Artist Feature: Jaina Cipriano

Editor Julia Alora, Art, December 12th, 2019

"Visual metaphors for the crushing lows of abandonment and the joyous heights of a potential salvation."

In an age of Photoshop, filters, and CGI, the art of photography can often be underestimated. Artist Jaina Cipriano defies expectations with emotional and intricate photos of subjects in worlds of her own design. Dreamlike qualities and vibrant colors contrast the very real struggles the models are expressing. Her series titled “Finding Bright” playfully blends light and darkness to depict searching for oneself. In one image a woman sits trapped in a room reminiscent of childhood, holding a stuffed bear, with a distant expression of inescapable dissatisfaction on her face. In several of the photos women are depicted as powerful yet still suffering; a crowned woman bound in thick rope affixed to a marionette cross, and a medal wearing athlete covered in vicious bruises. “The Garden” series uses natural elements to create a bizarre and beautiful world of fire, water, and plant people. Cipriano’s work prompts the viewer to recognize uncomfortable truths through a wonderland-esque lense built solidly in reality.

From the artist:

Jaina Cipriano is creating visual metaphors for emotions she has trouble defining. Without the help of photoshop she builds physical environments that open her models up to becoming part of something bigger. This primes the space for an authenticity that is so raw and visceral it brings you back to your own memories. Jaina’s work takes the shape of a dream you wake up already forgetting, tasting only the vivid edges while the center dissolves.

Currently Jaina Cipriano’s work centers around coming to terms with the gut-wrenching loss of childhood dreams. The sets she is building now are bright, theatrical and dramatic. Cipriano mixes moments of childhood freedom with the sharp edges of an independence you are not prepared for. She is making a drama out of ordinary moments. The artist wants to encompass the freedom music and dance can give you when you are small and enclosed, like you have wings you do not know how to use.

“You are not allowed to—”

“I’m doing it anyways!”

These are visual metaphors for the crushing lows of abandonment and the joyous heights of a potential salvation. Love and loss, lost and found.

Cipriano is creating a mirror for her own internal landscape. She is mapping her darkness by exposing her subjects to the light.



Jaina Cipriano is a writer, welder, photographer, set designer and business woman. She curates her own publication “Finding Bright” (available on her website) and works as the Master Carpenter at a local community theater. Jaina wishes she did not have to sleep and could learn, grow and create constantly.

Social media, IG: @jainasphotography


Julia Alora

Julia Alora is a transplanted Portland sculptoress inspired by biology and the natural world. Her works can be found lurking in the woods, guarding her studio, and in co-op art houses around the city.