Sarah E. Jenkins

Visiting Graduate Faculty

I created Slate Lines during an artist residency in the post-industrial slate mining town of Corris, Wales. Upon arriving to the residency, I realized that I was surrounded by natural drawing material. I picked up a piece of slate from the ground and began drawing onto the old slate structures left over from the mining industry. Slate Lines was my first site-specific animation, as the work was drawn directly into the landscape.  I was interested in how a line might travel from rock to rock, disappearing into moss, being wet by rain, and emerging from around corners.

There was a ritual to this process. I hiked up a mountain each day with my animation gear – the sun and rain became part of the work. In an animation studio, you must control your surroundings – most importantly the light. Animating outside meant that I needed to accept the changing light as the sun moved across the sky during my multi-hour shoots. The sun freckles the rocks and creates its own animation alongside the controlled line. The sunlight shows the change in time as does the counting of animation frames. The sound was recorded both on site (birds, water, natural sounds) and later on as foley in the studio. The stop motion for Slate Lines was created in just under 2.5 weeks.

Sarah E. Jenkins is a queer Appalachian artist making work about extraction, hidden labors, and disappearance in an experimental animation practice. Their work has been shown at the MFA Boston, Torrance Art Museum, Emerson Contemporary, and Wonzimer. Jenkins’ is a MacDowell Fellow and she was recently awarded a Changing Climate residency at SFAI. Their work is included in the forthcoming book Queering Appalachia’s Visual History: A Collection of Queer Appalachian Photographers, University of Kentucky Press.