Jessie Makinson

Carnivalesque visions of otherworldly decadence.

Jessie Makinson (she/her) was born in 1985 in London, UK, where she continues to live and work.


While at the Royal Drawing School in London, Makinson would visit the National Gallery to paint and draw from the works. These experiences made connections with art historical styles ranging from Renaissance altarpieces to 17th–18th century Dutch painting.

At auction

In September 2021, Makinson’s painting Stirring his pot (2017) was purchased in Phillips New York New Now auction for 70,000 USD – more than four times its upper estimate.

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Collaborations with Jessie Makinson

Avant Arte and Jessie Makinson have one upcoming collaboration.

Practice overview

Jessie Makinson’s paintings stage carnivalesque fairy tales. Femme human-animal hybrids, sporting leopard spots, fairy wings and impish ears, appear throughout her canvases. They are surrounded by surreal architectures and interiors which morph into nature – all rendered in richly pigmented oil paint. The artist has a fluid approach to the painting process. She firstly creates an underlayer of abstract brushstrokes, and before observing the patterns that emerge to determine where and how the figures are placed.

Makinson’s work homages feminist science-fiction, folklore, pop culture and 17th-19th century erotic drawing. These disparate influences assert her characters as complex, dangerous and liberated, while implicit power dynamics between the women probe balances of dominance and submission. These elements, found throughout Makinson’s practice, resist the straightforwardness of the male gaze — presenting sensual beings that subvert tropes of ‘devious’ womanhood amidst fantastic scenes of myth and pleasure.

"I am very indecisive. Contradictory and strongly opinionated, and then I’ll change my mind. I think my paintings are like that – they’re evasive." Jessie Makinson