Artist Spotlight: Jenna Morello
Jenna Morello is a multi-disciplinary artist who is never limited by material she’s working with or the scale of the project. Morello has traveled across the world creating murals for towns and cities of all sizes. Morello is also skilled at sculpture and makes pieces with nuanced details inspired by nature and the world around her. Her work has been commercially recognized, and she’s collaborated with some of the most prestigious and recognizable brands like The Ritz Carlton, Universal Music Group, The Superbowl, and more. As an artist who is always experimenting and pushing boundaries, Morello was excited to collaborate with Legitimate for her first physical NFT piece. Below is our interview with the artist herself.
Can you tell us a bit more about your mural work?
I do like a 50-foot mural in like three days, like, so I’m really plowing through it and doing all this stuff. And then I leave. I kind of look at it like I painted the mural, but now it belongs to the people in that city or town. These people are with the mural every day and learn it better than I do. What tends to happen in a lot of these places is the community is usually nice enough that they’ll care for the mural. They’ll coat the mural, make sure the grass is cut around it, and do all of these things. They take pride in it, which is very nice.
What is your creative process like?
I experiment a lot. I like to mix and match. It’s very rare that I go into a piece knowing beforehand what I’m going to make. I’ll literally blindly go into a piece, and sometimes what I’m envisioning in my head looks totally different than the actual piece. Modern Bouquet is an example of that and same with this piece for Legitimate where in my head it looked different. As I was making it, I kind of had to maneuver and change my game plan. But it all comes together as I’m making it.
For example, Modern Bouquet the flower got buried deeper and deeper into the piece, and I started chipping at it trying to get it out. It started out as a mistake but turned into an art piece. Same thing happened with Cracks in The Pavement.
Can you elaborate a bit more on how your mistakes become the artwork?
I mean it’s not so much as mistakes as it is the work doesn’t look like the idea in my head. But I guess it all goes back to not wanting to waste materials, because casting materials are expensive. It could be a “$300 mistake,” and I don’t care how much money you have, that stinks either way. I don’t like wasting things, so I’ll figure out a way to work with it. That’s why I like experimenting with so many things because it’s like a hallway with tons of doors. I’ll try one door and if that doesn’t work then I’ll try a different door, and one door may open and lead to a completely new hallway. That’s the fun thing about sculpture as opposed to painting is it allows me to satisfy that itch of experimenting while learning things and then hopefully making a cool piece.
Do you have a narrative with each piece you make?
What tends to happen is I’ll end up making a piece and it doesn’t necessarily represent something to me, but I’ll have my friends or family tell me what they think of the piece and the story behind it. My best friend lives next door, and he’s a teacher, so he’s very good at putting abstract concepts into words. I’ll send artwork to him and ask him what he thinks about it. Then he’ll explain to me what he sees, and I’ll understand his perspective and the narrative of the piece begins to form. But the interesting thing about my artwork is that the “story” behind it is always very viewer specific. People will see totally different things, so I usually end up writing a description that fits whatever was going on while I was making the piece.
Where have you traditionally sold your artwork?
I make so many different styles of art, so I choose the platform I’m selling on based on what I’m making.
Obviously, a mural is a different type of piece that someone can commission or purchase. I also have a website where I sell directly to the consumer. Then there are other platforms that I use for different artwork. But I’ve noticed that each of those platforms caters to a different audience. For example, I work with one platform that’s focused on street wear. I don’t think the people on this platform are looking specifically for a Jenna Morello piece. I think they see something that’s cool, they end up buying it, and I happened to make it. Whereas the people who buy directly on my website are looking for a piece specifically made by me.
What interests you in Web3 and NFTS?
I like that it’s a different platform, and it proves authenticity and ownership. As of right now, NFTs are the evolution of art. I’m particularly interested in physical NFTs and what Legitimate does because I like that it’s not just an NFT — there is a physical piece attached to it. You’re kinda getting the old school, with the physical piece, and the new school with the blockchain and NFT.
Who do you think will purchase this piece with Legitimate?
I definitely think that this piece with Legitimate will have a different consumer. I don’t want to use the term “advanced art collector,” but I’d loosely use that to identify the type of person who buys this piece. It’ll probably be someone that has an understanding of how crypto and NFTs work. For that reason, I wanted to make a very cool looking piece that was cool as an NFT and as a physical piece.
What excites you about working with Legitimate?
I liked any type of a collaboration. My brain probably works differently than the people at Legitimate, so it’ll be super interesting to see what happens when different mindsets come together. I also get bored very easily, so I’m all about trying something new and seeing how it goes. I think it’s all positive and progress.