Jenna Bean Veatch is a multi-disciplinary performing artist and teacher who has been accused of creating “pure, unadulterated, heart-stopping whimsy.” She makes dance-theater shows, stop-action animation, music, written pieces, and delightful objects.
Her work is invitational and experiential. Her first show, Sideshow, inspired by old-fashioned circus sideshows, drew her audience into a dream world, populated by characters like The Tree Man, who had branches growing from his palms which bloomed when he fell in love. Her music videos are funny and then sometimes surprisingly sad, simultaneously kitschy and heartbreaking. Her current project is The Not-Creepy Gathering for People Who Are Single and Want to Fall In Love, a participatory event designed to facilitate connection. Her secret agenda at each of these events is to gently take participants by the hand and walk them into a space of vulnerability, because vulnerability makes way for connection – but she does it slyly. Her charm and wit are infectious and disarming, which lends itself well to work that is quirky and moving, playful and powerful.
Veatch has received grants from Artist Trust, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, and 4Culture. In November she will complete an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Creative Inquiry at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Okay, let's be real now. "She" is me. I am Jenna Bean Veatch, and I make things. This website is where you can see, hear, watch, read, and read about some of those things. Creating is what makes me feel most alive.
My work is about connection – which includes the lack of and desire for connection. I feel like I've felt all the sadness, loneliness, and heartbreak I ever want to feel... and at the same time, I crave art that breaks open those very same feelings. I want to be moved, and I want to make art that moves others.
This doesn't mean that my work is all syrup and sadness. I present connection viewed through a quirky, whimsical lens. For some artists, authenticity is more important than originality. Not for me. I want authenticity – specifically, emotional authenticity – and originality. My writing could be called “autobiographical magical realism.” Sure, there are no new ideas under the sun – but there are new and delightfully creative presentations of old ideas. I am inspired and influenced by the likes of Lynda Barry, Miranda July, Yoko Ono – artists whose work has deep emotional impact but is also innovative, quirky, humorous, and wonderfully weird.
Much of what I do is premised upon the belief that sharing our personal stories is an act of generosity, for in doing so, we help others to feel less alone in theirs. I view artmaking as a political act. My mission as an artist is to add my own little drop of magic to the mess. I want to break hearts, to fill hearts, and to use imagination to awaken wonder.