The roots of Jen McCleary's art lie in the process of collecting images, ephemera, and found objects, which she layers and alters to create something new. She works both digitally (photo-collage and graphic design) and in more traditional forms (mixed-media collage/painting and jewelry made from finding and vintage objects). No matter the medium, she prefers to work intuitively, letting each piece evolve over time and in unexpected directions. Her work is more a form of meditation, exploration, and play than a deliberate attempt at communicating a specific concept, although she does believes that images and objects can act as carriers of meaning and emotional resonance. She is interested in symbolism, wonder, hidden connections between things, the passage of time, imagined landscapes, ways of understanding the world, and dualities including man-made vs. natural worlds, light vs. dark (metaphorically and literally), and complexity vs. simplicity.
Jen McCleary studied painting and printmaking (BFA) at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA, and graphic design (Certificate) at University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, as well as completing a custom interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. She works as a freelance fine artist and graphic designer specializing in mixed-media and digital collage and books cover design, illustration, and layout.