Sunday, April 6, 2014

See Jane


There is a powerful new voice in dark art emerging out of Eugene, Oregon. Jaded Jane is an assemblage of images and stories that are both beautiful and distressing. Jaded Jane is is about bad memories, pain, and long-held secrets; it is about abuse, violence, and neglect. More importantly, it is about solace.

The creator of the site is dedicated to giving voice to people in search of outlet and catharsis. I spoke with her recently in her studio in Eugene, a vast expanse of white-washed industrial walls that stand in stark contrast to her dark imagery. She explained that the project emerged as a way to address agency in the face of terrible events. "People come to me with these extreme experiences. So many of them have slipped through the cracks and often there is little to no therapy. You listen to these stories and go, I don't know what to do with this." She says. "So I think, okay, what does this look like?"

Once the idea for an image set has formed a team of Jaded Jane artists, all volunteers, goes about the construction of the elaborate visual design that characterizes the project's aesthetic. Custom couture clothing, hair and makeup, set design, it is all donated by talented, compassionate, and discreet local artists. Not everyone can work on a project like this. There have been problems, print shops that balk at printing such hard to look at images, submerged women curled around stereos in tiny bath tubs, an image of a chili pepper being inserted into a baby doll's behind. "We have had people that didn't want to print the work, but we called and spoke to them about the project and explained what we do and they changed their minds. I know these images are difficult, but art needs experience to have meaning. I make images that beg for context because they are so disturbing." And there is the personal process of the story teller. "I always ask the person why they want these images. Is it to purge? Is it to hang in your house? Or do you just want me to make it so you can burn it? I think there are a lot of reasons to want to do this."

You can see the Jaded Jane images in person and meet the creator this month at the Bossa Nova Ballroom in Portland as part of a RAW Artists event and visit it anytime online to view, support, or share your story.


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