Year Graduated: 2019
Jensen Twite was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on December 6th, 1996. She grew up in Tea, South Dakota until starting college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where she is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. Her primary art mediums are photography and drawing.
Jensen was first introduced to art at a young age by seeing the portrait drawings that her mother did. Her mother was her primary mentor and supporter throughout high school, teaching her techniques and encouraging her to keep creating. Upon enrollment in USD’s art program, Jensen was introduced to more artists and professors that continued to enrich her artistic knowledge. It was because of USD’s introduction to photography class that she realized her passion for photography and through her first digital photography class that she discovered her interest in long-exposure photography. She continues to do portrait drawings and pen and ink drawings of landmarks as well.
Jensen’s artwork serves as her way of communicating. Her main obstacle throughout her life has been social anxiety and shyness. Struggling to express herself in words, she turned to creative expression. Learning how to communicate her artwork and being around other artists has helped her to discover herself.
In the future, Jensen plans to work in photography or graphic design. She plans to expand her horizons by moving some place different from where she has grown up. She has always dreamed of designing album covers for musicians or taking photographs at concerts, but as long as she is creating something, she feels that she will be satisfied.
This black and white film photography series focuses on feelings of longing for the simplicity and playfulness of childhood. I chose to photograph various playgrounds as a symbol of childhood play, adding the vignette to the edge as if the memories are formulating inside the brain. I am thinking back to the memory, but it’s old and it’s fading and I am now an adult who often gets overwhelmed with worries and troubles that I forget to take time to just play. The prints are underneath glass that I have covered with a frost spray, leaving words etched into it that can be read up close. The frost fades the memory even more, and the words represent my adult self struggling with the things that make me miss being a child. Each image has its own words, lines from short poems I wrote that use the functionality of each piece of playground equipment as metaphors for the anxieties I have today. The rotation of a merry-go-round, the crashing down of a see-saw, the motion sickness from a swing – it is still with me, it just presents itself in a new form. When a viewer sees one of my pieces, I hope it brings them nostalgic feelings about being a kid and playing on a playground. Back then my biggest worry was that all the swings at the park would be taken. It’s different now, I’m grown, I struggle, and I’m scared, but as long as I can still form the warm and loving memories of my childhood, I’m going to be okay.
My colored pencil drawings came to life when I decided to imagine what I would see if I was in a near death experience and my “life flashed before my eyes.” I grabbed special moments from growing up that I will always remember and love. Things like vacations to the hills, time with my cousins, and learning to ride a bike. I have always been comforted by the past and the warm family memories that shaped who I am today and making work about it is something that makes sense to me and that I really enjoy. I hope these pieces, even though they are specific to me, can still make viewers think about their own treasured memories and have a moment to themselves to remember things that make them happy.