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Jessie Zaylía

Spotlight of the Month

Law & Art presents art made by lawyers from around the world, and turns the spotlight on one new lawyer artist each month.  This September, discover the portraits of Jessie Zaylía, juvenile dependency, delinquency and workers' compensation attorney by day, and painter by night.

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Jessie's Story

As a self-taught native Southern California artist, Jessie Zaylía's journey has taken her across the U.S., with one of her bold-colour portraits hanging within the chambers of the United States Supreme Court. Jessie is a juvenile dependency, juvenile delinquency, and workers' compensation attorney. Typically, her art does not coincide with her legal career. The big exception to this was her portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, entitled "KBJ". The connection between "KBJ" and her other portraits is the fierce factor that Jessie admires in her subjects. The bustle of the entertainment scene in Southern California influenced her acrylic portraits of inspiring humans with a focus on musicians.

Jessie explains: "All of the portraits in this Spotlight are in acrylics. I use bold colors to celebrate my subjects. I chose each of these women because I, personally, find them to be badasses. They are fierce and strong. They stand for egalitarianism and have had to overcome significant struggles, whether personally, professionally, or a combination of the two. These women inspire me to keep going in my own pursuits, especially as they relate to social passions that are dear to my heart, including the fight against racism as well as the fight for equity in all aspects."


When asked about her way of working, Jessie highlights: "I always work from a photo, so I invest a fair amount of time in choosing the photo that will form the foundation of a painting. Sometimes, the photo is in black and white; other times, it is in color. My goal is not to replicate the photo. Rather, my goal is to use bright colors according to their values in an effort to make the subject shine in a way that is wholly distinct from the photo. The most difficult aspect of my process is to know when to keep pushing and when to take a bow. I find that many, if not most, artists feel the same way. In my work, the aid of cellphone photos throughout the painting process helps me to "step back" and determine when enough is enough."

Jessie's Work

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