Jess Cochrane


For whatever reason, as I begin writing this I have become uncertain of how to spell. My brain decided to shit itself at the thought of writing something that will be judged by the eyes of many people. I’m certain that the point of this task is to show off how smart I am…and so far all I’ve managed to do is freak out, overthink and start this piece off with awkward rambling about how uncertain I am at this writing thing. The only thing I’ve proved so far is that my relationship with uncertainty is strong.

So, now that the rambling is out of the way I can attempt to share something useful. The only thing I can tell you about uncertainty from my personal experience is that it happens when we are afraid that something good might actually happen as the outcome of doing something we haven't encountered before.

For me, Uncertainty sits right next to the double P’s. Pressure and Perfectionism — UPP. If UPP was a person, he would be that person in your life that you always feel the need to impress. The kind of person that you’re too afraid to tell what you like for fear of being judged harshly. Sometimes you’re so intimidated by UPP that you would rather be a fence sitter.

To be honest, I am a pro at fence sitting. I am bloody good mates with that fence. I’ve spent a lot of my life with one leg on either side of it. Do I like being a designer? Do I like being an artist? Do I like painting in the traditional sense or do I like taking photos? Throughout my education I was uncertain a lot of the time. That uncertainty lead to a lot of chopping and changing of my university degree. Eventually I ended up with one leg on the design thinking side of the fence and the other leg on the art thinking side. I figured if I’m passionate about both I can just do this sort of funny waddle down both sides of the fence and eventually I’ll fall onto one side when I’m ready, as it’s too scary to pick one and lose out on the other. God forbid I trip and fall in the process.

Then one day that trip and fall arrived, but I didn’t land on one side only; I got an awkward wedgie. Smack bang, right in the middle. However, in doing this I completely broke the fence, allowing the two sides of my life to meet. Two different ways of thinking interacting for the very first time. Surprisingly, it turns out they like each other, and they actually make a great team. See, when I was learning about these two different sides of the fence, that asshole UPP would never let me combine the two. UPP put this pressure on me to be perfect at both but it never occurred to him that if you were to remove the fence, interesting ways of thinking and making could occur. Although initially tripping on the fence and breaking it was terrifying, it has changed how I create in a dramatically good way. It has allowed two sides of the fence to amalgamate and grow into something that is both individual and inclusive. 

Getting a wedgie was the key to abolishing my uncertainty. And as for UPP? Well I erased one on the P’s from his name and he turned into a direction for my future. So I guess in conclusion, this means that getting a wedgie is the way up.

Jess Cochrane

Jessica Cochrane is an Early Career Artist from Canberra currently based and practicing in Sydney, Australia.

Her work is a reflection upon the relationship between society and the consumption of Pop Culture. Heavily focused on contradictory aspects surrounding beauty and feminine standards which is achieved through painterly application over photographic images. Often working in large scale, the power within Cochrane's work is undeniable. 

In 2014 Cochrane's body of work 'Pretty Ugly' was nominated for the National Graduate Show at PICA, Perth. More recently, Cochrane has exhibited a stand out solo exhibition at Brisbane Powerhouse Museum in QLD and has also worked in collaboration with clients such as Groovin' The Moo,  The Ladies Network and The Lord Gladstone Hotel. 

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