‘Traverse Talks’ Episode 16: Artist Jesse Clyde On The Art Of Being Present

Photo of Jesse Clyde
Jesse Clyde on April 1, 2021 in the Northwest Public Broadcasting podcast studios.

In this episode of Traverse Talks with Sueann Ramella, cartoonist Jesse Clyde is radiating good vibes and positive energy. He shares how he tries to be present in the moment and explains how money and other societal distractions can take away from his artwork. Jesse is a local Northwest artist from Moscow, Idaho, and is currently running a monthly zine called The Rumble-Lump Club with other local artists. Listen to his episode below or stream Traverse Talks with Sueann Ramella, wherever you get your podcasts.

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17. Jesse Clyde
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Conversation Highlights:

Expressing Yourself Through Art, Even If It’s Stereotypical:

Sueann Ramella: Can you describe your artwork?

Jesse Clyde: Mmm. No. [Laughs.]

Cartoon of Jesse Clyde by Jesse Clyde.

Cartoon of Jesse Clyde by Jesse Clyde.

Sueann: [Laughs.] I think that answer actually helps define it because when I see your work, it’s a bit Ren & Stimpy. So it’s cute and yet, sometimes the way that you have eyes or eyelids is a little disturbing and then there’s bold font, which captures my attention and makes me feel secure. But then you loop in this character with really elongated limbs and all of a sudden I’m a little insecure, but I’m there for the ride.

Jesse: [Laughs.] Yeah, same experience here.

Sueann: I’m happy that I understood that. How were you encouraged to really go for it?

Jesse: My mother was always making stuff and as soon as I started drawing, I think, that was just encouraged. It seemed to have always fell into whatever path things needed to be expressed through, I found that, and just did it, I guess.

Sueann: How about art teachers or any other teachers?

Jesse: Yeah, I had a high school band teacher, which is pretty stereotypical. [Laughs.] My high school band teacher really taught me to open up and be free and how to express myself, you know. [Said slightly jokingly.]

Sueann[Laughs.] It’s true though!

Jesse: Yeah, it really is and it was really beautiful to be able to do that.

Being Present In The Moment:

Sueann: You have an air of happiness about you or perhaps it’s maybe a little more deeper, like joy. Like you’re in the moment and pleasant. So I almost feel as if the difficulties of everyday life, you can transcend that. I’m so curious, was it your upbringing or several events that helped you form who you are today?

Photo of Jesse Clyde

Moscow, Idaho cartoonist Jesse Clyde in the NWPB studios.

Jesse: It was all part of it. All these little building blocks, but I can see where there used to be challenges or things used to be difficult. But then there was a time when I could also see that it was almost like I was pretending that those things were hard or like these things were difficult, which separated me from that moment.  And I didn’t want to be separated from that anymore. So right now I feel as though everything is assisting in bringing me closer to here, like where we are now, because I don’t want there to be an separation.

Sueann: That’s beautiful. And with that said, how has the pandemic influenced your life or your art?

Jesse:  It really allowed for a lot of introspection. Which I feel like as soon as it happened, it was just like, All right, I’m going inside. [Laughs.] And, I can see how everything beforehand was trying to keep me from going inside a little bit. So it’s been really beautiful. It’s been a really beautiful time.

Separating Darkness From Oneself And Their Art:

Jesse: I feel like whatever tools one has to kind of like see themselves more deeply, like use those tools do that. Just do it. Like take a look. I feel like most people are not looking!

Sueann: But Jesse, to look can be scary. I mean, you’re so bubbly, but sometimes people look in their art and it’s dark. So How do they deal with that?

Jesse: I don’t know. They can just see that that darkness is there, but it doesn’t have to be something that defines them. These things can be there, but they’re not telling me you’re this way, you know? They’re just weird objects that are floating around in some mental space that we’ve created.

Sueann: This is so interesting because a lot of those floaty thoughts that can be frightening, we automatically assume it’s us. When your saying, no, no, just take it as it is. It’s a thing out there and disconnect you, your ego, from that. Then when you see the dark scary things that you don’t have to literally take it personally. See it for what it is. Which is interesting because when an artist creates something that’s so challenging for people to look at, it brings up these defensive emotions sometimes.

Jesse: And that is a doorway for them to see deeper for themselves. That’s it right there. Like when those things come up, it’s like, Okay, yes, I have some things stored inside of myself, whether it be from the conditioning or whatever, and these things are putting a wall between my experience of what is here. So it’s like seeing these things that come up as, they’re just things that come up. It’s going to be here and then it’s going to be gone. It’s like, why would I let something that’s going to be here for a second and be gone, separate me.

*Question and responses were edited for length and clarity.

Cartoonist Jesse Clyde in-studio talking with host Sueann Ramella.

Cartoonist Jesse Clyde, left, talking with host Sueann Ramella in the Northwest Public Broadcasting studios on April 1, 2021.

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