Jessamyn Lovell

Jessamyn  Lovell


Jessamyn Lovell (b. 1977) is a visual artist working with photography, video, and surveillance as tools to document her own life experiences making connections between class and personal identity. Holding a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MFA from California College of the Arts Lovell lives in Albuquerque, NM where she is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Art Department at the University of New Mexico. Lovell’s work has been exhibited nationally, and she is the recipient of several awards, including the Aperture Portfolio Prize and the CENTER Excellence in Teaching Award. Lovell has received international recognition for her most recent work "Dear Erin Hart,” for which she found, followed and photographed her identity thief and she is currently working towards getting her private investigator’s license as a conceptual art piece. Like previous works, her  D.I.Y.P.I  project explores the territory where life and art overlap.



Remnants from an Archive of Surveillance

Project Statement

I use surveillance in various forms as an integral part of my artistic practice. From 2007-

2010 I photographed my estranged father for the book and exhibition No Trespassing and from

2011-2014 I surreptitiously photographed the woman who stole my identity for the book and

exhibition Dear Erin Hart,. In early 2016 I discovered that as a result of the investigative work I

did for these projects I had 3,000 of the 6,000 hours needed to apply for a private investigator’s

license in the state of New Mexico. For The P.I. Project I have been training to be a private

investigator putting in as many hours as I need to in order to apply for the license by the end of

2017. The P.I. Project is a conceptually driven, multifaceted art project that uses surveillance,

photography, performance, and investigation to reveal parallels between private investigation and

art. In pursuit of this ambitious undertaking I have taken thousands of photographs using many

different cameras. While some of theses images document the process of becoming a private

investigator directly or frame the narratives of my other projects, the collection of images I draw

from for Remnants from an Archive of Surveillance are much more subtle and obscured views. The

photographs in this ongoing series range from carefully composed and exposed photographs taken

on film to snapshots taken quickly with my phone or Polaroid camera. The spectrum reflects the

different tools needed for the range of investigative work and reveal evidence of my perpetual

search for the potential beauty in even the most mundane activity or within a complex







California College of Arts and Crafts (Oakland, CA), MFA, Photography, May 2001

Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY), BFA, Photographic Illustration, May 1999


Select Awards, Grants, and Residencies

2017    Recipient, Center for Teaching Excellence Fellowship, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

            Finalist, Headlands Center for the Arts Artist Residency, San Francisco, CA

2016    Scholarship Recipient, La Pocha Nostra Intensive Performance Workshop, Santa Fe, NM

2015    GuatePhoto Book Award Finalist, Guatemala City, Guatemala

            CENTER Review Santa Fe Scholarship recipient

2014    dFlux Artist in Residence, Detroit, MI

            Art in Public Places Purchase Award, New Mexico Arts, Santa Fe, NM

2013    CENTER Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, Santa Fe, NM

2012    InFocus Photographers Award recipient, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ

2011    Recipient for Friends of the Orphan Signs, Sprout Microgrant, Albuquerque, NM

            PX3 Official Selection Recipient, Prix de la Photographie, Paris, France

2010    Artist in Residence, PLAND Residency, Taos, New Mexico

2008    Aperture Prize recipient, New York, NY

2007    CaDre Grant recipient, San Francisco, CA

2003    Artist in Residence Light Work, Syracuse, NY

2002    Serpent Source Foundation grant recipient, San Francisco, CA

            Third Wave Foundation grant recipient, New York, NY

2001    Barclay Simpson Award Recipient, CCA, San Francisco, CA

            Dennis Leon Award, CCA, San Francisco, CA


Recent Solo Exhibitions

2017    The P.I. Project, Central Features Contemporary Art, Albuquerque, NM

            Catastrophe, Crisis, and Other Family Traditions, Ridley Gallery at Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

            Dear Erin Hart, Carol Calo Gallery at Stonehill College, Easton, MA

            Catastrophe, Crisis, and Other Family Traditions, Ridley Gallery at Sierra College, Rocklin, CA

2015    Dear Erin Hart, Sorenson Center for the Arts, Babson College, Babson Park, MA

            Dear Erin Hart, CENTER, Santa Fe, NM

            Dear Erin Hart, Central Features Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

