Jessica Yatrofsky has heart. An artist who works in different mediums, including photography, film, and performance—always with several projects going on at once—Yatrofsky has the kind of passion for her art that is necessary to sustain a creative life in New York. She tells us, laughing, “I’ve been interested in art for as far back as I can remember. I used to tell my parents I wanted to be Picasso. My feelings about Picasso are different now…[but] I was equally passionate about New York as a child. I thought, that’s what artists do, they move to New York!”
Yatrofsky came to the city about six years ago to continue her fine arts studies at Parsons. Although she grew up in Las Vegas, her father’s side of the family was second-generation Brooklyn-dwellers and Yatrofsky now feels that “living here [in Brooklyn], I feel very connected to both the old and the new and artistically there is so much to draw from.” While Yatrofsky has perhaps achieved the most acclaim through her photography, including through her incredible male-figure-examining blog “I Heart Boy,” she has also been really drawn to film, and has just completed filming her first feature-length, A Naked Heart.
She explains, “The film is a meditation, really. It’s about experience, discovery, and about pausing; all of the ideas I’m interested in as an artist and a person. Exploration is what really motivates the film and its characters. It’s a look at pausing to have an experience and realizing that the ‘pausing’ is the experience.” As dynamic an artist—and a person—as Yatrofsky is, the meditative quality she talks about comes through clearly in her work. Looking at her photographs or her short films is less about the visual noise that some art creates, and more about steadying the gaze, seeing the beauty in the quiet and the unexpected. Yatrofsky’s work isn’t the sound of a beating heart, it’s the silence in between thumps, when anything in the world is possible.