Tell Me About Your Art: Breakups to Glow Ups with Brooklyn Art Duo Sickly Particular

By Sola Onitiri

“As you can probably tell by our name, we’re very particular.”

Brooklyn-based artists Amber Elise Jones and Vanessa ‘Venusian’ Edwards are creating spaces  for women artists to unapologetically share their work and voice. Together, they have overseen and developed creative projects that cover the broad spectrum of mediums. From curating events to publishing zines, Sickly Particular prides themselves on their proactive attitude, their eye for the unique, and dynamic duo inventiveness. I had a chance to speak with these artists about their mission and why being particular is all part of the glow up.

The birth of Sickly Particular started with the collaborative and supportive spirit that their shows and projects represent. Essentially, real recognized real in a major way.

“She’s poppin,” Amber said when she talked about getting to know Vanessa through friends of friends and then at work years ago in Philadelphia “She does everything herself. Photography, music videos, editing. Her work has evolved and I've seen her grow so much.”

da #ones 🔥💔🌈⏰ 📸: @kskhussle

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Last year, Vanessa decided to move to New York; In need of a change of pace Amber arrived soon after. When Vanessa was thinking about doing her first solo art show she knew Amber was the perfect fit to make this dream a reality. Self described as an organizer who dabbles in art, Amber is an incredible curator with a keen eye for bringing an unforgettable show to fruition.  

An accumulation of five weeks of hard work, a variety of different mediums, and “Times to Move On” a zine written by Amber and photographed/art directed by Vanessa (available online), Sickly Particular hit the streets of the Lower East Side with their first show “She’s Damaged.”

An exploration of how love and ultimately heartbreak alters women, this show hit close to home for Vanessa and Amber who at the time, were both working through breakups. She's Damaged/Times To Move On contains the kind of thoughts on love that, as women, we’re told to keep to ourselves for risk of seeming bitter. Not only do Amber and Vanessa not keep their feelings to themselves. They shout it from the bloody roof top. It’s honest, it's raw and it’s 100% them.

Needless to say, their first show was a resounding success. And they can’t wait to keep going not just for them but for other women who need an opportunity to display their talents in a judgement free way.

“Not only does it give us a platform to explore our own creative ideas but it also gives us a collective tools to reach out to other artists and help other women artist find their voice,” Vanessa said about the importance of their mission, “Knowing our purpose and knowing how to help others and that’s the most important and that helps us win together.”

Before I hung up the phone I needed to know one thing--why is it so important for women artists to be particular. Vanessa answered this question so swiftly and eloquently that I just have to post it in its entirety.

“It’s important because, in the art scene, I find there can be a little bit of chauvinism. Even though there are efforts made to represent women there still isn’t enough and we’re still on the outside. We want to not just give (women) a voice but give them a megaphone. Allow them to be themselves without a filter or lens. Too much of what we do is provided by or given to by a male lens. We always have to tailor our mission to a specific message and it doesn’t really work for a lot of us.

"Why should we have to compromise so that others should be happy or comfortable. That’s not the point of any this.”

Don't forget to follow Amber and Vanessa's remarkable work and journey on their Instagrams.