So it Was/So it is Now by Jensen Twite

April 1-May 17, 2022

"So It Was/So It is Now is a body of work reflecting on being a child and how as an adult we can often take life too seriously. It is a unique experience we all have, to be a child unburdened by realities we can't yet understand. However, I think we all still have that child inside of us." ~ Jensen Twite, artist

Artist Statement

When a viewer sees one of my pieces, I hope it brings them nostalgic feelings about being a kid and just being, playing. So It Was/So It is Now is a body of work reflecting on being a child and how as an adult we can often take life too seriously. It is a unique experience we all have, to be a child unburdened by realities we can’t yet understand. However, I think we all still have that child inside of us.

The black and white film photography series focuses on feelings of longing for the simplicity and playfulness of childhood. I chose to photograph various playgrounds as a symbol of childhood play, adding the vignette to the edge as if the memories are formulating inside the brain. I am thinking back to the memory, but it’s old and it’s fading and I am now an adult who often gets overwhelmed with worries and troubles that I forget to take time to just play.

The prints are underneath glass that I have covered with a frost spray, leaving words etched into it that can be read up close. The frost fades the memory even more, and the words represent my adult self, struggling with the things that make me miss being a child. Each image has its own words, lines from short poems I wrote that use the functionality of each piece of playground equipment as metaphors for the anxieties I have today. This series is about losing the innocent view of life a child has, and taking life too seriously.

My colored pencil drawings came to life when I decided to imagine what I would see if I was in a near death experience and my “life flashed before my eyes.” I grabbed special moments from growing up that I’ll always remember. I have always been comforted by the past and making work about it is something that makes sense to me and that I really enjoy. I hope these pieces, even though they are specific to me, can still make viewers think about their own treasured memories and have a moment to themselves to remember things that make them happy. This series is about remembering simple joys and realizing we can still get the same warm feelings from looking back on them.

The digital photography series, Zoom, expresses nostalgia and the passage of time through long exposures in dark, empty environments. These images are surrealistic landscapes that spark memories of childhood pastimes. The photos were taken around empty playground equipment at night, the darkness representing that the sun has set on childhood, and we are no longer carefree children playing at the park. A beam of light shoots through the composition.

The light appears to be moving quickly, signifying how rapidly we speed through youth. However, as kids, in the moment, time feels slow, and it is only in retrospect that we feel like time went by fast. This is mirrored in the exposure time of the photographs - the images, while they appear speedy, take much longer than normal to capture, with up to 30 second exposure times. This series is an overall retrospective look on life.

The small mixed media series, “Landmarks of My Life,” is a fun series mapping out all of my experiences and places that have meant a lot to me. The exciting part of this series, as well as the colored pencil series, is that it is never finished - as I continue to live and have new experiences, I can add more and more moments and places to the list.

About the Artist


Jensen Twite was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on December 6th, 1996.
She grew up in Tea, South Dakota until starting college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. Her primary art mediums are photography and drawing.

Jensen was first introduced to art at a young age by seeing the portrait drawings that her mother did. Her mother was her primary mentor and supporter throughout high school, teaching her techniques and encouraging her to keep creating. Upon enrollment in USD's art program, Jensen was introduced to more artists and professors that continued to enrich her artistic knowledge. It was because of USD's introduction to photography class that she realized her passion for photography and through her first digital photography class that she discovered her interest in long-exposure photography. She continues to do portrait drawings and pen and ink drawings of landmarks as well.

Jensen's artwork serves as her way of communicating. Her main obstacle throughout her life has been social anxiety and shyness. Struggling to express herself in words, she turned to creative expression. Learning how to communicate her artwork and being around other artists has helped her to discover herself.


A reception honoring the artist will take place on Friday, May 6 from 5:00-7:00pm at GAR Hall.

All exhibits are free and open to the public.

Exhibit Extras