into the art world. There she had her first gallery show in 2008, and has been exhibiting her work in galleries internationally since. Ward’s art work is inspired by eating disorders, which she herself has struggled with with since adolescence. Her work focuses mainly on the female form and portrays women often wrapped in and bound by hordes of the female crowning glory, hair. These magical sorrowful tales are encrypted with messages about human sexuality, compulsion, weight obsession and conventional standards of beauty. Her style is reminiscent of vintage sewing pattern packages and nostalgic fashion illustration as it relates to her ability to beautifully capture the female form and face. Working exclusively in the drawing medium, she uses graphite, color pencils and chalk pastels on paper. It comes as no surprise that Perner's work is collected by artists and celebrities alike, because of her amazing skill in juxtaposing images of beauty and horror all at once. Ward currently resides in Marz, Austria and enjoys playing video games in her spare time.
~ Lana Gentry
She is a member of Strange Dream Surreal Art Collective as well as moonlighting as an art promoter through The Red Sirens which has merged with Strange Dreams. Other Collectives are Memento Tea Collective and Splendor Device.
"Drawing upon her dark past, Ward illustrates an unflinching look into the neurosis of young women in the face of society’s ideals. Working almost exclusively with graphite, her statuesque heroines are riddled with disorders that decay at their allure, rendering them both beautiful yet repugnant. Witness the stunningly beautiful, deformed nymphs from the mind of Ward”
- WWA Gallery 2012
“Jessica’s beautifully macabre artwork will seize your attention in an instant. The message that runs behind her depictions of dual-limbed temptresses that snack on their coiffures are much deeper than what meets the eye. Her graphite charm uncovers ugly truth in the realm of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Every spiral, skeleton and string of hair represents something different in her ward of mysterious mistresses.”
- The Hive Gallery & Studios 2010
Jessica Ward has a brilliantly dark mind. The majority of her work is black and white, which really helps to maintain her macabre aesthetic. The nature of her drawings feel sexual and violent, while tempting and frightening the viewer. She has an interesting series of drawings that depicts deities of various eating disorders. According to her bio, Jessica has struggled with eating disorders herself, so the diety series comes from a very personal place.
- Beautiful Decay Magazine 2010