Profile: LRS Design Collaborator, Jeanne Medina


Born in 1979, I am a second-generation mestiza, Filipina-American.  I live and work in my birthplace–Chicago–and travel internationally investigating constructions of personal and cultural identity. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, my sensibility was shaped by the physicality of the Midwestern landscape as well as the experience of being “ambiguously ethnic”, or “other”.  The sweeping agricultural and wooded expanses, the textures of dilapidated industrial corridors and train yards that flank the highway between my town and the slick, twinkling monoliths of the city are ingrained in my memory and evoked in my work.

Through interdisciplinary, deconstructive exploration, I am interested in the bidirectional relationship of experience and expression– in my artistic gestures and as I see it function between the physical, clothing, shelter, and body, and the intangible, memory and identity.  My additive and reductive mark making gestures, ritualized in meditative action, simultaneously create symbolic motifs evoking ceremonial object or ethnographic specimen in the resulting work.  I ask:  What mark does a memory make?  Is it like a stain that has sublimated a fabric’s fibers, a scratch that disrupts the surface, or a hole that subverts the substrate?  On a garment, the body leaves stains and scent, and deterioration from friction and stress. Textiles, while worn against the skin, are an experience as well as signify an outward self-expression.  They are also protection and shelter—home.

I am interested in location-specific identity formation and study nomadic, ritual, and ethnographic dress as relics of experience, memory, survival, and expression.  The “other” and psychological affects of absence, displacement, and disconnection intrigue me.  I nod to the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan and Joseph Campbell’s “Imprints of Experience”, and the Deconstructionist philosophy of Jacques Derrida. Employing an intuitive, process-based approach, I incorporate painting, sculpture, performance, video, photography, fashion, and fiber disciplines to create experimental and experiential work.

—Jeanne Medina


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