Jena Schmidt is a Salt Lake City, Utah native. She grew up with a love for art of all genres. She receives inspiration for her art through outdoor pursuits, which include climbing, hiking, and snowboarding. She began serious study of fine arts at Utah Valley University in 2006 and graduated from Brigham Young University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. For the past 6 years since graduation, Jena has been exhibiting her work extensively in both group and solo exhibitions in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, California and New York. She is currently living in Salt Lake City and represented by Allen + Alan Fine Art, Rare Gallery, and Loom + Kiln.
I am seeking for a place that may only exist in spirit or imagination through my own experience in nature and on the canvas. Through my artistic practice, I explore concepts of direction, wilderness, spiritual guidance, and exploration. When my grandfather passed away, my family inherited his old camping gear. One of the items which was given to my brother was a brass compass. Inside the lid, my grandfather had etched the words, “Black North.” When I saw this, my mind lit up imagining this was a clue to an undiscovered place, one only my grandfather knew about. I later found out the words were just a reminder that the arrow for North on the compass was black, yet I still found Black North pulling at me towards its wild and mysterious landscape.
The search for a place I know doesn’t exist allows me to build my own myths, and at the same time demystify the unknown when I find answers. This art process has become a metaphor and guide for navigating my own life. For me, painting is about a search, though I don’t always know what I am searching for. But as I allow my eyes to be open to possibility, my perspectives are changed both in life and in art and a new piece to the story is uncovered.