JR Pepper has been giving a variety of lectures and talks since 2013.
She holds both a BA and MA in art history, specializing in women in the Surrealist movement. Her work has been featured on a variety of websites, album covers, galleries, press releases and publications, including Haunted America:FAQ and Jack The Ripper FAQ, both by Dave Thompson. She has done lectures and panels at various conventions including New York Anime Festival, New York Comic Con, Tokyo in Tulsa, Salon Con, Catland Books, Quimby's Bookstore and The Morbid Anatomy Museum. Most recently, she has been named a fellow and curator of the NY branch of Odd Salon and participated in a fundraiser for The Southern Sideshow Hootenanny.
Her talks revolve around a variety of topics ranging from Japanese animation, Victorian Spiritualism, Victorian mourning practices, art history and death and photography.
Photograph courtesy of Odd Salon
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.
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.
Victorian Spiritualism: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?
* Given during the Racket edition of ODD SALON NEW YORK 2018!**
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."
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.
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.
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.
Please be advised that there will be graphic and disturbing imagery and video in this lecture.