Jacqueline Secor is a mixed media artist inspired by primitive art. She was born in the historical Gold Rush town of Placerville, California, and grew up in Pollock Pines at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Growing up in an area of natural beauty and historical significance has given her an appreciation for the Earth and our past. Secor relocated to Utah in 2006, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Utah Valley University; she now lives and works in Salt Lake City.
She writes, ‘My work is influenced by prehistoric art. The essence of primitive art is distant yet familiar, representing the wild, the past, and the present, stripping away all that is unnecessary and evoking the meaning of being human within the realm of nature. Cultures emerge, are destroyed, and then replaced by new ones. We as a species are straying further from our roots, and I fear that our primitive beginnings will be forgotten. This inspires me to focus on Mother Earth and represent her through my mixed media and collage.’
Secor’s work is rooted in overcoming her own struggles, primarily with religion. At seventeen she moved to from northern California to Utah, bringing traits that stood out among other freshmen at Utah Valley University. In the midst of ‘a very unhealthy relationship’ with an older Mormon she was dating, she felt pressured to remove the most visible aspects of her identity, a tattoo and a nose ring. She did, but was hurt and damaged by the experience. ‘Overall I have experienced and witnessed too much judgment and shame because of Mormonism,’ she says. In response she started the process of getting her name removed from official Church of Latter Day Saints records. During the mandatory waiting period, Secor says the church employed intrusive tactics in an attempt to keep her. ‘I had church leaders I’d never met call and ask me questions about my personal life and living situation. Then another church leader was sent to my house to talk to me,’ she recounts. ‘It was all very violating.’ After escaping what she describes as an environment which caused her to become extremely self-critical, she began to see her painting as an artistic campaign for personal empowerment.