The P.I. Project: Investigating Missing Husbands and Lost Cats Also, I need combat training

Laptop and copy stand - Pyragraph

The P.I. Project is the latest work by conceptual artist Jessamyn Lovell, in which she is documenting her process in cases she is investigating as she works towards obtaining a private investigator license. She is sharing her process on The P.I. Project Patreon page, including exclusive case documents available only to supporters of the project. Jessamyn has kindly allowed Pyragraph to share some of her updates, including the post below.


Last week I began working for a client who is unraveling the mysterious story of her missing husband. Yesterday I started looking for Dinc, Nancy and Ian’s missing cat. I’m still compiling a witness list for a lawyer who has been generously giving me work to collect hours towards my P.I. license. Through the execution of this varied work I have discovered that I need a few things—some items and some skills. The more you learn about something, the more you know you need to learn.

First of all, I have decided that I need to get some training in combat, weapons, or both. Nothing has happened yet to bring about this realization but after meeting with several retired APD detectives and licensed P.I.s the consensus is that I need to learn some basic skills for protecting myself from physical harm. So, I am researching some possible courses in combat and weapons training.

I need to document the paperwork and items I collect on my cases.

Secondly, I need a subscription to do background checks and search multiple databases. Every step of the way in this new missing persons case I have needed to access info on different leads I have come across. While public records searches work pretty well to uncover basic info about people, there are some people (like Erin Hart, my identity thief, and this missing spouse) who do not want to be found, making it much harder to rely solely on public records.

Third, I need some lights for my copy stand and a DSLR. No joke. That photo above? Yeah that is a copy stand generously lent to me by a friend Leigh Anne but I desperately need lights to use it! I need to use it to document the paperwork and items I collect on my cases as I go.

So, I sent off a press release today to get some much needed exposure for this project hoping I will attract more patrons. You can help by supporting my project as a Patreon patron (even a few bucks helps!) if you aren’t already. You can also help spread the word by sharing this project with your networks. I keep saying that if each of my 1,400+ Facebook friends gives $1 a month for the next year of this project I could pay for my studio/office, get a camera and lights, and get a subscription to the database search tool I need.

Lastly (for now), if anyone has any suggestions on finding a missing cat we are open to suggestions. Yes we checked the shelters, yes we checked the chip databases, yes we plastered the neighborhood and surrounding area with posters, and conducted hours of calling for him and searching. My next steps are to talk to the immediate neighbors again and ask some specific questions.

Thanks for being part of my project just by reading this!

Jessamyn Lovell P.I. (in training) - Pyragraph

Jessamyn Lovell

About Jessamyn Lovell

Jessamyn Lovell (b. 1977, Syracuse, NY) is a visual artist working with photography, video, and surveillance as tools to document her own life experiences making connections between class and personal identity. BFA, Rochester Institute of Technology and MFA, California College of the Arts Lovell lives in Albuquerque, NM where she is currently a Lecturer in the Art and Art History Department at the University of New Mexico. Lovell’s work has been exhibited nationally, and she is the recipient of several awards, including the Aperture Portfolio Prize and the CENTER Excellence in Teaching Award. Lovell has received international recognition for her most recent work Dear Erin Hart, for which she found, followed and photographed her identity thief.

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