Photo by Janette Beckman
A B O U T J I L L C U N N I F F
Jill Cunniff was born and raised in NYC. She is best known as the singer of the band Luscious Jackson, whose albums were released on the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal Records starting in 1992. Painting and drawing were Jill’s first art forms. As a teenager, she could be found in her room painting large canvases, playing the guitar as the paint dried.
Jill began formal visual arts training at Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music and the Arts. In the 1980’s, graffiti, street art and hip-hop exploded in NYC. The chaotic graffiti inside of the NYC subway cars during this period is an obvious inspiration in Jill’s work, as are the layers of peeling posters that can be found throughout the city.
Jill continued her art studies at Hunter College in NYC and the University of California at Berkeley. It was during this time in California that Jill came to love the Bay Area Figurative painting of the 1960’s, which is also an inspiration in terms of color and form. She studied with the artist Joan Brown while at Berkeley. These influences have come together in Jill’s abstract watercolor and mixed media paintings. The work incorporates text, predominantly from her lyrics. They are created using a stream of consciousness process while listening to many different kinds of music.
Jill currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband Scott and two daughters, Chloe and Piper.