prints (visual works)
Art and Design | Art Practice | Printmaking
Self-Exploration 02, Gelli print, measures 5 by 7 inches.
Artist Statement & Bio
My name is Nissa Jensen, I am a visual artist that focuses on painting, drawing, digital, performance, printmaking, and clay, often combining them. I am from Portland, Oregon and am pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and Studio Art from Linfield College in McMinnville while working on my own freelance art and projects. I understand the healing qualities of creating and have future plans to become an art therapist. I have always been passionate about body positivity and intersectional feminism, and I strive to depict this in my work.
I am interested in illustrating the strength and beauty of parts of the body and the mind that may be considered ugly or unconventional to society. I am continuously striving to learn how I can find avenues for living a meaningful life through nurturing myself, others, and the land we live on.
Through this series of work, I am interested in exploring and understanding my body and its relation to the world. I believe fostering love and acceptance for my physical vessel will help me move through the world with more appreciation and attention towards everything and everyone around me. The physical is intimately tied to the mental experience, so through my work I also aim to explore my mental health and how it relates to the physical body.
I aim to bring beauty and power to things that I or others have told me are ugly and that should be hidden.
In my series of ‘tondo’ pieces, which are my paintings on wood canvases, I am exploring the aspects of my identity and how it relates to living with a mental health disorder. These pieces are more abstract and often focus on a featureless silhouette, surrounded by a vast landscape filled with color, texture, and intrigue. This is my attempt to create a scene that is a sort of escape to the small, featureless silhouette. Other pieces in this medium are detailed self-portraits that explore this part of my identity with memento moris, which, art-historically, are reminders put into paintings of humanity’s impending mortality. This is something I struggle with and explore through these works.
I am inspired by artists such as Ana Medieta – she was a Cuban-American performance artist, video-artist, and sculptor interested in the relationship between the female body and nature, and she also referenced the topic of rape, and identity. I am also inspired by African-American painter and printmaker Kara Walker’s work, which explores gender, sexuality and identity. As a feminist artist she has taken the conversation further with her art by also tackling subjects such as race and violence. Other artists that greatly inspire me that I see myself fitting in with are Valie Export and Judy Chicago, and Carolee Schneemann.
In my prints and other paintings, I focus on the physical realm of my body and, again, aim to bring beauty, power, and positivity to parts of myself that I have been told by society are ugly or that should be hidden or altered to be more palatable. I depict this through my paintings and prints of people with varying shapes, sizes, colors, and gender identities.
In the future, I see myself exploring these themes more through more visceral, figurative paintings on the body, as well as performance art that references my experience growing up Catholic and taboos about sex and sexuality. I hope my work inspires debate and conversation.
Jensen, Nissa, "Self-Exploration 02" (2020). reconnecting . . .. Image. Submission 39.