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Personal Growth Jennifer DeLuca Looking back on my own artistic development I am fondly reminded of my college years. This is where the majority of my artistic development occurred. Throughout my journey I was exposed to many different types of art creation and learned many new techniques. Not only did my technical ability increase; I was becoming more comfortable in celebrating my views as an artist. In college I was able to grow cognitively through interpersonal interactions. According to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, “all meaning-making begins with the child’s interaction with the primary people in his/her life” (DeSantis & Housen, n.d., p.8). My artistic development didn’t formally begin until college because I took very little art in my primary schooling. It wasn’t until I took art my senior year of high school that I realized my passion for art and decided to pursue it in college. The selection of images I chose to demonstrate my artistic development is from my college art experiences. These experiences along with the encouragement of several art professors and studio courses have shaped my development as an artist. To see my full portfolio, visit my website at http://jenniferdeluca.homestead.com/contact.html. Proof of Artistic Development The following pieces of artwork were created in sequential order. Each was created within a college studio course. You will notice an architectural theme throughout much of my work. I have always been fascinated with functional art and have come to acknowledge that environmental factors have encouraged not only my growth as an artist but have also developed a theme for my art. This coincides with Piaget’s notion that culture and environment impact one’s growth. I grew up in a rural farm community that was riddled with abandoned barns and farm equipment. I fell in love with the natural effects of the weather on manmade structures. When things are in a state of entropy they seem so helpless and raw. Although not often functional, this is when they are the most beautiful.


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Rusty Waters. 11"x 7" aquatint. Youngstown State University Rusty Waters is one of my first artworks that I created in college. I was attending Youngstown State University at the time and was unfamiliar of aquatinting at the time. I had used a photo I had taken earlier that year as an inspiration for this image. I discovered that aquatinting would lend to capture the beautiful details found on the rusty water fountain. I remember thinking that it was ironic that such a pure resource such as water could be dispensed through such a rusty and overwrought piece of equipment.

Melting Wood. 22" x 15" watercolor Youngstown State University The next two pieces of art were inspired from the same building. I often became memorized with specific buildings that I would pass on a daily basis. I routinely passed this building on my way to work and would often admire how the environment around it would change regularly.


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For some reason or another, things would frequently be moved and reorganized. I began to take notice. The image above was created using watercolors. I wanted to capture the rich graininess of the wood using bright colors. I worked from a picture that focused on unique shapes and lines that were created by the direction of the wood. I titled this piece Melting Wood because the paint looks to be dripping off the page.

Old Building 18"x24" charcoal Youngstown State University This piece illustrates a building in a state of decay. I used charcoal to replicate the surface quality of the building. When I drew this image I was really fascinated by the way entropy affected different types of building materials. This building alone had stone, brick, metal and wood architectural elements. I always thought that when buildings were let go the materials began to assimilate with one another. The rustiness of the metal and the decaying of the wood left the structure in beautiful shades of rusts and browns.


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Splintered. 12"x 15" linoleum print. Youngstown State University This linoleum print was created by collaging several architectural images together to create interesting shapes and forms. I wanted to highlight these elements in a new way and disguise them from their original context.

Reflections of Twilight. 5"x 7"x 2 1/2" mixed media. Youngstown State University


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This piece was created towards the end of undergraduate studies. I took a photography class and became fascinated by daguerreotypes. Daguerreotypes are an earlier form of photography invented in the mid 1800’s. The image was often incased in box to protect it and make it more visible to the viewer. Photographs were treated like little treasures that could only be expierenced one viewer at a time. I really enjoyed the intimate nature of daguerreotypes and wanted to create my own using images that I deem precious. Reflections of Twilight is a set of 5 wooden boxes that had a glass insert rust matt and a brass closure. The images inside were of architectural elements that interested me. I displayed them in a gallery and encouraged the viewers to pick them up and view the treasured images inside. This piece later led me to create other small intimate pieces that often were in sets.

