Jen Everett is an artist from Southfield, Michigan, currently working in Saint Louis, Missouri. Recently her work engages vernacular archives, the materials we collect, the records and information we hold in our bodies and where the two may converge.
Her work has evolved from a photography based practice to one incorporating texts, installation and time based media. Jen’s process has been heavily influenced by her undergraduate training in architecture.
Jen is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in Saint Louis. Jen’s work has been shown at arts spaces including Leo Model Gallery at Hampshire College, Vox Populi in Philadelphia and Gallery 102 in Washington DC. Her work has also been published in Transition and SPOOK magazines and presented during lectures at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Harvard University. She has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts and ACRE.
When and where did this work begin?
A series of events led to this work more than inspiration did. One of them being the divorce of my parents which left an extensive archive of photographs and home movies in a state of flux. I wanted to engage the material as an artist but also found it difficult to process my emotions. Over time, the act of making helped me with that. I initially considered the project personal, but as the work developed I learned it is more open than an autobiographical gesture and has expanded to include found images and photographs from institutional archives in addition to ones from my family. What has been unexpected during the making of this work is that people often feel led to share their own archives or photographs they have collected with me. I am grateful for that and take it seriously.
Where do you see this work going?
The work is very much in progress. It includes installation, moving image and sound in addition to photography. I am still excited and learning from it so I have to continue. When those feelings begin to wane then I know it will be time for me to step away. This work has been shown in part but never comprehensively as it is still unfolding.
What helps you sustain your current creative practice?
Being a full-time MFA student means that I am fortunate enough to have studio space and time to dedicate to my work as an artist. Prior to starting graduate school I was employed full time and found it difficult to immerse myself in a regular creative practice. I did my best. I read as much as I could when I could, listened to artist lectures and interviews, I took unpaid leave to attend residencies…there was no magic to it. I was compelled to study and eventually an opportunity presented itself and it became clear what I had been preparing for. I graduate in May and that cycle of preparation will continue in new forms.
What’s next for you?
I’m focused on writing my thesis and preparing work for the MFA exhibition. Beyond that I’m on the same hustle as most artists and cultural workers. I’m applying for residencies, fellowships, grants and other vehicles for support that allow us to continue to execute our work.