Jake Ressler

jake Ressler at war - sepiaARTIST STATEMENT

Mine is a nomadic background, and my roots are spread throughout communities across the U.S. and overseas. I have had first-hand exposure to human suffering worldwide.  

The stories my artworks tell are strongly influenced by my perceptions of the vast diversity of a multicultural world and the belief that civilization is the central cause for deterioration of the human condition.

I strive to set up vivid contrasts between industrialized societies and third-world homelands through the careful selection of images as a collage artist and a poet.  The social intersection of the two worlds is often fascinating, and may be aesthetically compelling, yet it can be astonishingly cruel and terrifying in its implications. 

Even in a rich country like America, there is frequently insufficient access to basic needs and a place of safety, since there is widespread institutional failure and a studied neglect of the poor and hopeless. Moreover, at all class levels, we are haunted by our longing for redemption and genuine intimacy, and by our constant fear of a violent death. 


Jake gesturing in studio space


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In my vision of the world, glimpses of suffering, devastation, hypocrisy and alienation abound, but so does awesome beauty and wondrous complexity.  There is much that is absurd and ironic in all of this.

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The spectacle I am visited by is intensified by revelations of the obsessive destructiveness of man and the callous disregard for the suffering of the vanquished, as occurs in war.  

  • bloodied flag 
  • Today
    by Jake Ressler
     The flowers here are ashen,
     Black stalks with withered roots
     removed from this barren earth.
     This is eternity
     and this is my today.
     Shotgun blasts greet the dawn
     And color fades from sleepy bullet holes.
     Silence shatters the silence
     That makes up my today.
     Though the trampled flowers never die,
     Five-thousand feet are marching strong
     Shredding the beauty underfoot
     And scorching what remains.
     Civil games are tiring
     And rituals have broken down.
     Reality is elusive here
     And though I’m living in a dream,
     I’ve never been asleep.
     This is my today
     And the sun gives no more light.
  • bloodied flag 
  • Tonight
    by Jake Ressler
     Something flees with the wind.
     The blood flow will begin.
     Like a river we’ll surge.
     Our powers here will merge.
     No one is the master.
     Pure hearts will beat faster.
     The cities we will pillage
     We’ll burn each town and village.
     Lives are in our hands.
     We’ll issue our demands
     The great lion devours.
     All things here will be ours.
I do not have, nor can I provide, ready answers for the meanings behind the images I produce.  I remain an explorer, and my life has been greatly enriched by my ability to travel within and bring back souvenirs.
      - Jake Ressler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



Jake engages in many artistic fields, with previous gallery shows of his collage art in Indiana, Kansas and Oregon, prior publication of his short story and poetry work, and theatrical work in numerous stage productions and short films. Jake Ressler came from a family of non-conservative Mennonite social workers, which enabled him to observe mainstream culture as an “immersed outsider”, with a proactive dedication to restorative justice, human rights, and the protection of the common good.
Travel experiences provided Jake many opportunities to understand the possibilities of life inside and outside of America, including a year of hitchhiking throughout the U.S., six months living in Kenya, and one month residing in Russia. His extensive travels also include much of China, Europe, as well as assorted trips to Mexico and Canada. Jake encountered a wide range of social, cultural, political, and economic frameworks, and these played a major part in shaping his worldview.
Prior to applying to graduate school for a degree in applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS) science, Jake has been chosen to be a Medallion Scholar at Ball State University. The Medallion Scholars Program is designed for undergraduate students who have distinctive educational goals, and who wish to express their creativity and autonomy by constructing a highly individualized degree program of study.  
Jake plans to pursue a career that draws upon GIS technology, as well as research and writing in the areas of emergency management, political geography, and human rights - such as work with an international agency or an NGO.