Talented artist Jess Bush together with a wonderful group of children have collaborated on a mural depicting what a connected future means to them. She talks to Rick Molinsky about connecting with kids, the process, magic, and how technology can help us all share our creativity fast.

Jess Bush is exhausted. “I haven’t even got out of bed yet mate… my brain is putty,” she says when I call. She isn’t cranky, but I can tell she needs some down time.

Understandably so. The Brisbane born – Sydney-based artist (24) has just finished a marathon 60-hour stint creating a life-sized mural (4.5m x 2.5m) in the window of our Discovery store on George St, Sydney and is now in Melbourne ready to begin another in the window of our Discovery store in the CBD.

When we catch up later in the day she’s delightful, cool, fun and passionate about her work, but also has a gratefulness that this is her ‘job’ and ‘how lucky is she’ attitude that is infectious.

Some artists like the solitude of working alone, and would probably throw their paint brushes in frustration at being watched, (let alone allow themselves to be on display in a store window) – but for Bush community engagement has always played a big part – beginning in 2013 when she rolled out a huge canvas on the pavement in New York City, with some paints and brushes, and asked passers-by to join in helping her fill it with colour.

“The day that followed was the most beautiful display of human connection and expression I have ever witnessed,” she says.

“It’s these precious glimpses of an inner-child shining through that is the most potent magic of all.”

It’s this love of human connection and rediscovery of child-like innocence, and expression that she brought to her latest project with us but, instead of one day this has been quite a journey. It started back in June when she got together with a talented group of children (brought together by the Telstra Foundation) to create a mural about what a connected future would look like to them.

“Collaborating with a bunch of kids has been a dream of mine for a while now. A child’s mind is sensationally unique and unmoulded, they have always entranced me. Their perspectives on things are fresh and unapologetic – they rarely think twice or consider what someone else might think of their ideas,” she says. “Their imaginations are dynamic, their creativity is unhindered.

“I called them my team of imagination experts and explained that I would be crafting their ideas into a big colourful mural about magic, imagination and technology. We all got pretty excited,” adding that with this project she wanted to shine light on the benefits of collaborating and the magic of children’s creativity, as it relates to technological advancement and the future of humanity.

“They’re the ones who hold our future in their hands, which to me means we should work to preserve and nurture the treasures of their childlike outlooks as they grow into the next stewards of the Earth.”

After hanging out with the kids and brainstorming what our future would look like and what things we would need, she then went to the drawing board.

“I like to think of it like this – The ideas that the kids shared with me were like little magic glowing seeds that I had collected in a jar and taken home with me,” she explains.

“I shook them around and played with them in between my fingers and planted them in different magic soils to see what would grow. I then harvested the sprouts, and used my own magic to interpret it all into one image.”

Technology plays a big role in her work including working off a tablet and phone to sketch her work out, paint it and share it with others.

“As a self-taught artist, technology has been the reason I’ve been able to build a career for myself. I haven’t had formal training or been exposed to traditional pathways of making tracks as an artist,” she says.

“I don’t think this would have been possible, or at least a lot more difficult, without the internet and the ability to share my work, to research and study with resources and networks at the tips of my fingers.”

Watch the magic come alive in our video above.

And if you’re in Melbourne this week come and see Jess at work in our windows at our Discovery Store oon Bourke Street, CBD.

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