Jesse Jo Stark

by flaunt

Coffee and Pistols For Two
I’m walking down Venice Beach, I weave down a few alleyways, a block or two from the ocean, and ring the doorbell for Jesse Jo Stark’s house. She opens the door, expectedly, and her eyes seize me for a moment, time seems to stop, I stand in the doorway and realize I’m frozen, gawking, caught in those two misty gray-green headlights.

Unsure if she’s noticed, I collect myself, and follow Stark into the living room. Suddenly we’re transported into a kind of bohemian think tank as we roam through the house and meet a handful of her friends. A few sit around a table discussing a recently finished painting, another reclines on a couch hammering out a new song. This is reminiscent of Allen Ginsberg’s turf or a weekend get-together in Laurel Canyon circa 1970. This is what Jesse Jo Stark’s living room looks like at 9 a.m. on a Friday.

Stark is a rare young talent, and not to be confined by one creative outlet, she spreads the love around. Before age 20, she’d designed her first collection for her family’s luxury brand, Chrome Hearts, which led to designing two capsule collections with Vans, all the while Gilles Bensimon considered her a muse. Moreover, Stark— now 23 years old—is known for her own effortless sense of style, infusing sensuality with a punk sentiment. And perhaps that’s where the music side comes in.

It started with two rock legends and a divine late night jam session. I implore her to spill the beans of her musicianship origins—she obliges.

“I played with Duff [McKagan, of Guns N’ Roses] and Steve [Jones, of the Sex Pistols] one night at the Chrome Hearts Factory. We randomly did ‘Cherry Bomb,’ and I didn’t know the lyrics—I just knew the song. After the performance Duff told me, ‘You just found your voice.’ So I guess it was that [Duff] respected me as an artist before I did.”

And with that start, she had found her newest endeavor. Since then, she’s played shows, recorded songs, and recently released a video for the track “Dance To The Cramps.” The track broils with guitar and drums, all framed by Stark’s apparitional voice, with pleasant nods to her country and punk roots.

“I’m really inspired by The Cramps,” she tells me. “I grew up listening to country. Lyrically, I love the innocence that Loretta Lynn and those women presented in their words.”

Jesse Jo Stark is at ease when I speak with her, thoughtful, articulate. She’s a wild flowerchild of sunny Southern California yet adores the darker side of music, film, and design—and beyond musical influences, she derives much of her inspiration from sentimental sources. “I’m inspired by my friends. Love. Mostly it’s horror and love—the funny side of horror and the funny side of love, how they mesh together.” Moving forward, Stark has her eyes on a physical release in September; an EP entitled Down Your Drain, produced by none other than Sex Pistol Steve Jones. And to boot, she recently had a part in her friend Gia Coppola’s film, Palo Alto. Of the latter she says, “I was so out-of-my-mind nervous. That’s something I never thought I would do.”

And no doubt music was much the same at one point, but Jesse Jo Stark is blazing her own path and those gray-green eyes are locked onto her goals. When I ask about any specific future plans, she playfully scoffs and then it’s clear: she’s living in the moment.

“I want to kick some ass right now. I’m ready.”


Photographer: Frederic Auerbach for Stylist: Johnathan Lawhorne for Hair: Charlie Taylor for Makeup: Ashleigh Louer for Manicure: Whitney Gibson for using YSL.

Beauty Notes: mineralize eye shadow duo in spiced metal, fluidline brow gelcreme in deep dark brunette, and cremesheen glass in floating lotus by m.a.c cosmetics. la laque couture in rouge pop art by YSL