As part of our new "Student Spotlight" series, the Pittsburg State University Department of Art blog will be periodically highlighting the work of one of our students. This week, we're featuring the work of Jacqueline Denton, a senior 2D Studio Art major from right here in Pittsburg, KS. As part of her educational program here at Pitt State, Jacqueline participated in an internship working with the artist Oliver Hibert. This internship resulted in an exhibition of her work alongside Hibert's at the Palabra Gallery in Phoenix, AZ.
Department of Art: What was your path to pursuing an art degree at Pitt State? What got you interested in art?
Jacqueline Denton: One of my earliest childhood memories are of me coloring at a desk with markers my mom had bought for me on my 4th birthday. A lot of my childhood memories are of making things, or having art class in school. My mom is an art teacher, as well as highly resourceful and creative, and always encouraged me to be creative, too. I also had a great art teacher in middle school, Mrs. Pate, who always encouraged me and my ability, and made me realize that I actually had one. Art is the only thing in my life that has ever felt natural for me.
DA: Tell us about your work. What type of work do you most enjoy creating? How would you define your artistic style?
JD: This is still hard for me to describe to people. I would say my work is bold, psychedelic, surreal, dark, and whimsical. My work primarily focuses on femininity, sexuality and identity.
DA: What class at Pitt State has had the biggest affect on the way you approach your work?
JD: I've loved all the classes I've taken with Emi. Her classes have allowed me ways to use and make work in a digital type of format, which is important to know. It also gives you another platform that you can display your art. I love the internet and connecting with other people through it through my artwork. It's something that's really essential to me. This semester I'm taking a GIF art class which I'm really excited about.
DA: Tell us about a project you completed recently that you were really proud of. Where did you get your initial idea or inspiration, and how did the project develop over time? Describe your process.
JD: I recently created some jewelry designs for one of my friends, Marina Fini, who lives in LA. She makes amazing jewelry pieces out of plexi. She wanted to do a Halloween collection and asked me if I wanted to design some of the shapes, so I said yes! I ended up drawing a few fun designs I thought would work with her plexi designs. She took my designs and made them a reality. It was really cool to see my work come to life in a more three-dimensional way, as well we something that was totally wearable. It was also cool to work with Marina. She is a huge inspiration to me. If anyone wants to see more of Marina's work you can check out her website: mariniafini.com
DA: Who are some artists that inspire you? What is it about their work that you find compelling?
JD: Everyone from Lisa Frank to Andy Warhol. A lot of my friends who are artists are the ones who inspire me the most. Oliver Hibert has really inspired me. His artwork changed everything for me. I like work with bright colors and dark contrasts, and work that pushes the boundaries of reality and normalcy.
DA: What is an experience you've had at Pitt State that has changed the way you think about art?
JD: A lot of the time at Pitt State I have felt pretty isolated because I feel my work doesn't really fit in anywhere. I've learned that your work doesn't have to fit in.
DA: Tell us about your experience participating in the internship program. Where and when did your internship take place, and how did it come about?
JD: The internship program was a great experience for me. I can't thank Portico enough for encouraging me, pushing me, and believing in me and my art at a time when I really needed that. I sought out an internship on my own. I didn't want to do something here in town. I wanted to get out an experience something different. I did my internship over the summer in 2015 in Phoenix, AZ with artist Oliver Hibert. He had mentioned he was looking for an intern so we talked about it. We spent 2 weeks over the summer learning how to stretch canvases, how to transfer a drawing to a canvas for painting, and we did a run of around 200 three color silkscreen prints that we printed by hand as well as some other smaller printing projects. In December Oliver and I had a show together at Palabra Gallery in downtown Phoenix.
DA: What was the most challenging aspect of your internship? What was the most fun?
JD: It was very labor intensive, physically. Stretching a canvas is tough, making 200 silkscreen prints is tough and tedious. And, honestly the summer heat in Arizona. We were basically night owls for two weeks because the only time it was cool enough to work in the printing studio was after midnight. The most fun part was being able to have a show together at the end. It was something that really built up my confidence and experience that I will remember forever.
DA: Tell us about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
JD: This is a huge question. I just hope in 5 years I'm happy, have a job that I can sustain myself with, and still have time to create my own work.
DA: What projects are you working on right now that are outside of coursework?
JD: I'm always working on my own work. I recently finished up a piece for a group exhibition in San Francisco, and have been working on a page for a coloring book that some of my artists friends are putting together and publishing.
DA: Where's the best place to see more of your work online?
JD: You can view more of my work on my website: jacquelinedenton.com, or look me up on instagram to see more work in-progress type updates: @jacquelinedenton, as well as other shenanigans.