This is a continuation and transfiguring of my Transplanting Reality; Transforming Nature series. Forests and trees have played a prominent role in many folktales and legends and have been given deep and sacred meanings. They are seen as powerful symbols of growth, decay and resurrection. I am responding by striving to make visual the ephemeral nature of sacred, spiritual realms. In this series, I am transplanting replica trees into the natural world then creating ethereal forms that blend with and supplant the natural environment. One is artificial, the other a spirit form; both represent the transcendence of nature.
Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri but moved to Illinois after meeting her husband, Michael at Southern Illinois University. Her early college years were spent obtaining a degree in graphic arts; later emphasizing fine art. Upon graduation she and Michael settled down on acreage in Southern Illinois and set about to construct several solar and energy efficient structures including their 2400 square foot home. Organic gardens and goat husbandry took center stage in Ellenâ€™s life but a desire for a more â€śartisticâ€ť life led the couple to Los Angeles California. Ellen spent two years at FIDM (the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in downtown Los Angeles. Here, she obtained her advanced degree in 1992. After a few years working in the industry, including several years at Mattel Toy Company as a senior project designer, she became disillusioned with the corporate world and longed for a more creative outlet. Having been trained in computer design while at Mattel, Ellen continued her training on her own using mostly Photoshop software. As digital technology advanced and the newer cameras were producing excellent resolution, Ellen found her perfect medium. It was a true confluence of technical advancements and creative desire that culminated in her current explorations in photo inspired art using both a camera to capture staged assemblages and a computer to alter and manipulate the pieces. Not considering herself a photographer but an image-maker, Ellen has been creating works that bridge the world of prints, photography and collage. Ellen is being recognized as an innovator and her work has been shown in galleries and museums world-wide as well as numerous web-based sites.