Jenny Okun

From Wikitia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jenny Okun
Add a Photo
Born1953 (age 70–71)
  • Artist
  • Photographer
  • F­ilmmaker

Jennifer Denise Okun Sparks (b. 1953) is an artist, photographer,­­­­ and filmmaker known for her large architectural abstract images, stage projections and experimental films.

Okun has had 65 international solo exhibitions, participated in 120 group exhibitions, 102 film shows and 3 museum commissions.[1] Her photographs and triptychs have been exhibited widely in the United States and England and are included in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.[2] She has published three books of photographs entitled, Variations and Dreamscapes and Layered Landscapes. Okun has created 6 stage/TV projects, the latest for the LA Opera.[3] She has studios in London and Los Angeles. [2]

Life and Work

Okun’s parents, Rosemary Okun and Milton Okun, moved the family to Greenwich Village in the 50’s. Jenny grew up with a brother, Andrew Okun, in the folk era in New York until in 1971 when the family moved to London, England. Her mother, a writer and painter, and her father, a record producer and arranger, created a family life engulfed in art and music. [4] Milt Okun produced over 70 gold records and founded Cherry Lane Music while producing and arranging for artists: John Denver, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Laura Nyro, Harry Belafonte, Placido Domingo and many more. [5]

Okun studied art and experimental media at Wimbledon College of Art, Chelsea School of Art, and Slade School of Fine Art. [6] She bought her first camera (Konica) in 1973 with the money from a commission painting a 17ft x 9ft abstract landscape fresco on a stair-well wall of a private residence in Chappaqua. [3]

Okun married Richard Sparks, a British writer, director, and librettist, in 1983. Jenny and Richard have collaborated on three books: two about poker (Diary of a Mad Poker Player and Getting Lucky) and one about Milt Okun (Along the Cherry Lane), and three Operas including Don Giovanni [6] and Dulce Rosa. [7]

Okun held various teaching posts: running the film production workshop at The London Film-Makers Co-op [8], photography/painting at Chelsea School of Art and painting and colour studies at Central School of Art and Design until 1985 when she concentrated only on her work as an artist, selling through galleries. She also received commissions from the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Tate Modern London and the Whitney Museum of American Art. [9]

Okun’s main representation is Craig Krull Gallery in Bergamot Station, Santa Monica.


Okun curated the US section of FILM/LONDON festival in 1979 at the British Film Institute, where she later donated her films to be archived. Her short experimental films have been featured in many International Film festivals as well as museums such as the Tate Britain (London), Hayward Gallery (London), Rotterdam Film Festival, Museum der Kulturen (Zurich), British Film Institute (London), Image Forum Festival Tokyo, Moscow Film Museum, Brisbane International Film Festival, Paris Bienalle, Bristol Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Genova Film Festival, National Film Theatre (London) and the Edinburgh Festival (Scotland).


In 1989, Okun wrote and presented, one episode of the BBC2 show Building Sights about Architecture in Britain. She chose the Australian architect Peter Wilson’s Blackburn House in Hampstead, London. [10]

Stage Design

Okun made films and photographic projections for stage sets including the 2013 LA Opera World Premiere production of Lee Holdridge’s Dulce Rosa conducted by Plácido Domingo.[11] Richard Sparks, Jenny’s husband, was the director and librettist for Dulce Rosa.[12] Lee, Richard, and Jenny collaborated with Isabel Allende to bring one of her short stories, Una Veganza to the opera stage. [12] Okun has six images projected in “Augmented Reality: 5 compositions for 5 photographs of Jenny Okun” with music by: Bruce Broughton, Kirsten Broberg, Sungji Hong, Joseph Klein, and Drew Schnurr.

Music Videos

Okun was commissioned to make a continuous half-hour video loop for the Brazilian Girls California tour, a Los Angeles County Museum of Art production of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, as well as the El Dorado Opera production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a tribute to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and a 100- minute Langston Hughes poem Ask Your Mama. [3]


Okun projected images using 24 slide projectors and photographed the final superimposed image with a large format Linden Plate Camera.[3] She used Hasselblad, Yashika, and Konica cameras to wind film in small increments through the camera to capture images overlapped and superimposed.[13] Like many photographers at the turn of the twenty-first century, Okun began to explore the world of digital photography. Her process now involves shooting photographs on location with her digital camera and orchestrating the final images in Adobe Photoshop, generally from five or six views combined.[12]


  • Dreamscapes: The Photographic Art of Jenny Okun Introduction by Karen Sinsheimer. Publisher: Five Ties Publishing (2012) 10” x 14”/120 pp., 105 color and b/w photographs, ISBN 978-0-9819690-5-3
  • Variations: The Architecture Photographs of Jenny Okun Preface by Thom Mayne
  • Essays by Henry T. Hopkins and Michael Webb. Publisher: Five Ties Publishing (2007) 93 color photographs, ISBN 978-0-9777193-3-4
  • Layered Landscapes: The Photographic Art of Jenny Okun Introduction Michael Webb and Craig Krull. Publisher: ORO Editions (2023) Hardcover 240 pages, ISBN-10 ‏: :1957183403 ISBN-13 ‏: ‎978-1957183404


Her last Museum exhibition was in Lecce, Italy where she was invited by the city to photograph its architecture for the inaugural show at the new Museo Storico della Citta di Lecce (MUST). Her work is on permanent display there.[14]


Backroads: (1975) Jenny Okun and Renny Croft: Super 8 to U-Matic ¾ inch video tape

Digital Films

Dulce Rosa Presentation: (2013) 6 Minutes

The Brazilian Girls Tour Loop: (2009) 30 Minutes­­

Tristan und Isolde: (2008) 12 Minutes

Ask Your Mama: (2008)104 Minutes

A Soldier’s Tale: (2007) 59 Minutes

Breath: The Ben Whendel Group (2007) 5 Minutes

Pere Bise: (2007)16 Minutes

Don Giovanni Presentation: (2006) 8 Minutes

Lance’s 50th: (2001) 5 Minutes

The Ten-Minute Detective: Written and Directed by Richard Sparks (2001) Edited by Jenny Okun, 16 Minutes


  1. "Variations: The Architecture Photographs of Jenny Okun". Art Daily. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Busch, Akiko (May 1996). "Harmonious Fragments". Metropolis Magazine. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Meet Jenny Okun". Voyage LA. 16 February 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  4. "Books Bind Okun Family". Los Angeles Times. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  5. Bradner, Liesl (28 October 2012). "Books Bind Okun Family". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Jenny Okun Biography". Artnet. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  7. Farber, Jim (21 May 2013). "Dulce Rosa: Theatre Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  8. Clark, George (July 2002). "An Overview of Shoot Shoot Shoot – The First Decade of the London Film-Makers' Co-operative and British Avant-Garde Film 1966-1976". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  9. "Jenny Okun". Lumas. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  10. "Jenny Okun". BFI. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  11. Weston, Jay (23 April 2013). "Placido Domingo Conducts Dulce Rosa Opera at Broad Stage!". Huff Post. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Herman, Jim (1 January 2013). "Examining Nudes, Planets, and Churches Six Times Over". Slate. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  13. "Jenny Okun". Craig Krull Gallery. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  14. "Jenny Okun - Dreamscapes". Museo Storico Città Di Lecce. Retrieved 12 August 2023.

External links

Add External links

This article "Jenny Okun" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.