Jennifer Braman, Art Department Chair
Instructor and Department Chair
Arts and Cultural Studies
Berkeley City College
Jennie Braman is an artist and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently teaches studio art and art history at Berkeley City College, and has taught at other schools including John F. Kennedy University and Williams College. Her current drawings investigate the nature of representation and the creative language of the body. She received her MFA degree from John F. Kennedy University, and her BA in Art History with a concentration in Women’s Studies from Williams College. She also earned a certificate in Dream Studies from John F. Kennedy and has lectured on the creative process, and the relationship between art and dreams.
Statement on Teaching
In my role as instructor, I am passionate about art history, fine art, and the creative process. I feel art is an important and critical vehicle for processing and expressing the interaction between self and the external world. My enthusiasm and experience as an artist and traveler inspires me to teach students how to interactively see the world around them. Each day at Vista, I strive to make the traditional art history material more interactive, relevant, and accessible to all types of learners and age groups. In all of my teaching experience, I have provided a forum for the students to discover aspects of themselves that were hidden, integrating the formal subject matter with creative assignments and self-reflection.
There’s little I can say that will be truer than my lines that surround you. My mixed-media work is made without any preconceived ideas of what I want to say, or make, or how I want to move through the world. Drawing is all of those things to me. I come to the blank page and begin with a word or a mark that arises from the darkness, the underbelly of a moment, a place before thought or form. Right now. I write and draw using my non-dominant left hand exclusively because it bypasses my censoring, thinking mind. I want to learn something about myself I did not know. In the spontaneous, playful space of making, I learn about secrets I want to keep hidden, about the gap between you the listener and me the speaker, about a language of my body in action – breath, sound, muscle, bone, dream, and memory all moving, marking, speaking in unison. I want my lines and words to fill a cavity in the viewer’s body – there is nothing here for you to understand. My hope is that the ambiguity between the legible words and the abstract marks allows a space for you, the viewer, to find your own subtexts and to freely associate within the piece. By pasting fragments of me with the glue of you, you may experience the fluid nature of personality and being in the shared time between us.