Artist with Many Talents


“I like a lot of different things.”

“I am very good with words; I want to learn to communicate with images.”

Jenna is the embodiment of a holistic, thoughtful, curious, open-minded person striving to be her best self. While she has always loved and appreciated art, it became a bigger part of her life in college. She chose to attend Boston University because it has a very good art program, as well as other academic resources that allowed her to pursue other interests at the same time. She graduated from the Honors College as a painting major with a minor in statistics. 

Although not part of her studies, reading and writing have also been a staple in Jenna’s life, and her love of words often informs her painting. Jenna often plays on the power of words, using quotes tucked away in her mind that surface and become titles of paintings. “Damn, ladies, get a room!” is one of those quotes and the title of this painting to the right. Someone said this to Jenna and her friend when they were holding hands walking down the street at age 13. Jenna, ever the wry optimist, said, “Well, at least the person acknowledged that queer relationships are possible.” They were in fact just friends, butJenna’s work has evolved to explore the body as a form and the political nature of the body in relation to being queer. Typically in her work, the figures are prominent but abstract, and she has been working to use abstraction as a tool to communicate emotions, experiences, and messages with the same clarity that words provide.

Damn, ladies, get a room!  2023
oil and acrylic on paper, 48″ x 36″

A love of Nature, especially trees

Jenna loves being in nature! She has her sights on applying for a Fulbright Scholarship for fall 2024 to do research on trees. She is particularly interested in a program that would partner her with a mentor from National Geographic and introduce more photography into her art practice. Jenna’s first experience with art research on trees came from one of her BU professors, who advised Jenna through an independent study on the social and emotional impacts of trees. She continues to look for new ways to make this love of trees a part of her art process. Jenna referenced the book that her mom recommended: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben. This book puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to, and Jenna’s artwork hopes to similarly show people not just the biological and scientific wonder of trees, but the creative and spiritual importance of nature.

Being queer and growing up Catholic, her time in the forest is also the closest she feels to church these days. “I happen to believe in God and, if there is one, being outside in the woods that we take for granted, is where I feel God’s presence,” she says, about her own walks in the forest near her home.

Abstract figurative painting with a background of teal and tan. Emerging in the center facing left is a woman with peach and teal skin and teal hair with stripes of pink and purple.

Our Mission is Love and it is Holy, 2023
oil and acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 18″

Lots of Dots

When asked what she likes to paint most, Jenna has a one-word answer: “I love to paint dots — lots and lots of dots.” When she was 14, Jenna saw a dot mandala painting that she fell in love with and wanted to buy, but it was $400. Not many students have that floating around; Jenna said to herself, “I am an artist; I can make my own.” And so she did. And does. Jenna finds making designs with dots to be fun, soothing and meditative. Often she creates these designs while listening to podcasts, which allows her to focus on the fun of the creating process rather than worrying about the final product.

And Yet, Sometimes It Was Beautiful, 2023
acrylic gouache on wood, 22″ diameter

What’s next?

This summer Jenna is working at BU as an events counselor for their Visual Arts Summer Institute  for high school students. In exchange, she gets to keep her studio space! In the fall, she plans to keep creating and working. She’ll also be hiking in preparation for tackling the Appalachian Trail in spring ’24. After that she hopes to have her Fulbright lined up for fall ’24 to study trees.

When I asked Jenna what she sees herself doing for her career, she said, “There are lots of things I want to do. We’ll see which ones happen. It will be as surprising to me as to other people.” There is both an excitement and a confidence she exudes as she voices the possibilities ahead for her. When I posed the question “If you did not have to make a living, what would you do?,” Jenna’s answer came quickly and with certainty–“paint, hike, write a lot of poetry, have a bunny and a cat.”




Portrait at top of page by Helen Cai (@hcaiphotography)

The Stars Are Not So Neatly Planned, 2022acrylic on canvas, 2 ft x 2 ft