Jennifer Steinkamp For Adolescents



Jennifer Steinkamp

American, born 1958

Subject: Composition and animation

Activity: Create a dynamic image with parts that complement each other.

Materials: transparency paper, permanent marker

Vocabulary: layers, animation, complement, composition


In this work, artist Jennifer Steinkamp uses a computer program to layer many small animated images on top of one another to create larger moving forms. Notice how the shapes are similar but not exactly the same. They are interdependent and come together to create the completed work of art, just like the biological process that inspired it—symbiosis.


How do you compose a moving image? Choose one individual form from this image and focus on it. Look at the forms that surround it. How do they complement each other? Can you tell which forms are on the same layer? How does the composition change as the forms move?


Using the permanent marker, draw any shape onto one of the pieces of paper. Then, think of another version of that shape; think of giving it a different edge, or changing its size. Draw it onto the next transparency. Continue with this process for each piece of transparency paper you have. Put the shapes on top of each other and move the pieces back and forth. In your finished creation, how do your pieces rely on each other to create a new form?


Many of the artist's other works of art feature trees and plant life. This work, Eon, was inspired by symbiosis— the evolutionary concept of two life forms that co-exist and benefit from each other.

Look again

You can rotate the images to change how your image moves. How does each image rely on the other to create a finished product?


Animation - Many images in a sequence that create the illusion of a moving image Complement – Add to something to enhance, improve or perfect it Layer - A certain section of material on top of or underneath other imagery Composition- The overall layout of an image or artwork that includes all of its individual parts Symbiosis - Interaction between two different life forms that gain an advantage from each other