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Jenna Gang’s Still Life Magic

New York-based Jenna Gang enlivens whatever she shoots — whether that’s shoes, sashimi, or a sandwich. Her commercial commissions all have an oddball, artistic spirit, proving that advertising can indeed be art. Lemonade chatted with Gang about her mesmerizing style and process.

Your work is very tactile — we can feel the materials you use and taste the food you photograph. What tricks and techniques do you rely on to achieve these sensual effects?

I love to photograph products with crisp lighting. I find that having a sharp shadow helps define products and makes the work feel like it’s jumping off the screen.

Do you make artwork outside of your commercial practice ?

I started a personal project about five months ago, where I photograph water in oil. I’ve done it purely for enjoyment, and it’s helped me relax. I’m so focused on getting the oil to move in unique ways that I forget about all the other things going on in my life.

Oil and water.

What specific advice would you offer to a young artist who’s just starting?

Practice your art all the time! Photographing what you’re interested in is the best way to figure out your style, what you like to capture, and who you want to shoot it with. I think my favorite work that I create is just having fun in my studio with a stylist or two where we can play around and see what crazy images we can make.

Jenna Gang

What’s an average day like in your studio? What sort of things do you do during the day to pause, recharge, and get inspired?

I’m up and ready to start checking off my to-do list for the day around 8:30 AM. The list always begins with the critical stuff: work for clients, editing, etc. In the afternoon, I try to find thirty or so minutes to learn something new a day. Lately, I’ve been teaching myself how to use Cinema 4D, and it’s incredible. I love seeing how many ways you can manipulate a creation that wouldn’t be possible in real life.

After I finish my work for the day, I love to recharge by taking a workout class or reading a good book. I’ve given myself the challenge to complete 56 books by the end of the year. So far, I’m at 36, and some of my favorites are The Authenticity Project, Clap When You Land, In Five Years, and The Vanishing Half.

You made the first work for the launch of #ConnectedByLemonade, a new project that brings artists together to create a “neverending drip” on our Instagram feed. What was your process like?

I was super excited when Lemonade reached out. They were looking to have different types of artists pour a pink substance over something in their respective mediums. Lemonade told me they were inspired by a personal project that I created with one of my favorite collaborators, Anna Lemi. In a series of videos, she and I dripped cosmetic products over plexiglass shapes. I thought it would be great to evolve the personal project and elaborate on it.

A still from Gang’s #ConnectedByLemonade commission.

For the shapes, I stacked a pyramid on top of a cube to represent a house. I used honey, dyed pink, to “cover the house,” just like Lemonade has your personal belongings covered. I shot the drip from a series of camera angles to add suspense until you see the whole sculpture’s full-frame image.

You can find Jenna Gang’s #ConnectedByLemonade commission here. And then see more of the artist’s work here, and follow her on Instagram!



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