Jenae Edwards

Jenae is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California. She is currently studying architecture and will graduate alongside the class of 2024. Jenae documents her journey at USC, her interests in fashion, and any other lifestyle related content on her youtube channel NAEDAY linked below:

Words From the Artist:

“For my self-portrait I began with going back to the basics and using the mediums that I have come to love the most in my artistic life, gouache paints and colored pencils. I gave my painting caricature-esque characteristics, by accentuating my head and face and making my shoulders and neck less prominent. By doing this I was able to evaluate my facial features more deeply. By studying my features so heavily while creating this portrait I began to feel a little disconnected from the piece, as if I were not drawing myself, but rather just another person. From this point I had to stop and really evaluate how I pictured myself. This deep processing lead to an out of body experience. It lasted for only a second, but for that split second, I felt entirely separate from my body; it resonated with me as what I was seeing was not me. That is because it wasn’t. Defining myself and truly seeing myself goes past the body that I am in. I am driven, I am creative, I value my goals, I have the intent to change the world and the way others see it. 

From here I decided to depict the exact dysphoric feeling of not physically seeing yourself the way you feel about yourself. This is not to say that I do not love the body that I am in, but rather an understanding that I am not defined by the physical features I see

Taking my facial features, I moved and rearranged them. This is how I felt. I could not really understand what I was seeing in the moment, It just did not seem like me. In order to change the portrait to something that I could relate to myself I decided to change the background, representative of the world that I see myself in and the things I choose to surround myself with. For inspiration I referenced self-portraits by Frida Kahlo, as I particularly find that the way she portrays herself in her art is clearly defined and a different look than the way others portray her. I placed behind me tropical leaves and flowers, representative of my Caribbean background and my childhood of living in the Bahamas. In the distance I represent my aspirations. Architecture is becoming a big part of my life and very prominent within my future goals of becoming an architect. I depict myself looking in the direction of these buildings to show the direction I am headed in. One element of myself that I believe is important in the way that I see myself, is the goals that I have. With these goals I will ensure that I do not lose sight of my direction and will work to continually gain the motivation that I need to achieve them.”

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person that I know best”

Frida Kahlo

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Follow Jenae:

Instagram – @jenae_edwards

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