Your use of color is astounding. So many different hues coalesce together into single amazing pieces. What are your thought processes when combining colors?
Sometimes I like to take risks when I create color palettes, but I have a basic set that I know always go together. I use a lot of blues, whites, and a set of pastel colors. These are my go to colors. Lately I have been pushing the boundaries even further, trying to see how many colors I can put into one canvas without it turning brown. If you go to my solo exhibition, Process, at USI I’ve got a couple of paintings that use all the colors and they have not turned and have remained pure. Here is a facebook link to the event:
You like to use psychedelic patterns in large compositions that are often mesmerizing. What criteria do you use to choose colors and designs in these?
I usually start with visually pulling some color palettes together in my mind, then I start pulling bottles of paint together. Blue is always an easy way to go and there are so many different shades and hues of it. They come premixed in different paint tubes, and that’s just kind of a nice way to say “Hey, add some blue!” It almost has every different kind of color in a blue. You can see different colors coming through and that will tie it in with other colors
You sometimes use models in your work. Is it a challenge combining models with other imagery?
Yes, it is. I feel like I’ve stumbled upon most of the model shoots as compared to intentional shots with self-portraiture. I started hanging out with models and photographers and I will be in situations where someone is like “Hey there, here is a professional model, you have your camera…might as well take some pictures while you are here!”. When I first started using models I had a challenge of people not showing up, not being committed, and not knowing what kind of vision to create to make us both happy. So I switched to self-portraiture for a long time. For me that was very empowering because I had to wait until I had a concept, feel really inspired, and know exactly what I was going to shoot before I shot it. That was one problem I continue to have with models. They are available, I have my camera, but I don’t always have my concept.
I have seen you model for other photographers. Do you sometimes model in your own work?
Yes! I started out when I was 15 or 16. It also gave me an easy access to shoot whenever I wanted to and time to experiment without the pressure of another person waiting, to see if this idea is going work or not.
Images of nature seem to prevail in your work. Do you feel a special connection or kinship to nature?
Definitely. I feel like nature is my religion. When I am outside, being able to look up at the trees is when I feel most at peace. I’ll be able to look up and see how the trees interact with the sky and it is one of my most beautiful moments.
If you weren’t involved in art, what would you be doing?
I don’t know. I’ve been so blessed to have this year as a fellow, where I have to have my career as art. I’ve worked at the photography studio seven years, so I feel pretty immersed in art as a career potential but I have been trying to pull myself away from that and say “what I am going to do with the rest of my life if I don’t do art?” I would probably be in the medical field. I handle blood really well and I love helping people. Maybe be a nurse. Nurse Jenna (laughs).
Talk to me about your InfiniTrees blanket. Was it always your plan to print that on fabric?
This photograph was taken on my first trip to Ohio. As a twenty-three-year-old who travels at least some I thought it was strange that I’d never been in Ohio since the state is next to ours. I’d made it to Ohio County Kentucky, but the anticipation level of Ohio for me was nearly laughable. After I finally entered the state, I stopped at a rest area and saw the sun setting. I snapped a photo for remembrance sake and didn’t think much of it. After I got home and began post processing I found a new way (for me at least) to edit images using reflection. I loved how far I could expand the print and the variations in the reflections.
That was not always my plan with that piece. The first print I have of that piece is a 90-inch piece on Styrene. I was so happy about this print. I began sharing it with different people and everyone seemed to gravitate towards it. I love being able to incorporate functional into art display, after researching the blanket’s company and trying a test print I landed upon this design. I love the way it looks.
You won the 2016 Bridge Year Efroymson Scholarship! Congratulations. Tell me about it and about your show at the USI Gallery.
The Efroymson Bridge Year Fellowship is a yearlong fellowship given to a student that has graduated within the past five years. I received it right out of college, and that was perfect for me, because I was kind of thinking “Hey I graduate in six more days…What am I going to do now that I am out of college?” It has been great to help guide me down the path I’m on. I have been able to work at the photography studio and do the fellowship. I have been visiting graduate schools, making art, and developing my portfolio all year. As part of the fellowship you have to apply to six programs and that is where I am now.
There is an opening reception at on December 7th at 7 p.m. at USI. https://www.facebook.com/events/1641871999456147/ There are several different series that will be displayed. One of my new series, that hasn’t been published yet, is my Hand Painting Series. I have started using my hands as a paintbrush. There will also be live models who will be wearing some of the imagery I have printed on to clothing. I show the process from the initial painting, some of the photographs of the painting, and then the image in a functional/graphic piece.
If your art were music, what genre would you belong to?
The music of the 60’s and 70’s music for the rest of my pieces describes them best. I was brought up on that music. There’s some hippies in the park feel, the bright psychedelic colors of the 70’s, and to quote “making love in the green grass” feels like a few of my pieces.
If you were to engage in a form of art completely outside of your experience, what would it be?
I haven’t used woodworking as an art form very much. I’ve done some woodworking with my Dad, I used to go to Lowes and do those build your own birdhouses. I worked with Habitat for Humanity in the summer. I have a basic woodworking skill set, but I’ve not used that in art. I think that would be a really neat next step.
Does your opinion of your own artwork change the longer you look at it?
Yes. Definitely. I used to do go through the process of picking out all the good images I wanted to make prints of, then I’d get the prints made, and when I got them back I’d pick out the ones that were still good. I have a collection in Lightroom right now that are all the ones I have been working with for the show and for my portfolio that I’ve been putting together for graduate school. I keep finally getting all the same favorite images. I’ve got this collection of 50 pieces and I say “These are good, still! These are good all the time. Yay!” But it definitely wasn’t always like that. The more I show my pieces to other people and receive positive feedback on them the easier it gets to put them in the good all the time pile.
What is going on emotionally inside of you while you work on your art?
When I paint it is very Zen, having fun, enjoying it, and tapping into the flow. When I do computer work, it’s not as freeing or art making. It’s just something I know I need to do in order to finish, very job like. But right before I get ready to make a piece of art I feel incredibly charged and excited. Through the process of making I come down from the high and can be exhausted after a few hours. I’m surprised at how physically taxing photographing and painting are. But I love them!
Like Jenna Citrus’s Work? Check out these pieces by her:
16 x 20 in
First Hand Experience
11 x 14
25 x 25 in
Digital Print on Canvas
69 x 53 in
24 x 36 in
24 x 36 in
Interview and artist photos by Miguel Latorre