Jennifer West

Jennifer West (born 1966) is an American artist. She is known for her digitized films that are made by hand manipulating film celluloid. She serves as faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) at the Roski School of Art and Design. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Wendy Vogel writes for Artforum.com, "Like her experimental predecessors, West forgoes narrative cohesion in favor of creating jumpy cuts and abstract visual collages--splicing, rolling, and drenching the celluloid using materials from Mylar tape to pickle juice, whiskey to candle smoke." Christopher Bedford wrote in Artforum on her work, "sexy, whimsical, painting-scale DVD projections walk that elusive line between pictorial modes with deftness, wit, and airy originality." Joanna Kleinberg wrote on her work in Frieze "the intermingling of materiality, feeling and identity creates a wild blend of synaesthetic experience wherein the substances of life literally and figuratively colour the film."

Jennifer West was born in 1966 in Topanga, California.

She received her BA degree from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington with an emphasis in film and video. She later obtained her MFA degree from Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, California) in 2004, where studied with Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Mike Kelley, and Diana Thater. She serves as faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) at the Roski School of Art and Design.

West makes 16mm, 35mm and 70mm films by manipulating the film celluloid to a level of performance. The film emulsion might be doused with perfume, Jack Daniels or pepper spray, skateboarded on or dragged through tar pits. West is also known for the Zine booklets that she produces featuring the production stills showing the making of the films. The destroyed and distressed films are then digitized and shown as looping video projections in museums and art galleries.

She is best known for the live performance, "Skate the Sky" (2009), staged at the Tate Modern in London where she invited skateboarders to skate over filmstrips taped to the floor of the Turbine Hall. Other significant commissions include, "One Mile Film" (for High Line Art, New York) where the artist taped a mile-long filmstrip to the length of the High Line walk-way in New York City for one-day allowing the visitors to leave their mark on the film by writing messages, drawing, and walking on the filmstrip. The damaged 58 minute, 40 second film was digitized to high-definition and shown as a digital projection onto the side of a building on the High Line. She has also made commissioned projects for Institute of Contemporary Arts London's Art Night (2016) Aspen Art Museum (2010) and as an Artist in Residence at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, NY and at MIT List Visual Arts Center (2011).

West often produces Zines for her exhibitions and performances. Early Zines were made with black and white production stills from the making of her films. They have been given away at her exhibitions for free. Most zines have been published in editions of 500.