I aim to create visually engaging projects that draw from and reference both the media and a physical environment, while simultaneously presenting them anew. I make interactive installations, mobile apps, net art, animations, drawings, paintings, photographs, public art, and artists’ books. What motivates me as an artist is to learn how to use and then integrate technology into artworks that enliven and activate both public and private spaces. My works take advantage of chance juxtapositions to inspire thinking about relationships between what is seen and what is imagined. I easily flow back and forth between analogue and digital processes. Words and images culled from the news media have long been a source for my myriad projects. I am drawn to the poetic potential of headlines and captions juxtaposed with abstracted reductions of original images and have collected headlines and news photos for years, archiving them for use as raw material. I am captivated and often surprised by how events are depicted in the mass media. I try to maintain a balance between the analogue and digital. Ping-ponging back and forth, I might transform a drawing into an animation which then becomes the basis for an installation, which in turn becomes an app—an artwork that everyone can carry in their pocket. While my works take context into consideration and engage with my conceptual and political concerns, I tend to create pieces that first foreground the visual and that are accessible and available to wide audiences. I aim to inspire thinking about the relationship between what is seen and what is imagined.
Jody Zellen is a Los Angeles-based artist who works in many media simultaneously. She makes animations, interactive installations, app art, net art, drawings, paintings, photographs, public art, and artists’ books. She constantly thinks about ways to use new technologies and integrate interactivity into her artworks. While Zellen’s work engages with technology, she also still makes things by hand. To that end, she draws and paints as well as creates animations and augmented reality experiences.
Zellen received a BA from Wesleyan University (1983), a MFA from CalArts (1989) and a MPS from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (2009).
Zellen was the recipient of a 2021, 2016, and 2011 City of Santa Monica Artist Fellowship; a 2012 California Community Foundation Mid Career Fellowship; a 2011 Center for Cultural Innovation Artistic Innovation Grant; as well as a 2004 COLA (City of Los Angeles) Fellowship.
Her interactive installations have been on view at the Los Angeles International Airport (2019); Long Beach City College Art Gallery (2017); and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, South Carolina (2014).