If you’re a fan of fun and innovative modern art, Jessica Cantrell is a name you should know. She’s already got an associate of occupational studies degree in commercial art, and she’s working on a bachelor’s in graphic design from Nossi College of Art.
Cantrell, 22, interns under Adrienne Outlaw, a well-known artist whose work has been displayed in numerous venues and museums, including the Frist Center for the Arts in Nashville. This prestigious internship isn’t the only great opportunity in Cantrell’s life: she has six pieces entered in the Addy Awards, which are planned to be held in March at the Frist. Cantrell received the GPA Award at Nossi twice, and was also nominated for Most Creative and Most Talented, all in 2005.
Her major influences include Roy Liechtenstein, a pop artist famous for half-tone dots; Alberto Vargas, an airbrush painter who has done pinups for Playboy; and H’nri Toulouse Lautrec, who did the Moulin Rouge paintings.
She also likes Georgia O’Keefe, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
Cantrell’s retro style could almost be classified as pop art, but her primary subject matter is often that of human figures, mostly women. These are usually idealistic women, sketched or drawn in ink and brought to life in watercolor. She has completed a caricature series of Wild West heroes, including Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Wild Bill Hickok; and a series of celebrity faces, including Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Vivian Leigh, Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn.
Cantrell’s art, however, is not at all limited to caricatures and figures in watercolor. She does family portraits, murals, fence paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and even crafts her own paper dolls. She also likes to sew and makes some of her own clothing. Her art is definitely swayed by fashion and femininity, though, she says, ’I’m not a shave my head and burn my bra kind of feminist, I just like doing feminine art.’
Cantrell describes herself as ’a happy-go-lucky person,’ but this should not be confused with unprofessional. She does commissioned work and freelance design projects, and plans to further her education even more so.
’I want to open up an art gallery in the future and promote other artists, not only myself,’ she said. ’I want to bring art to Rutherford County.’
I agree with her idea that Rutherford County is a little behind when it comes to art appreciation. We seem to have a great music scene, but where is the love of art? Maybe Jessica Cantrell is just the girl to get the public more interested in art.
If you would like to contact Jessica Cantrell to view her work or to commission her, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to jessecantrell.com, which is up but still under construction.