Name: Jessica Holmes
Year attended GSA: 1999
College/Degrees: Chapman University, BFA Creative Writing; UC-Riverside-Palm Desert, MFA Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts
Current home: Long Beach, CA
Jessica Holmes' GSA experience and ongoing artistic exploration is a fascinating journey, involving the disciplines of dance, theatre, and creative writing, in Kentucky, California, and the Far East.
I was recently asked whether I consider myself to be an interdisciplinary artist. Sure, why not? I thought.
My artistic journey began at age four in tap shoes and tutus. From there, I progressed into acting as many twinkletoes and bun-heads do. I shot about a dozen commercials that ran locally in the Lexington area. By high school, I had soft-shoed my way onstage with dreams of being a Broadway baby.
I attended GSA for Dance (1999) and spent a year studying acting at Wright State University (2000). The following year, I danced and choreographed with the UK Dance Ensemble and performed and directed for the Lexington Children's Theatre.
Since then, I've directed children's plays in varous Orange County elementary schools, shot a web series in Hangzhou, China, and wored for Disney in California and Hong Kong. But somewhere in there, I completed my degree and became...a writer?
The logical assumption is that I'm a critic or even a playwright...but I'm not. I write poetry, screenplays, and creative non-fiction. Building on my multi-disciplinary past, I have learned that I am uniquely equipped to tell stories only I can tell. Dance and theatre inform my writing and are an undeniable element of my artistic voice. A decade later, I finally understand this crucial lesson instilled in me at the 1999 GSA Summer Program.
As I work on my current projects and wrap-up my MFA in Creative Writing, I am mindful of how my new art, whether in approach or expression, is influenced by my old. Acting has allowed me to explore my characters and discover what they have to say. The rhythm and movement of dance has fueled the musicality of my poetry. I remember learning the grand jete and my teacher telling me, "you must go down to go up!" There is little difference between that ballet fundamental and narrative screenplay structure.
Daily, my disciplines interplay and I am happy to partake in new artistic endeavors, however unfamiliar or unrelated they might seem. I continually rediscover that my primary form of creativity can be enriched by engaging in other art forms.