I am a zookeeper. I sculpt and construct puppet creatures with animal qualities that capture natural forms and movements through a tension between realism and abstraction. I give life to these creature puppets using intense focus to transfer enigmatic energy through my hands. This allows me to disappear behind the puppet to become a visible invisible puppeteer. My endearing puppets emotionally connect to audiences, like Lucy the Ice-Picker Bird plucking a delicate feather to reach out for interaction. It is in that moment, when the puppet is authentically alive that we discover true magic.
Jess Rassp is a Mask and Puppet Maker, Performer, and Scenic Artist living in Baltimore, MD. Jess' background in painting and sculpture fuels her fabrications and design work. She has also explored physical theatre in puppetry, dance, and martial arts. Jess transforms simple materials such as hoops, chicken wire, gauze, and coffee filters into puppet creatures that visually capture natural forms and movements. She has used puppets to tell folk tales, display alien creatures from another planet, and create whimsical dreams. In addition to intensive studies in theatre and fine arts, she received her B.A. in English Literature from Brandeis University.
Jess is currently Artistic Director of Cohesion Theatre Arts
Unnatural Causes: Art of a Critical Nature, Exhibition Opening
The Vultures: A Reincarnation is a Puppetry performance piece that centers on how through ritual, we as humans embrace our responsibility for upholding our role in balance with the creatures of the planet. The vulture characters fulfill their role in completing our cycle of life by consuming our dead. This piece will blend puppetry and martial arts to illustrate the visceral and violent consuming of our decaying earth in order to begin a process of renewal.
Other credits include: Submersive Productions (See Also, MASS/RABBLE, BATS!, H.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum), Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (Dracula, Alice in Wonderland, The Winter's Tale, Othello), Cohesion Theatre Company (Tornkid, Frankenstein, La Llorona / The Orphan Sea, Mr. Burns, Sally McCoy, Men on Boats, Schoolgirl Figure), Single Carrot Theatre (Savage/Love, Midlife, Year of the Rooster).
Photos by: Glenn Ricci