Today we’re joined by Jennifer Nichole Wells. Jennifer is an incredibly talented visual artist. She makes miniature dioramas and then photographs them. It’s an art I’ve always been fascinated by. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I build miniature dioramas out of dollhouse accessories, model train accessories, clay, paper, cardboard, etc. They’re fairly simplistic scenes, dramatically lit and then photographed. I transform the worlds through my camera lens.
What inspires you?
My personal experiences, plus just about everything I witness in the world around me. My images often times are reminiscent of film stills and center around the themes of longing, loneliness, overcoming, introspection, fear and hope.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be some sort of artist for as long as I can remember. When I was little I wanted to draw, for a while in middle school I wanted to act, then play violin in an orchestra. Then came high school where I officially discovered my love for photography and then declared it as my major in college. I had amazing photo teachers in high school and I really owe my interest to them. My technical skills and deeper thought processes grew through the aid of my college professors though. I graduated 2 years ago, and I think I’ve finally found my niche- I’ve really begun to make personal work that I enjoy.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
I’m willing to reveal almost anything about my work, but my signature is pretty out there – miniature objects, miniature worlds. I really like being able to make these inanimate objects have a voice and evoke an emotion.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t give up. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true. The more you work, the better you get. And don’t ever stop your process of self-discovery. The more you understand yourself, the better you can use your likes, dislikes and interests to make deeply personal works of art, in which viewers can relate to emotionally. Art is not a field you go into for money, it’s a field you go into because you have to- because it’s your life, because it’s your one true passion.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m somewhere between demi and ace. I’ve gone back and forth, identifying as one or the other. But I think I’m content with landing somewhere in the middle.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I don’t talk about being ace much, and thus don’t encounter much prejudice. I’ve discussed it with a few friends and family members. Most have been open to it, although the questions do abound, and I have been accused of being such only because of past trauma (which is not true by the way, and is a pretty infuriating accusation). My main course of action is just to move past any ignorance and do my best to not let it bother me. I know who I am and that’s all that matters.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The idea that it’s caused by some event, rather than something you’re born with. Any sort of self-identification doesn’t need to be questioned. People need to take those who say they’re ace, demi, gay, bi, trans, anything, at face value. Sure ask questions to help you better understand the situation, and to help you become a more open person, but don’t point fingers and psychoanalyze.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I know this doesn’t work for every person, but for me, it’s something I just accepted about myself. It’s not that I’m ever 100% sure about how I identify, but having a title to put on my sexuality really helped me understand myself and my past experiences much better. If identifying as ace helps you feel like a more full person right now, than identify that way. You aren’t ever held to an orientation. Sexuality can be fluid, or your way of identifying can be. Change how you refer to yourself as often as you see fit. All that matters is that you are comfortable, and are on your way to understanding who you are and who you want to be. What other people think doesn’t matter. If someone is open enough to accept you as you are, as you say you are, than if at all possible, don’t allow them in your life. If you don’t feel safe coming out to someone, you don’t have to. Yes, feeling like you’re living with a secret sucks- deal with that by finding others who understand what you’re going through, or are at least open enough to do their best to understand you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.