JR Pepper holds a BA and MA in art history and has been giving lectures and talks since 2013 through various lecture groups and conventions, including New York Anime Festival, New York Comic Con, Tokyo in Tulsa, Salon Con, Catland Books, Quimby's Bookstore, The Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn Brainery and the Coney Island Sideshow. She is an adjunct professor at CUNY Brooklyn College, a fellow/curator of the NY branch of The Odd Salon, speaker with The Dead Ladies Show and The House of Know, member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, published writer, digital imaging artist with The Burns Archive, and tour guide at Green-Wood Cemetery and renown for her knowledge and practice of spirit photography.
Her talks revolve around a variety of topics ranging from Japanese animation, Victorian Spiritualism, Victorian mourning practices, art history and death and photography. She also does random small talks about art historical smut on her Youtube Channel.
All talks are available for future venues, and private engagements, please contact for pricing details.
* PLEASE note I do lectures/talks for an adult(ish) audience. If you would like one of my talks tailored to a younger crowd please let me know while booking*
Photograph copyright of JR Pepper
Making Art With the Sun: Cyanotypes
Presented by Atlas Obscura
February 8th, 2024
Join us on a fascinating journey through the history of cyanotypes! In this course, we will delve into the history of one of the oldest photographic printing processes - cyanotypes. Discover the story behind this unique process by Sir John Herschel and explore how it has contributed to the development of modern photography. Through this course, you will not only learn about the techniques and materials used to create these brilliant blue sun prints, but also examine the history of the artists who have made this technique their own. At the end of this course, we will walk you through a tutorial so you can create your own cyanotype prints at home.
My most recent talk with the fabulous Dead Ladies Show, is now a podcast! Fashion, paintings, sketches, artwork, theatre design and a bisexual icon- I examine the inspiring, sex-positive life and work of Leonor Fini.
I did a talk with the fabulous Dead Ladies Show- which is now available as a podcast! Click the link to learn more about Mae West. With over 70 years in show business on both stage and screen, she scandalized the world of entertainment in a time when women were expected to sit on the sidelines. But, as Mae West would tell you, “goodness had nothing to do with it.”
If a photographer told you he could take a picture of your deceased loved one, would you believe him? Back in the 1860’s, many people did. Hundreds of people believed that photographers like William Mumler were capable of taking photographs of ghosts, proving that there was a means to communicate with the spirit world. Spirit photography had many critics as well including the infamous P.T. Barnum -- who even spoke at a trial to prove that it was a huge fraud -- but still people believed in Mumler’s "ghosts."
Seeing Shades: Death and Photography
Victorians were obsessed with death and used photography as a means to document people in their last moments and collected postmortem photographs of the deceased. Meanwhile in the 1860’s, photographers like William Mumler and William Hope, claimed they were capable of photographing the ghosts of people’s lost loved ones.
Today, however; such photographs are considered unthinkable, however there are modern photographers who use the lens as a means to show death for what is and even show the beauty of that which most would chose not to see. In this discussion we will examine the way that photography has recorded the darkest and last of life’s chapters.
Women Artists You Should Know
Part I and II
Anyone who has taken a basic art history course will have noticed a lack of women in the most art history textbooks.
Where are the women artists? They are most certainly there, with some of the most striking art and imaginative creations the art world had ever seen. Join us to learn more about the lives and works of six women artists. These creative and dynamic women, changed art forever and fought for their place in the narrative.
The Rappings of The Fox Sisters
One night in 1848, two bored little girls convinced their mother that they were able to communicate with the spirit world. Through a series of taps and raps, the girls would 'receive' messages from the other side. Soon, the whole town knew about it--within months, the whole world. What started off as a possible child's prank would turn into the birth of Spiritualism, a religious movement that encompassed millions. How did these girls manage to convince the world of their powers? Why did the world believe them? And how did they deal with the fame and notoriety that would encapsulate the rest of their lives?
Fashionably Strange: An Introduction to Victorian Creepiness
From professional mourning clothing, taxidermy, and an obsession with death to bizarre photography and fashionable communication with the spirit world, there’s no doubt that the Victorians were decidedly creepy. In this talk we will explore what made the Victorians the true masters of the macabre.
Women in the Surrealist Movement
Some of the most mind-bending art ever developed during the Surrealist movement. However, the movement itself was largely made up of men. Despite this, there were women who quietly and not so quietly changed the movement forever. These women went beyond the femme fatale and femme enfant imagery encouraged by Andre Breton and fought for their place in the narrative. We will examine how their work illustrates the dynamic emotional landscapes within their subconscious and the surrounding chaos the impending World War.
We Are What We Fear: A History of Monsters in Horror
Monsters are synonymous with horror films. They explore the otherworldly, the supernatural and all manners of things that go "bump-in-the-night." The things we fear have greatly shifted over time and this shift is clearly shown in horror cinema and is exemplified in the monsters that are meant to terrify.
Join us for an exploration of the monsters that make up the horror genre and how they reflect the change in the world around us.
The Surrealists in World War II
The Surrealist art movement takes place in a perilous time in history- acting as a response to The Great War, and having to escape because of the impending Second World War.
As a result of the Nazi persecution, and being labeled as ‘degenerate artists’, many of the Surrealists artists, writers and founders were forced to leave their homes hastily behind. They seek out asylum in Mexico and the United States. In this talk, we will explore several of these artists and how their work and lives responded to the threat of World War II.
And I Must Scream: An Examination of Body Horror in Japanese Animation
Bio-morphic transformations, countless limbs, undulating tentacles and a decaying human form all define the term 'body horror'. Although there are many films that exhibit this trope, arguably the versatility, artistry and sheer imaginative insanity of Japanese animation best exhibits the true primal fear that is body horror. 'And I Must Scream' will explore the various forms of body horror as exhibited in anime, including its origins in Japanese animation and the symbolic meanings behind it.