Our intern, Aurora Angiolini from the Università per Stranieri di Siena, has been interviewing faculty members at the Siena Art Institute, reflecting on the challenges of 2020 and looking forward as we move ahead with 2021. In this fourth and final interview of her series, she speaks with our Photography instructor, Jacqueline Tune.
Jacqueline Tune was born and raised in the English county of Kent, between village and town, immersed in the countryside which was made up of both cultivated and wild nature, with pockets of storybook landscapes filled with flora and fauna. This inspired her to develop a deep interest in portraying the nature that surrounded her through photography. Photography has remained a strong life-long passion for Jackie, and was the focus of her studies at college.
Jackie spent a short period of time in London, where she collaborated with interesting characters to explore womanhood through surreal and theatrical depictions of the self. Jackie then decided to move to Italy, seeking a new life and diving into new horizons for art and work. This change brought her to new and exciting locations and atmospheres. In this new context, her artistic and personal path became totally different from what she had previously pursued. She became deeply immersed in a new reality, which has shown itself to have more of a dreamlike quality than true tangibility, some sort of an “imagined reality”, a dream inside which she has managed to enter and inside which she is now living and working. This new reality constantly challenges her preconceptions through new discoveries: encouraging the will to explore which has been growing inside Jackie’s heart since her childhood.
Her creative process which guides her work maintains its unchanged roots: the exploration of what immediately surrounds her mixed with her constant keen observation and connecting to the natural world.
Everyone’s inner nature
Jackie is particularly drawn how people interact with nature. The atmospheres of Tuscany helped her to develop and enhance her personal research: for instance, the wild and quiet Merse river valley offered a new perspective and an unexplored perception of light, a fundamental element in photography.
Jackie defines herself as a “photographer who loves documenting”, meaning that she portrays various facets of inner and outer realities, meticulously collecting and selecting images and materials taken from the world around her.
Generally, Jackie prefers working in series, showing each component of a group in its own uniqueness. Some examples are her series of formal portraits of pregnant women, entitled Lo stato interessante, her series Download Now of children looking at their electronic devices. Turning her gaze towards the landscape, her series Territories portrays specific human interventions like abandoned quarries and wastelands, heaps of materials (such as hay, agricultural waste, and rubble), and seemingly-natural interventions such as rivers and animal tracks. Jackie tries to look at each specific subject in a different way, and each becomes a type of portrait.
Jackie’s new project, Odd one Out, has a more specifically natural insight, using botanical subjects to talk about marginalization, and the importance of celebrating diversity. Every leaf, though similar to others and coming from the same type of plant, is unique in its color, form, and markings.
Most recently, nature and artificiality are fused in another ongoing project developed during this past year’s lockdown, which Jackie spent in the Montagnola Senese territory. In this project, Jackie collected as many plants as possible and pressed them into handmade clay tiles, immortalizing each plant and showcasing its unique beauty. Craftwork and using her hands have always been important for Jackie, allowing her to express the qualities and limits of various materials using her special touch. In addition to clay, Jackie loves working with other materials like metal (because metal, like clay, can be shaped with an additive process rather than a subtractive one, such as with marble).
Throughout her work, Jackie aims to be in conversation with herself, her materials, and her surroundings. She also tries to empathize with other peoples’ personal experiences, and uncover what shapes our shared society. In Jackie’s view, understanding ourselves means coming to know what is hidden inside us in order to express it to the outside world through artistic process.
Jackie & SART
In general, Jackie’s work makes connections between nature (representing the outside world) and ourselves (our most inner and most hidden realities). Jackie has always worked a lot on these themes, examining both herself and others, also thanks to the opportunities she has found at the Siena Art Institute, where she teaches photography.
From her very first meeting with the Siena Art Institute’s director back in 1999, Jackie’s work at SART has grown in new and unexpected directions. Jackie not only serves as a teacher but also is one of the “building blocks” of SART, where she works in friendship alongside her students and colleagues.
Jackie encourages all her students to use their cameras to explore and portray the world, to look at and connect with everything surrounding them from a perspective that is cultural, social, and visually different from everything they already know. At the same time, they focus and reflect on what motivates and fulfills them, bringing forth their emotions and discoveries, so that they can creatively respond to stimuli and build up new life experiences. Another important aim is to help students to develop a new visual and poetic language by which they can express themselves.
As a teacher at the Siena Art Institute, Jackie enjoys being able to offer inspirational guidance to many young and talented artists coming from all over the world. Her students offer her a lot in return as well. They provide many opportunities for comparing different viewpoints through which Jackie can more deeply understand her real, inner purpose: being a spark that can help to ignite the creative flames that reside inside every soul.
Exploring everything that is “other” from us is a meaningful way to reach one’s own intimate knowledge.
This is Jacqueline Tune.