Insect Pollinators and Fungi

This series of mud stencils celebrates the amazing beauty and significance of pollinators and fungi through the medium of earth. The intention is to promote understanding and exploration of the interconnectedness that pollinators and fungi create in nature. Pollinators move pollen which is necessary for the fruiting of plants and reproduction. Mycelium moves water, nutrients and can even send messages between plants to alert them to pests. Each pollinator mud stencil is scaled up by roughly 10 percent. The select pollinators and fungi species in this series and are just a small representation of the incredible diversity of these groups. Each of the millions of varieties of pollinators and fungi play important functions in the web of life and all are threatened by human activity. Humans do not need to desecrate natural spaces, we can instead transition to a way of life in which we improve the health of natural environments. Please explore the resources below and consider how to support fungi and pollinator diversity.

bee fungis
This series is primarily inspired by Paul Stamets research involving pollinators and fungi. Please watch the video posted below. He has several books and many more videos as well.

fungi play role in plant communication

Native Bees

Native Pollinators

A world in one cubic foot
Photos of this work to come. Follow updates on instagram: jesse_graves_art


Oostburg High School Mud Stencils

I was sent these photos from a Public High School art teacher that did a mud stencil  project with her students.  Students researched an issue and created a stencil graphic that addresses it.  They printed their stencils with mud and slip mixed with natural pigments and wrote artist statements. Awesome work!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Climate Change Mural

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During the Peoples Climate March that took place in NYC and across the globe on September 21st fellow Milwaukee artist Kaitlynn Radloff and I created a mural focusing on one of the devastating impacts of climate change.  This mural was inspired by the recent study by the national Audubon Society that predicts one half of all U.S. bird species being threatened by climate change.  We are already witnessing significant increases in animal extensions as a result of climate change.  We hope this mural will act as one of the many possible entry points into action that helps lessen or prepare us for climate chaos.  Radloff and I created stencils of all of the Wisconsin birds cited as threatened in the Audubon study.  Each bird is printed once in black soil and once with river clay.


I celebrated national honeybee day by screen printing with flower ink at Milwaukee’s Bee In.  The event was organized by Charlie Koenen, founder of Beepods. Folks came to learn about honeybees, taste honey, taste mead, and make some prints.  It was a Blast!  Thanks to the always amazing Shannon Molter for the flower ink recipe.  Photo props to Joe Brusky and Bryan Bergner.

RW24 Sensory Synthesis Adaptation

I adapted the sensory synthesis sculpture that I created with Shannon Molter to operate on a bike for the Riverwest 24 this weekend.  It was a blast to take over the streets and celebrate bikes and community with Riverwest.  I gave friends and new friends of all ages rides in the trailer. Black and white photograph curtsy of Nicholas Lampert.


Wood Spoons

I have been making wood spoons.  It is super fun.  Here are some I did a few months ago.  I have several more in the works.  I find eating with handmade flatware so gratifying.  using a handmade wood spoon feels sensual and personal to me. I can do custom commissions and may have some to sell by winter. Thank you Sandhill and Darien for the initial inspiration!

spoons spoons