Disturbing the Spirits

As human actions impact the natural environment, can artists heal nature? Does art bring “special powers” to the table? If so, what are they? What is ‘art’? What is ‘nature’? What needs healing?

This series deals with both reality and time (past/present/future) and my growing attachment to the healing powers of the natural environment.

Trees teach us about belonging; they remind us that life doesn’t need permission to prevail. Trees are sanctuaries. If we listen closely, we can learn the ancient law of life. They are seen as powerful symbols of growth, decay and resurrection.They have played a prominent role in many folktales and legends and have been given deep and sacred meanings.

But, a tree’s longevity can lull us into a false sense of immortality.
It is this very impermanence that I long to understand through my photographic explorations. There is an ineffable natural beauty.... too great to be expressed or de- scribed in words.

In “Disturbing the Spirits” I am using imagery to convey my feelings about the state of nature, the nature of trees, and how to express their connection to past, present and future. By obscuring a portion of the image through a veil, I strive to heighten the remaining reality through discovery and reflection.



Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri, USA. In 1992, Jantzen Graduated Summa Cum Laude from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising), Los Angeles California she has a varied background; originally her emphasis was on graphic arts and she obtained her first college degree in this field. Jantzen became disillusioned with the basic nature of art for advertising sake and dropped out to become an organic gardener and cheese-maker. She raised goats also. But this became unfulfilling as Jantzen really longed for creative outlets and interactions. She then went back to college and got my second degree in fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. She became quite fascinated with using fabrics in innovative ways which led me to work for several major corporations designing clothing concepts and products. Jantzen also briefly taught product design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. Alas, she again became disillusioned with the corporate/academic climate and longed for something more creative. She have been making my current body of work with digitally manipulated photography for over ten years now and find great satisfaction and excitement each day as she works. This is the perfect marriage of two- dimensional graphic sensibilities and my need to create “things”. Because Jantzen creates ephemeral assemblages to use in her photography, her desire to work three dimensionally is fulfilled also. Disturbing the Spirits is available in California from the Susan Spiritus Gallery and in the midwest from the Bruno David Gallery.