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Meet Jeddin White of Transreal Studio in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeddin White.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jeddin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Fairfield, Iowa, a small unique town culturally split between a meditating spiritual community and a more traditional farming community. So I learned early on how wildly diverse people’s beliefs and ways of living could be. As a child, I loved drawing, but it was an activity that was never really encouraged by my parents, neither of whom were artists because they believed nobody could make a proper living with art. At the same time, I was always attracted to the sciences because it allowed me to explore the natural world and find out how things work. So that is what became the focus of my education.

In my senior year of college, I took an elective course in drawing. All at once, this class renewed my appreciation for art and convinced me that I had some innate talent with it. My education culminated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with the expectation that the mind was the last great frontier to study. I used the degree for two years running experiments on undergrads in a lab before quitting in frustration. When you spend months on an experiment, analyze, and find inconclusive results, you have to wonder if your time could be spent better elsewhere.

So I returned to my hometown and reconsidered the course of my life. I spent that summer working with a contractor and learned I could build beautiful things with my hands and feel proud of my work at the end of each day. Still inspired by the college drawing class, I taught myself how to paint, read as much as I could about art and art history, and picked the brains of my artist friends.

In 2009, I attended the Burning Man festival for the first time which changed my idea of what art could be. In particular, I saw how interactivity and transience can bring life to an otherwise inert object. Since then, I have begun to blend my various skills and interests to create a wide variety of magical crafts such as glow-in-the-dark steampunk garments, shape-changing chandeliers, junk art, and laser-cut jewelry.

Has it been a smooth road?
I came into the art game relatively late in my life. I didn’t go to art school, I’m self-taught, and I didn’t have a Rolodex of contacts after graduation. I’ve always had to supplement my income with other freelance work. Thankfully, moving to Los Angeles had provided me with many more opportunities to make a living with art.

Since I didn’t study art growing up, I see my background in science as a way of adding something unique to my work. For example, Galileo’s Uvula is a laser-drawing pendulum installation that draws glowing concentric spirals onto a canvas similar to the well-known tabletop pendulums that draw into sand. By adding weights and/or anchors to the pendulum string, the participant can create a whole variety of patterns from the chaotic to the more orderly “Lissajou” patterns. Somewhat ironically, it can become a sandbox for learning firsthand the beauty in the physical laws of nature.

The other big obstacle for me is the entire business side of art. That is making sales, marketing, connecting with galleries, updating my website, etc. All of it is necessary but so boring, and it takes time away from being able to create in the studio. With a little motivation and some advice from my friends, at the end of the day I make it happen.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My skills and interests are varied so my work ends up being varied too. I make clothing/costumes, light fixtures, paintings, murals, laser cut accessories, junk art, and various other mixed media art. Whatever medium I’m working in, I try to add some element I’ve either never tried or never seen before. If I make too much of the same thing the work feels stagnant so I keep moving forward. If possible, I try to make some part of each work interactive or changeable. That’s the “transreal” part of what I do.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
One big thing everyone’s talking about in the future is the rise of AI. The nature of my work is hands-on in a creative field, so I’m not too worried about AI taking my job, but it is something I’ve thought about. I do, however, see myself incorporating more automation and computer-controlled devices into my toolbox. For example, vinyl cutting and embroidery machines are some new tools I see myself getting on the horizon. Things like laser cutting are becoming more common every day, so being able to combine various tools to create a unique artwork will be valuable. Having said that, I think there will always be a market for handcrafted items.

Lately, I’ve been making more wearable accessories such as bracelets, pendants, and Apple Watchbands. Lots of my works take a lot of time to create so they are expensive. I wanted to create a smaller product that could be cheaper and more accessible to a wider crowd. If they do well this summer, I will continue making more wearables and accessories.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Asa Christensen, Sabrina Hill, Jeddin White

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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