By Nicolas Palermo | Posted Friday, May 4, 2018
Jenna Corso is a visual artist from Belmar, NJ who channels her love of all things Mother Nature into hand-made jewelry and paintings.
Art truly does imitate life, but in Jenna’s case, “life” isn’t used to define “life events” or “existence” but rather “life” in its most literal sense. That is, things that are living, such as insects, snakes, and vegetation.
There is a great deal of beauty in Jenna’s work. Her eye for detail allows her insect-inspired jewelry to glow with a quality that resonates with art and nature-lovers alike. I spoke to Jenna to get an insight into her inspirations, childhood and artistic process.
Tell us about where you live in NJ. Do you enjoy the environment you live in? Do you think it has an effect on your creativity?
I live in Belmar, NJ. I grew up 5 minutes from the beach. Living in New Jersey has had an immense impact on my art since most of my subjects focus around nature. You can go from hiking in the mountains to watching the sunset at the beach in the same day. It’s the vast scenery and landscapes like this that continue to inspire me every day.
I have absolutely no experience with jewelry-making and very little experience with sculpture. I am very curious to know what the process is when making your insect-shaped necklaces and rings. What is the first step? Where do you go from there?
Once I have my insect, I start by making a mold of it using a Jeltrate substance. Once I have the mold, I can begin to pour melted wax into it. When that hardens, I can cast the wax insect into any metal using the lost wax method and from there it becomes a piece of jewelry with some cleaning and polishing and final details.
I remember as a little kid I was obsessed with nature. If I wasn’t outside catching bugs I was watching Animal Planet on TV. I think that very young kids often gravitate toward things related to insects and animals because it sparks curiosity, and I find it inspirational that your love for living creatures is still a part of your life, as demonstrated by your artwork. Did you have a similar experience growing up? Has the general aesthetic of animals and insects always been something you take inspiration from?
Yes. When I was younger I loved being outside. I used to catch crickets in my backyard with my brother and turn over bricks to find roly-polys. I always had a fascination with nature. As I grew older I lost that interest in bugs until one day, while I was walking to work, I found a dead cicada. I remember standing on the sidewalk with a dead bug in my hand thinking how underrated its beauty was. While most people are repulsed by bugs, it became my mission to show just how beautiful they can be. I thought, “how can I repurpose this and give it a new life?” and that is how it all got started.
Do you own any pets? Have they been the subject of any of your works of art?
I do. I have a pug who is the subject in many of my photos. He sits so patiently in front of the camera.