Artist: Kristi Tristao Jensen
Media: Mixed Media, Vitreous Enamel, Fine Silver, Copper, Sterling, Bronze, Patina, Gold Leaf, Steel, Wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Werby Gallery
Having your first solo exhibition seems a little nerve-wracking, but it’s easy to see that Jensen is very proud of her work. Transferring from Santa Monica College, she is enrolled in the Metal program at CSULB and is soon graduating with an MFA degree.
For as long as she could remember, she’s always had an interest in art, especially the creative process. Learning and creating is a general passion for Jensen and has her family, especially her grandparents, to thank for inspiration and encouragement. She enjoys art purely because it’s fun.
The exhibit includes a variety of metalwork ranging from necklaces to sculptures. “Wing” is a necklace that demonstrates its name; made out of vitreous enamel, fine silver, and copper. “Curvilinear” (made of the same materials) is another beautiful necklace that has rose-like features with the colors green, blue and dark brown. “Onion” is a vase-like sculpture made of steel and patina that definitely has the shape of the tear-inducing vegetable. “Fraternal” consists of three similar looking sculptures made of copper and patina. They look almost like “Wing” but larger, more jagged and three-dimensional. “Urchins” are stone-shaped sterling silver and bronze sculptures, containing dots on its exterior – similar to sea urchins. Other pieces include two necklaces (titled “Lemonade” and “The Road to Heavens Above”) and two sculptures (titled “Vessel” and Lineage”).
The main theme behind Jensen’s exhibition is technique. She begins each piece with a technique in mind, rather than a solid idea. In other words, her works are less about representation of objects and instead, are more about emphasizing methods and craftsmanship. Each piece reveals Jensen’s passion for learning and emulates the value in the ability to create anything you want on your own. Some examples of skills she learned are enameling, casting and welding. She even created the pedestals (with the help of her husband).
What led me to really appreciate the exhibit is the statement, which is what I look at initially before walking through each gallery. Jensen values the creative process and she has a passion for learning numerous skills so that she may be able to create more things on her own. This is the kind of person that I strive to be. Just like her, I always want to learn about different kinds of art and the processes of each. Just like her, I sometimes hesitate to buy certain things, knowing that I am completely capable of making it, if I put in the work. Having that conversation with Ms. Jensen inspired me to just do what I’ve always thought about doing: to study other forms of art, enroll in classes, and indulge myself in creative processes and skills.