When the Prodigal Father Returns Bringing Light, Love, and Art

At some point in June 2015, apparently, my life became a constant mad rush of art. It’s a good problem to have: a life filled with non-stop art and love and creativity and connection and family and friends–and friends who are my family. Bliss. All. But this poor little blog suffers neglect as my determination to document, document, document wanes. How to fill in the details now? A chronological account? Alas, that method may have to suffice. I’ll throw in a few photos here and there to brighten it all up.


Since June 2015 I have been fortunate enough to curate and/or have my art featured in a variety of exhibitions including the DC Street Sticker Expo 2.0 at The Fridge in Washington, DC, Currents, Haunted, and More Than a Muse at Epicure Café, and Threshold and Baby Canvases Five at Olly Olly. I had the pleasure of being featured in Washingtonian Magazine and Northern Virginia Magazine. I was also grateful to be honored with the invitation to serve as a member of the Transformer 12th Annual Silent Auction and Benefit Party Auction Artist Nominating Committee. And I’ve been hard at work creating a one of a kind Moleskine Mailer for Tempus Projects Moleskine Mailer Collaboration opening January 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Saying life has been a whirlwind would be beyond understatement. I love it, but I’m ready to slow down and look inward for a bit. This year was also wrought with its own certain sadnesses, but I’m not ready to write about them just yet. I’m ready now to be still for a moment and breathe.

As the Winter Solstice approaches, Yule, Christmas, and the New Year, we’re given all sorts of opportunities to make a fresh start. It’s a time to renew our light. I could make a resolution to be a better, more consistent blogger. I could and I may. Yet I see 2016 approaching with more abundant love and art bliss including three Olly Olly exhibitions already in the works and dates booked.



In conjunction with Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016, Olly Olly will hold an exhibition entitled Embracing the Power of Artistic Practice. Featuring work by Lina Alattar, Eames Armstrong, Adrienne Gaither, Zofie Lang, Joseph Orzal, and Mojdeh Rezaeipour Embracing the Power of Artistic Practice will open at Olly Olly with a reception on January 23, 2016 from 7-10pm, include arts programming combining poetry and art, and will hold a closing reception on February 20, 2016 from 7pm-10pm, with performance by Eames Armstrong. Olly Olly’s second exhibition of 2016, Domestic Territories, curated by artist and curator Sarah Irvin, will be celebrated with an opening reception on March 5 from 7pm-10pm. Manifesto, a collaborative exhibition and event at Olly Olly, featuring art from all five members of The Bunnyman Bridge Collective, is scheduled for mid-May 2016.

Jessica Kallista_Another Year in Suburbia (an Excavation)_001

Another Year in Suburbia (an Excavation) by Jessica Kallista

I am also excited to share with you that my first SOLO exhibition, entitled Dear Suburbia (of course) opens Friday, March 18, 7pm-9pm at the Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery. Many thanks to Gallery Director Mary Welch Higgins and Juror Stacy Slaten. The Dear Suburbia SOLO exhibition is a bigger miracle than I can fully describe to you here. When I met my biological father for the very first time four years ago, he encouraged me to start a blog and to post my poems and art, as well as my experiences struggling with mindfulness and motherhood in suburbia. This blog, Dear Suburbia, became a way for the two of us to communicate our current situations after decades of separation. Dear Suburbia brought us closer over common loves and questions about writing, art making, meditation, love, loss, being-in-the-world. We learned from one another. Together we struggled with writing. We were tickled with excitement by the way the world works. We became friends. We started to become our own quirky and special version of family. Daddy and daughter. He passed away very suddenly just nine months after our first meeting. Still, with his help and inspiration, I had my art in an exhibition for the very first time six months after his passing. And now, nearly four years after starting this blog, I’m working on my first SOLO exhibition: Dear Suburbia, named after this blog, and the project of living life right where I am–right now, all the time to the fullest–that my biological father encouraged me to create and pursue.


Four years ago I was hiding out in suburbia, covering all of my light, wondering how to survive. Then I started writing letters of love to this strange land. Now my light is on fire for all the world to see. I’m so blessed and lucky to share it with you. Huge love and gratitude to my miraculous group of family and friends and friends who are my family. I couldn’t do any of this without you. You make my light shine brighter every single day. I love you. I wish you a multitude of light and blessings now and always.

Stay happy.


Even More Fun the Second Time Around

Dear Suburbia, I have more Free Art Friday NoVA art for you! I’m planning to drop this 4×4 double-sided mixed media piece off late late tonight in Fairfax, Virginia. I’m hoping it will become a magical Friday morning discovery for someone! So far I’m thinking that this piece will be waiting for a lucky someone somewhere near either George Mason University or Epicure Café. We shall see how the evening unfolds. Happy Free Art finding to you!

Yes, it is free!!! Go ahead...take it...I made this for you! xoxo

Yes, it is free!!! Go ahead…take it…I made this for you! xoxo

This Is Away

A rabid bat. A spasm of birds, separating in blue on blue. Nostalgia. This day, only before and away. Away. Take a lower look to all that has fallen. An intrusion of soil, separating in green on green. Shards of absence and hunger. A rewriting of us. Look. There is a calling. You are pulled towards a serrated remembering. The cutting in and cutting out of garden shadows. Ghostly abstractions that struggle to find a host.

This Is Blue Shag

Look at her, my love, proof of peace. All cascade, all swoon, all grace. She dines by moonlight, and backflips, curling through this blue sea of my true origin. She is all cotton candy. She is all feather and tentacle. She is all bramble and seagrass and moss and weed. This girl is a shipwreck. This girl now breathes under water.

Filtered Permeability


The cul-de-sac is an archipelago. Each continental fragment host to another secret variant of a species thought so known. In this night, the lawn is not the lawn, but the deep rush and swell of aquamarine encircling. Our young dwell in trees, their laughter fracturable by birdsong and dragon tongue. Care should therefore be taken, for such formations are fragile and each delicate enclave, each tectonic displacement marks clear and pure on this strange map. If the field log makes note of a mystical voice, a creative heart, the turquoise amulet at her throat, the red saliva copiously lubricating the dragon’s jaw, the tiny carnelian breast of the unnested bird, will there exist any true understanding of pockets of joy, renewal, grace? Will the moon rupture the cool waters of the boulevard looping beyond? Will anyone guess or know what is contained in the scattered crash of this tidal crescent? A landscape internalized. Dense and saturated. Gush and roll of distant waves. Will the delicate displacement incite growth? Wisdom? Streaks of lush rain spilling over the megafauna? When the questions are put to her, she generously gives the long answers. A slight shift on the sofa, and a sideways smiling sigh that says she knows you’ll love everything she has to offer.