An Interview with J.Paradisi

What medium(s) do you work in?

     Primarily, I paint. I’ve exhibited work in sculpture, collage, and knitted wire. I dabble at printmaking.  And, I’m a writer. I choose the medium during the artistic process, based on a call and response from the concept I’m working with.

Please describe the connection of your work as a nurse and an artist: how did you become inspired to start expressing themes from your nursing work in your art?

     I’m an artist who earns her living as as a nurse. I look to convergence, irony, transformation, and the ephemeral for themes and healthcare is a goldmine of these topics. In twenty-two years of nursing, I’ve developed skills of observation that are necessary for nurses and artists. As a pediatric nurse, many of my small patients were voiceless, and an ability to read body language and facial expression was as crucial to an accurate assessment as reading vital signs.  I’ve found that working with adult patients is not much different. Many want to avoid hospitalization, or bothering me, and often answer “how are you doing?”  with “Fine”, when I can clearly read fatigue or pain on their faces.  I find they appreciate that I pay that sort of attention to them. An artist needs the same level of observational

"Supplant" J.Paradisi 2008
"Supplant" J.Paradisi 2008

 skills to reveal truth in their art. Leonardo DaVinci saw the connection between health science and art. It wasn’t until much later in art history that the two seemed to become polarized.

How long have you been in Old Town Chinatown? How did you come to be a part of the neighborhood?

     Last winter I unexpectedly needed to relocate my studio. My husband found this one in the Goldsmith Blocks on Craig’s List, and I moved in mid-January 2008.

What do you like best about being in the neighborhood?

     The people I’ve met. There’s a lot of support for artists. I also love rarely needing a car. Growing up on Catalina Island, I knew everyone and walked everywhere. Old Town provides me with the same sense of community I had back then.

Who are some other artists that you work with? What do you like best about their work?

     Morgan Pasinski and Matt Condron are two in our Collective. Morgan’s oil paintings are elegant in their nostalgic simplicity. When you look closer, her surfaces are distinctive, varying from transparent and glass-like, to so textural that I have to keep myself from touching them.

     Matt’s paintings create a psychological environment, luring me into the image. I marvel at his flawless surfaces of nearly invisible brushstrokes.

When/where will your work be displayed this spring?

     I have paintings on rotating display at Pearl District Dental, 1211 NW Glisan, and in April, I  participate in the annual Chair Affair, benefitting Portland’s Community Warehouse

     New Lives: Nurses’ Stories about Babies, includes my short stories Icarus Again and Voyagers. The book is currently available for preorder on, Barnes & Noble, and Target. I believe it is available locally at Powell’s, following its release in May 2009.