            Dear Erin Hart, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO

2014    Dear Erin Hart, San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, CA

            Domestic Landscape, Pacific Exhibits, Albuquerque, NM

            Dear Erin Hart, installation, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM

            Lomas On-site Listening Station, site-specific public art installation in collaboration with

            Shores and Friends of the Orphan Signs, Lomas Boulevard, Albuquerque, NM

2012    A New Age, Caldera Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

            Spooky Little Landscapes, CENTER, Santa Fe, NM

            Catastrophe, Crisis, and Other Family Traditions, City College of San Francisco Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA


Recent Group Exhibitions

2017    Two Truths and a Lie (three person exhibition with Weegee and Zoe Crosher), Jacki Headley University Art Gallery at Chico State University, Chico, CA, curated by Kelly Liner

            History / Her Story group exhibition, David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, Curated by New Mexico 20th Anniversary Committee, David Eichholtz, and Howard Rutkowski

            Tondo, Exhibit 208, Albuquerque, NM, curated by (s)and

2016    Sanitary Tortilla Factory Group Exhibition, Zendo, Albuquerque, NM, curated by Sheri Crider

            Outer Local, David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, curated by SCUBA

            Dispatch, Trolley Barn Gallery, Las Vegas, NM, curated by Stanger Collective and SCUBA

            Dispatch, Art.i.fact, Santa Fe, NM, curated by Stanger Collective and SCUBA

            UNM Art Education Faculty Invitational, Masley Art Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

2015    Stealth Investigations (three-person exhibition with Trish Stone and Lee Montgomery), SCA Contemporary Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

            (s)and: An Introduction, Exhibit 208, Albuquerque, NM

2013    Friends of the Orphan Signs Tradewinds Sign Rally, Albuquerque, NM, curated and organized by Ellen Babcock as part of High Desert Test Sites Tour

            Fear and Loathing, Art Photo Index Photo Eye, Santa Fe, NM, curated by Kate Ware

            Autophotography, Axle Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM

            Postcards from New Mexico: CENTER Review Santa Fe Alumni Exhibition, Santa Fe, NM, curated by Laura Pressley

2012    Time Pieces: Friends of the Orphan Signs, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM, curated by Ellen Babcock


Collaborative Group Projects and Performances

2017    D.I.Y. P.I, an interactive performance, University Art Gallery at Chico State University, Chico, CA

            D.I.Y. P.I., an interactive dinner performance presented in collaboration with Central Features Contemporary Art and Vivac Winery, secret location, Dixon, NM

            _____ Stand (two-person exhibition with Lee Montgomery), Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM

2016    The P.I. Project: A Speakeasy Performance, an interactive dinner performance presented in collaboration with Central Features Contemporary Art and Dig & Serve Speakeasy

            Supper Club, Central Features Contemporary Art (gallery), Albuquerque, NM

2013    Friends of the Orphan Signs Tradewinds Sign Rally, Albuquerque, NM, co-curated and organized with Ellen Babcock as part of High Desert Test Sites Tour

2012    Time Pieces: Friends of the Orphan Signs, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM, curated by Ellen Babcock

2011    Artist in Residence with Topographia Collective, PLAND Residency, Taos, NM

2002    Girls in the Hall traveling art exhibition, ArtShip Windows Project, Oakland, CA; Gutman Library at Harvard University, Boston, MA; San Francisco Public Library San Francisco,

            CA; Richmond Art Center exhibit, Richmond, CA



Recent Select Bibliography

Artist monograph Watched!: Surveillance, Art, and Photography, co-edited by Louise Wolthers, Dragana Vujanovic, and Niclas Ostind, the Hasselblad Foundation, June 2016

Artist Monograph, Dear Erin Hart, San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, CA

Autophotography Catalog, Axle Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM, 2013

Barclay Simpson Award Anniversary Catalog, San Francisco, CA, 2012

Personal Identities/Contemporary Portraits exhibition catalog, edited by Michael Schwager, University Art Gallery, Sonoma State University, May 2010


Recent Select Press

Interview with Maggie Grimason, The Alibi, May 2017

Interview with Sara MacNeil for The Free Albuquerque Press, December, 2016

Interview with Megan Kamerick on Women’s Focus, KUNM, When and Artist Becomes a Private Investigator, August 27, 2016

