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In the Studio: Jessie Starbuck

Starbuck's inspiration is all over her walls

Photos by Joshua Boucher

November 21, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST

If Jessie Starbuck could decorate her entire house with furniture and décor from thrift stores, she probably would. Her home studio is located on North Eighth Street in a house that she remembers admiring when she went to Hickman High School. There is something on every wall, whether it’s a mural of a sun-drenched forest or a collage of posters. The layers of items in the studio mimic the layers of her artwork: a fanciful mix-and-match of pieces that somehow fit together.


Starbuck’s inspiration wall features yellowed pages from books and old postcards.
She also found pinned bugs, which she looks at while painting.

1. Inspiration Wall: Ever since she left art school, Starbuck always had a wall of her house covered with different posters, photos and pieces of paper that she thinks are beautiful. She finds old written postcards or pages from books at marketplaces. She loves the aesthetic of the yellowing edges. “It’s just something I’m drawn to,” she says.


Starbuck uses many different mediums, including acrylic paint, gouache, nail polish and Sharpie.

2. A Bug’s Life: The middle of Starbuck’s wall displays a case of bugs of different shapes and sizes. She isn’t sure if the bugs were real or not, but she thinks they’re beautiful regardless. She brings it to her art class to do projects with her students or uses it as her own source of inspiration. “I love to draw natural things, but then I like that I can sort of alter them a little bit.”


Her drafting table, which Starbuck thinks was used by a sculptor, has many gouges taken out of the surface.
Her boyfriend found it at a local antique store.

3. Piece of the Past: Starbuck’s boyfriend found her drafting table at the antique store Artichoke Annie’s. It was important for her to have a workplace that was movable and could tilt up and down. Tiny gouges speckle the surface of the wood. “I don’t know who had it before, but somebody used it for some kind of work,” Starbuck says. “I just like the idea that it has a history of use before I started using it.”

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