Monday, November 09, 2020

Somerville Artist Jaina Cipriano: Captures the pain within....

"Jaina Cipriano is creating visual metaphors for emotions she has trouble defining. Without the help of Photoshop, she builds physical environments that open her subjects up to become part of something bigger. This primes the space for an authenticity that is so visceral it brings the viewer back to their own memories. " (From her website)

Her photos and films are not for the faint of heart. They go to deep to the marrow-- and slap us with their often visceral imagery. They bring experiences of trauma to the forefront. They explore the painful transition from childhood to adulthood. I was glad to catch up with this Somerville artist.

How has it been for you in Somerville, as a creative person?

Somerville has been great, there is a lot of thought put into artists in this city. Times are tough right now but I feel Somerville has been working hard to support its artists and I am grateful for that. I love the energy of the city - bright and open while also calm somehow.

From what I have seen, a lot of your photography reveals inner turmoil. Do you feel compelled to delve there--is that your artistic essence?

It is the most effective way I have found for working through and processing my turmoil. Terror loses its power when you name it. It loosens its grip when you show it’s face to the light. It’s a process but it’s worth it.

Does your work speak more to women--or is it more universal than that?

Women are universal. As a woman a lot of my work is through the lens of womanhood but I believe a lot of my themes - entrapment, childhood, religious and romantic trauma - are understood and felt by people across the gender spectrum.

I saw a clip of your movie " You Don't Have to take orders from the Moon." The clip had a rather large rat scurrying across the bed. Was that rat a Somerville rat, we have a great supply of them? How does this imagery fit within the full context of your film?

I wish I could say I wrangled some authentic Somerville rats but no, those rats were my sisters pets. Their names are Miso Soup, Sticky Rice and Dumpling and they were very sweet and well behaved. The rats in my film are messengers, helping the audience connect the dots. You’ll have to watch the film to see what the dots are!

Did you formally study film and photography?

I went to NESOP (New England School of Photography) and studied photography but I have no formal training in film - I just jumped in back in 2019 and haven’t looked back. I love learning new things and my favorite way to learn is by doing - getting my hands dirty, failing, trying new things - it is exhilarating and rewarding!

Is your work therapeutic for you?

Absolutely. No matter how dark things get, my work is always there. It’s a home of sorts. I can come back to it whenever I need. It helps me process and connect to myself and the world around me.

If I were to ask you--why we should view your work--how would you reply?

Connection is essential, especially in the COVID era. I have poured my entire essence into my work - I want to connect with you through it.

Any new projects in the works?

I start pre-production for my next short film Trauma Bond in a few weeks which is exciting! It’s about three women, a secret, and an intense night. I am also in the midst of opening up a new artist space - so stay tuned for more information on that!

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