Architectural Boxes. smallest: 2" cube largest: 5" cube ceramic. University of Florida More recent works include this set of cermaic boxes that I created during a summer studio course through The University of Florida program. I took the idea of the daguerreotypes and translated it into creating intimate spaces. I used architectural elements to embellish and fill each box. Only one side is open so that the viewer has to get close up to each one to view its interior. I like that these can be displayed together or seperately.


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Trust Me I'm and Actuary. This is the first altered book that I had ever created. It was one of the first times that I was able to make art in the moment instead of worrying what the finished book would look like. I wasn’t even sure of my theme until almost midway through creating the book. I had collected images that were interesting to me; including numbers, grids and circular things. The book was beginning to become very technical looking which led me to the actuary profession; where everything is based on numbers and calculated risks. The book then adopted abacus beads which are a basic counting tool. The abacus beads not only made an appearance inside the book but were chosen to adorn the cover as well.

Friendly Art. Here is a follow-up altered book that was created using inspiration from "Friendly Art", my youth created art collection. I really enjoyed the way the artists stylized the portraits of their friends. I created an altered book that highlighted some of my favorite. This book illustrates the


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organic process of my artistic development. Each page is unique to itself and celebrates different aspects of friendship and identity. Artistic Developmental Factors When I think about what made me the artist I am today, I am reminded of several classes that I had taken in college. Each class made an impact but some definately stand out more than others. Having such influential professors in college made me a better educator and a better artist. One of my first art history classes was at Kent State University. Up unitl that point art history was about memorization and recalling dates and artists. My professor taught me that art was about ideas and influences. This has always stuck with me and has influenced my teaching to focus on the important things. Another important moment in my development was in an expressive drawing class. Going in to this class I was a bit nervous because drawing was not my strong suit. This class opened my eyes to what drawing could include. It goes beyond pen and paper and led me to create ‘drawings’ using string and collage mediums. Lastly, my artistic development changed greatly after taking a Sketchbook class this past summer through The University of Florida. Before this class I was a planner. I think that having to plan lessons on a daily basis for my job led me to plan out my artwork in the same way. This class helped me to embrace the creative process. One of our first projects was to create an altered book. Instead of planning out each individual page beforehand, our instructor encouraged us to let it happen organically. This took a bit of time to get used too but once I let go of my intuitions, I began to create art in an entirely new way. Medium Development As an artist I have never really been drawn to one medium or another. I enjoy working with all types of materials both tradition and non-traditional. I think it all depends on what materials work best for what images. I mostly start with the materials and see where they take me. Most of my artworks end up being mixed-media pieces. I just always feel they need that unexpected piece of something to make them interesting. I also have discovered that I appreciate


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the ability to physically manipulate the materials. I love to get my hands dirty when creating art. It is a part of my process. Creating work on the computer is hard for me because it lacks this physical element. Throughout my artistic development I am fondly reminded of my college studio classes. This is after all where I began to focus on myself as an artist. This is also where I became accepted and encouraged for my art. Growing up art was never really appreciated; even now when I share my art with my family they often question it. College helped me to understand that art should not be created for anyone but you. I found that the working with other art students really help me to develop artistically. Sharing ideas and reflecting on art with people with similar interests is a powerful resource for growth. I continue to stay grounded in my development through this program and by continuing to practice art regularly.


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References DeSantis, K., & Housen, A. (n.d.). A brief guide to developmental theory and aesthetic development. Brookyn, NY: Visual Thinking Strategies. John-Steiner, V., & Mahn, H. (n.d.). Sociocultural approaches to learning and development: A Vygotskyan framework. Retrieved from http://webpages.charter.net/schmolze1/vygotsky/ Kindler, A. M., & Darras, B. (1997). Map of artistic development. In A. M. Kindler (Ed.), Child development in art (pp. 17-44). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Personal Growth  

This study examines my growth as an artist throughout my college years. Visit my website to view my full portfolio To see my full portfolio,...

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