Best Wired Photo Stories of 2015 by Laura Mallonee, Wired Magazine Online, December 29, 2015

Interview with Ellyn Kail for Feature Shoot article 14 Photographers Discuss the Downsides of their work Going Viral, November 30, 2015

Interview for Crime Watch Daily, November 6, 2015

Podcast Interview with Dr. Linda Tucker for Challenge Your Thinking, August 3, 2015

Podcast Interview with Thomas Seely for Art Uncovered on Breakthru Radio, June 30, 2015

Interview with Mandi Woodruff, Yahoo! Finance, May 24, 2015

Story and interview with Miki Meek, This American Life on National Public Radio, Episode 556: The Haunter Becomes the Haunted, May 3, 2015

Article (and Weekly Alibi Pick) by Lisa Barrow, Weekly Alibi, Albuquerque, NM, April 8, 2015

Interview with Janet Shamlian on The Today Show, Identity theft victim turns crime into public art exhibit, March 20, 2015

Interview with Carol Boss on Women’s Focus, KUNM 89.9FM, March 14, 2015

Article by Melia Robertson on Business Insider, A Turned the Tables on the Woman who Stole her Identity, March 6, 2015

Article by Lisa Frieda Cossham in Sueddeutsche Magazin (print and web), Germany, March 2015

Article in Esquire Russia (print and web), Russia, March 2015

Interview with Rebecca Corral, KCBS, San Francisco, CA, February 24, 2015

Interview with Jakob Schiller for Wired, February 3, 2015

Article by Sarina Fink on (top story 2/3, 2/5, 2/6), February 2, 2015

Article by Matthew Irwin on Hyperallergic, What Happens When You Steal an Artist’s Identity, January 29, 2015

Interview and Television Report for News Corp Australia, Caroline Zielinski, December 12, 2014

Article by Kayla Chobotiuk on Feature Shoot, Photographer Has Identity Stolen, Decides to Slealthily Photograph Thief, December 8, 2014

Article by Nok On on (in Chinese), December 6, 2014

Article on Petapixel by Gannon Burgett, Photographer Has Identity Stolen, Gets Her Revenge with a Covert Photo Project, December 5, 2014

Interview and television report for Fuji TV (Japan), Scott Filipski, December 4, 2014

Article by Simone Sbarbati on FrizziFrizzi (in Italian), December 4, 2014

Article on MyNet (in Turkish), December, 2014

Article by Melanie Wolfmeier,, November 28, 2014
Article by Morat for Grafik Jager, Jessamyn Lovell Goes Dark, November 27, 2014

Article in Daily Mail UK, November 27, 2014
Interview and article by Jenny Zhang for My Modern Met, Artist Creates a Photo Series Featuring the Thief Who Stole Her Wallet and Identity, November 26, 2014
Article: Photographer Jessamyn Lovell Had Her Identity Stolen And Got Revenge With An Art Project,, November 24, 2014 (Top 15 Posts in 2014)
Article: Artist Jessamyn Lovell Tracks Down The Person Who Stole her Identity And Gets Revenge, Beautifiul Decay, November 24, 2014
Exhibition review by Ana Velasco: How To Steal Your Identity Back, Milk Made, October 29, 2014

Exhibition review by Eileen Kinsella on Art Net, Photographer Turns Identity Theft into Art, Article by

Article by Sam Whiting for San Francisco Chronicle DateBook (print and online), Jessamyn Lovell builds gallery show out of her ID theft, San Francisco, CA, October 15, 2014

Article by Christine DiGangi for Business Insider, How One Artist Turned The Tables On Her Identity Thief, October 12, 2014

Article by Christine DiGangi for, When This Artist's Identity Was Stolen, She Put On A Photography Show About The Thief, October 11, 2014

Article and interview by Sam Whiting for SF Gate, Identity Theft Revealed in Photo Exhibit, September 3, 2014

Article by Geneveive Quick for Art Practical Magazine, Editor’s Pick and Print Edition Article, San Francisco, CA, September 2014

Interview and article by Amy Touchette for Photo District News PDNEDU, Star Teacher: Jessamyn Lovell Blurring the Lines to Help Students Find Their Way, March 14, 2014

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