Born near Chicago, Jess has lived all over the United States. As a child teachers began singling out Black’s school art projects as something special. Black, who is a self-taught artist, was considered by many a prodigy and became acclaimed for large scale murals. By the age of 14 Black was commissioned to do mural work in Des Moines, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas. These works have been published in Better Homes and Gardens and Builder Architect.
After abandoning a strict religious upbringing Jess moved to New York at age 17, and soon after arriving was signed by the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency and quickly booked campaigns all over the world.
Art was never far and Black continued to paint for a growing list of private clients in New York
In 2010, Jess became committed to art as a full time career and moved to Los Angeles for new inspiration. Within a month he had booked his first solo show in downtown Los Angeles, which sold out in two weeks. Demand for his work and time began increasing.
Black's work has been commissioned for corporate and hospitality collections. It has also been featured in national publications, including Juxtapoz Magazine, Paper Magazine, Avenue Insider, and Art World News. Some of his notable collectors include The Point Foundation CEO Jorge Valencia, FOX's Hell's Kitchen, Actress and socialite Kristin Cavallari, radio and music personality Elvis Duran, Celebrity Designer Kari Whitman, Television Personality Brooke Burke-Charvet, Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler, and Reality TV Personality Kris Jenner.
In February 2012, Black debuted a collection of work that explored being raised as a Jehovah's Witness. Titled, "Leather Bound in Black or Red," an exhibition of work on this subject matter had never before been done. Turning down several gallery offers to host the exhibit, Black elected to debut it online in a virtual gallery. The virtual show opening resulted in 1,179 people from 17 countries visiting the website while Black participated in a live chat. After the two week online exhibition closed, it revealed that the virtual gallery received visits from six continents, 25 countries, and 312 cities.
In 2015 Jess Black was named the Official Artist of the Special Olympics World Games - Los Angeles 2015. All artist proceeds benefit the athletes of the Special Olympics. Fine Art prints of "The Circle of Inclusion" are available to own exclusively through Saatchi Art.
Black continues to paint for private commissions and semi-annual public exhibitions. Jess just completed collections as of recent for The Montage Hotel - Beverly Hills and the newly renovated Hotel Figueroa - Los Angeles
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