Kendra Joliceur
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Kendra Joliceur is Charting Her Path in the Art World

Photos by Josiah Kopp

Kendra Jolicoeur’s artistic journey has been a winding road. Her true start came in a high school classroom, taking a mandatory ninth-grade art class. She didn’t know it at the time, but that course was where the seeds of her future career were sown. By the time she was a senior, she was taking three art classes. These experiences not only ignited her passion for art but also set her on a path of continuous exploration and growth, leading her from architecture to graphic design, and finally to her true calling in art education.

The Evolution from Student to Teacher

Kendra’s initially entered into higher education pursuing an architecture degree. Kendra enjoyed the architecture program, but while she was in it, she felt herself drawn to the more artistic side of the curriculum. So, she changed her major to graphic design. However, that didn’t feel quite right either and she later changed her major to art education—her true calling.

“I changed to art education and now, that’s what I graduated with,” Kendra said.

Although she has now graduated, has found a long-term substitute teaching position in the area, and is beginning to flourish as an artist, Kendra’s collegiate evolution took time and involved plenty of exploration, self-discovery, and acceptance.

“I used to think that for my art to be good, it needed to be really realistic,” Kendra said. Over time, she embraced her unique style, moving beyond the confines of photo-realism and into the realm of scientific illustration.

For her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) feature, Kendra chose a unique and intriguing subject: entomology

“I wanted to choose insects because… they have a lot of beauty in them that we don’t stop to look at,” Kendra said. “As a society, we see them as creepy and gross and they’re actually very beautiful and intricate. One of my favorite to paint are Goliath Beetles. They’re black and white so you can put them on almost any background and make the contrast so stark and attention grabbing.”

"I think a variety of everyday things inspire me. A big thing that inspired me with my bugs was going down to the state fair and going to the butterfly exhibit where they're all flying around. It was just very surreal that there were thousands of butterflies at once. It's also very inspiring to have someone look at your work and say. 'Wow.' Because as an artist, you almost get impostor syndrome. It's gratifying to know that I am an artist and other people see me that way as well."

As she continues to evolve, Kendra’s current exploration is aimed at local aquatic life.

“I think I’m going to start focusing on the fish of our area,” Kendra said. “They are very interesting and have some beautiful colors and textures in their scales. I think painting them would be fun because they’re kind of similar to bugs in that some people think they’re gross.”

On the teaching side of things, Kendra is also finding her way.

“I feel like teaching has come naturally to me,” Kendra said. “I’ve enjoyed every one of my practicum placements for student teaching. I was able to find my passion for teaching when I would have students stay late after class to talk to me about their art. I also loved seeing their passion when they would email me pictures of their updated artwork. I’m kind of seeing my younger self in these students, which is satisfying because I can help them push their artwork in a way that I maybe wasn’t able to as a high schooler.”

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Written by Kessie Kessie

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