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Art With Words :'This is an Imitation of a Manifesto'

-Jessica Lees

Hi! I am an 18 year old artist whose current practice is centred around creating imagined worlds and spaces in the physical. I am exciting to be sharing some of my integral writing processes in this post!

Despite often using 3D textured paint and colourful sculptural techniques to communicate ideas and language, one element which constantly underpins my work is writing. Through the simple noting of ideas, to poetry or my interest in the stream-of-consciousness style and format, I find the act of documenting and committing seemingly fleeting thoughts to paper essential in generating, working through, and finalising my ideas.

I believe that text effectively and immediately engages a viewer as there is an immediate language and understanding that is shared. I also find that the written elements of my work, such as this manifesto (which speculates ideas surrounding copying and imitation), highly personal and intimate. Hopefully I can encourage someone to write about everything or anything as it can be such a cathartic experience.

This is an Imitation of A Manifesto

Whilst I am self-aware in the corner of my mind, another part of my brain is inventing, imitating, and picking out the hypocrisy of this very writing, now.

I am as much of an imitation as you are. Reading this carefully copied down text. I am also self-referential and postmodern in my aesthetics.

I am as much of an imitation as my next art piece, my next repeated sentence or phrase, the next book I re-read, as the next time I write out this manifesto, as artists are of other artists!

In fact, in hindsight, in retrospect and now, I embrace these translated experiences, people, inspirations, beliefs, differences and unfathomable similarities.

You and I should imitate and strive for these.

If I could, I would let these small interconnecting links and intricacies consume me entirely.

But do not imitate as I am, the past self.

Reducing imitation to a form of crude copying is a mistake. As is reducing imitation to a form of flattery where plagiarism or fraud are concerned. Do not imitate this mistake.

I am not telling you how it is, as I do not know what 'it' is.

What I am doing is engaging and challenging (your) perception (hopefully).

At least, I am not merely reciting a past experience, speech or dream.

At least, I am doing what I was told to do by somebody else.

It’s not that I believe originality is over-rated. (or that I’m obsessed with double negatives) .

But those influences are allowed. Do not reject them.

I suppose what I am asking is to reject (if you want), is the predisposition or dying need for originality, however it has been superimposed on you. Social or personal.

But it begs the question – does this very rejection make you original?

As Huldobro stated in his 1922 manifesto ‘We Must Create’ , which I will now imitate

“Man no longer imitates, he invents”.

But how do we know this is not an imitated idea itself? And besides, if I am to no longer imitate, then what am I questioning now?

The fact that art is imitation, and imitation is art.

A profound theory that I am certain has been speculated on before and that my pointless questions with a side of futile efforts will bring nothing to add.

- Jessica Lees, 2021

Extra Info/ to see my work visit:


Website: (for best performance, view on laptop screens)

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