Artist: Kristi Jensen
Exhibition: Fuse; joined together to form a single entity
Media: Copper, some steel, silver, using a fire saw and sandpaper
Gallery: Max L Gatov Gallery East
As a child, Kristi moved around a lot, so much that she went to ten different elementary schools. She started her collegiate career as a sculpting major, but she was not into conceptual art. Metal, which she has worked with for the past two years, is her favorite material to work with because she finds it easier to manipulate. Kristi is a returning undergrad in the Metals & Jewelry section of CSU Long Beach’s School of Art. Her interests include metal (obviously), cooking, reading, fiber art, red wine, and spending time with her spouse. She doesn’t watch much television, has eight tattoos, and says that her biggest problem with art is naming her pieces. The art she creates has no specific message, according to her, and is not exploring any ideas but her creations are simply driven by process.
Simply put, her work is various types of jewelry ranging from elegant necklaces, to bracelets and earrings. Her work consists of “curvilinear, sweeping, gestured lines,” and all her work is made from some type of metal, typically copper but occasionally silver or steel. She uses elegant yet vibrant colors on her metals and also uses smooth finishing to make her jewelry more classy. The metal is cut with a fire saw and finished with sandpaper to make it smooth to the touch. All of the jewelry are fairly small, some of the necklaces are large in comparison to others, but everything in the exhibit was small enough to wear on one’s body. The smallest pieces were thin bracelets or tiny earrings.
When asked what her work was about, she had difficulty coming up with an answer, until she finally said that her work has no message. The process of creating the art is the experience she enjoys, rather than most artists who enjoy marveling at their creations once they are finished. Her work revolves around what she finds interesting to make, and fun to create. Most of her work in the gallery were class assignments, and she said that she will wear some of her creations on occasion, but only ironically. She finds inspiration from other people’s work, stating that she has thousands of things saved on Instagram and Pinterest, and uses these items or other pictures she finds in magazines to inspire parts of her work. This is a different kind of artist then the others we have spoken to, for even though she is technically making sculptures, it is in the fashion realm. Fashion designers do not necessarily try to explore ideas with their work, or express their feelings into their art. Granted, some do, but I believe she creates jewelry simply because she enjoys the process.
I have always been intrigued by fashion and fashion designers, wondering what caused them to create such bizarre clothing or accessories. I always assumed they were desperately trying to come up with a new design so radical that it becomes a fad or fashion statement to own a piece of their work. It never occurred to me that designers actually enjoyed the process it takes to create their artwork. This is what Mrs. Jensen wants us to think about when we observe, or wear, her pieces. She wants us to not focus on the final product, or endpoint, but rather enjoy the journey that it takes to get there. People nowadays are so goal-oriented, driven, and focused that they forget to enjoy the trip to the top. We can’t wait to enjoy our lives until we have reached our goal, because there is no final destination (other than death). There is no point where we can stop and admire what we’ve done without having any other ideas or goals that we feel need to be accomplished. Humans are ambitious at heart, so there never will be an end to the journey, so we might as well enjoy the view.