Jesse Small grew up in Los Angeles, California. His interest in local politics and environmental activism kept him busy with organizations like the California Boy’s State program, Kid’s City, and the Student Conservation Association. At the same time, he was developing into a visual artist, without emphasis on either commercial or fine art in particular. From 1992-1997 he pursued his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute, and graduated with a dual major in Sculpture and Ceramics. Upon completion of his MFA, from Alfred University in 2005, he attended the Jingdezhen PWS Experimental Factory residence in Jingdezhen, China and attended a second residence program in Shenzhen at the First Art Bank.
Small's artwork is formed out of a need to communicate with situations that are mostly mysterious, and common cultural infrastructure is not present. Nothing can be assumed. He is very curious about the global migration of ornamental styles throughout history, leading right up to the present time. Inter-cultural influences can be learned from studying historical trade routes, on which decorative styles migrate the Earth like immortal flocks of birds, sneaking under the barriers of culture, language, and tradition without rest or singular plan. And now, what is a trade route? It’s not necessarily a physical thing anymore.
Currently Small is developing Public Art for several municipalities in the US, as well as numerous private commissions.